Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Which Political Party in Malaysia?

First up, apologies for the lack of posts on the Bali trip.To those who actually take an interest in whatever little personal life I have, well, I just got back from a trip to Bali, Indonesia.Its one of just two islands in Indonesia that is not majority Muslim.Hence, the cultural experience was a different and amazing one.I blame Photobucket, as I canot seem to be able to login, after dumping all my photos there and smartly deleting the originals.

I had another outing last night with the brilliant Shen and highly political Shin,this time meeting them in Telawi Bangsar for a couple of coffees.Having been involved in social and now kinda involved in NGO-ing, the natural path of progression seems of course to enter politics.As in the end, politics affects us all.All that we fight for eventually reflect on the decisions made by politicians.

Sometimes, as some argue, it makes good sense to join the ruling party.After all, what is the opposition in Malaysia?Apart from a few turbaned elderly gentlemen that quotes the Quran, throw in a couple of non Malay men and women with fiery speeches and a good grip of the Constitution,one or two members of a party with a cool name but with no clear direction, and one guy who missed the labour party bus to Cambodia.

Sometimes we see them as mere noisemakers with no real experience (running a state and running the Federal Government is miles apart) or people desperate for political mileage who makes mountains of molehills(which hand to raise while taking oath of office) and whose members seem to age faster than those in the Government.

Plus joining the government would fast track you to fame and riches beyond that of any normal class F contractor or at least help you escape police summonses in the middle of the road at 2am.But if everyone joined the goverment who would you turn to oppose any policy?

We follow the British system, as opposed to the American system of Parliament, where voting here is based on party lines (hence the term Goverment whip....no reference to BDSM tendencies of some MPs :P)So no matter how much you hate the policy, you still have to vote for it.Some call it party loyalty.Yet others call it having no principles.

Take for instance,if the ruling party insists on banning your own religion, and you belong to the ruling coalition, you'd still have to vote to destroy your own religion.That's the system we use.May not be much an issue in Britain as multiculutural and cosmopolitan as it is, the ruling side is pretty much belonging to a similar religion.In Malaysia this poses a much more visible problem, as we are diverse in its truest sense.

In short, what I am trying to express is, even though the members of the ruling coalition are many, the main driving influence would only be one party, the party at the helm, viz UMNO.Hence, the responsibility for  check and balance on the government can only come from an effective Opposition.

But the Opposition is not without its problems.There is no gel to bring together the various struggles ad differing ideals of the various parties.I often joke that there is some 20 highly active political parties in Malaysia,with our population of 25 million and only 2 highly visible ones in the US, for its 250 million people.And if you calculate the total of each parties membership claim (MIC-1 million, UMNO 3.5 million, MCA 1 million, even the miniscule PPP claims 350,000 members) plus the Opposition,you'd get a total of MORE than the population of Malaysia, including every woman and child and illegal alien.

PAS is highly Islamo-centric, DAP is highly non-Islamo-centric and PKR is....well....um...somewhere in the middle without actually defining itself.A few more years of this and we can rename it as APAM - Ambigious Party of All Malaysia, with its slogan as BALIK- Bridging Atheist,Liberal, Islamic and Khalid (Ibrahim).

From PKR to APAM BALIK.Between the various opposition club members, I would go for the DAP.Having heard about Shen's meeting with Ronnie Liu and Shin's meetings with Po Kuan,its heartening to see their identity intact.The DAP is the only true blue Opposition party in Malaysia, apart from maybe PRM.Of the great 5, PPP and Gerakan and PBS have joined BN.PAS has joined BN but to its credit, left.The DAP, since Chen Man Hin to Guan Eng, has not done something like that.However, I do ask myself, do I really want to be a socialist?A social democrat is still a socialist.And in the Communist Manifesto,Marx call Communism 'scientific socialism'

Still, its the same form of socio-economic model used by Nehru to counter the growing foreign conglomerate presence in India, so it can't be that bad, can it?And its not too far from Christian Socialism anyway.Still, I digress.

 



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