Monday, April 7, 2008

The 12th General Election : Lessons Learned

The 12th General Election is over, and the electorate has spoken. The Pakatan Rakyat (a coalition of PKR-DAP-PAS, a.k.a. “Opposition”) has now took control of the state governments in Perak, Penang, Kedah and Selangor; with Kelantan getting stronger and stronger under PAS. Takbir !

Even though some are still in a state of denial, others say that the election outcome has been an eye-opener or a wake-up call for all. To me, I considered it a blessing in disguise as now there’ll be a better (and stronger ?) check and balance in the government administration.

Political analysts and activists blamed the dismal performance on Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders losing touch with the grassroots as well as “arrogance of power” in BN. The people are dissatisfied with perceived arrogance of power within BN, especially over certain UMNO leaders whom through their words or actions have resulted in resentment.

Now the people could see and compare what the Pakatan states and Barisan states could provide, especially in the five states the Pakatan Rakyat rules.

In short, the BN Government especially UMNO should undergo a drastic change in the way the country is run. They must allow the others to speak up. They must listen to what the rakyat say and if what they said is the truth, they (the Government) should admit or accept it with an open heart.

To add salt to injury, the newly appointed Tourism Minister recently announced in the local newspaper that BN would terminate all MoUs related to tourism in states governed by the Pakatan Rakyat. This sort of knee-jerk like reaction by BN has appalled many readers. Some felt that this is another example of the BN-led government distancing itself from the people, despite pledging to get closer to the grassroots.

It seemed as if they fail to see that the bulk of the Federal funding comes from taxes paid by the citizens - from all political parties ! As such, the Government is responsible for the well being of all states, regardless of whether it is held by the BN or Pakatan Rakyat, especially when it comes to budget allocation as this money belongs to taxpayers, not just those who support the BN.

The ruling government must be fair. The taxes received should be refunded to the people through development projects that would benefit them, regardless of their political inclination.

If the Government wants to regain people’s support, it’s important to avoid making such immature decisions and start focusing on the well being of everyone. It should not look as if it is punishing the Pakatan Rakyat states.
In fact they have a duty to put the rakyat who has voted for them to live in harmony, prosperity and security – regardless of their political inclination !

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