New initiatives from scratch
“There are a few initiatives that try to reshape our politics,” one politician told me on WhatsApp.
My curiosity was piqued. Politics during the Covid-19 era put me off. There is too much political politics when the country has to focus on tackling this pandemic.
There are too many politicians who dream of becoming prime minister. Some politicians play politics for the sake of politics. And the politicians who do all they can to cling to power.
The politician explained that ABIM (Malaysia’s Muslim Youth Movement) is lobbying for Bangsa Malaysia. Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) and the Civil Society Platform for Reforms are working on the People’s Manifesto.
“There are the successful Rasuah Busters. Datuk Seri Nazir Razak and Datuk Dr Anis Yusal from UKM worked on a plan to make Malaysia better, ”he said.
Intrigued, I spoke to Anas Zubedy of Rasuah Busters and President of Abim Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz to get a feel for their initiatives.
Anas explained that Rasuah Busters was not trying to reshape Malaysian politics but Malaysian culture. He said they were trying to create a new platform, new hope and new belief that we can reverse rasuah (corruption) culture.
“We want to change the moral standards and the ‘interior’ of Malaysia. When we get the better of the Malays, our politics, our government and our affairs will follow, ”he told me.
Anas believed that if we managed to keep corruption as low as possible, Malaysian politics would be more advanced, deeper, effective and efficient.
“Rasuah makes things inefficient and inefficient, and he doesn’t get the best person for the job,” he said, citing the example of someone who has the money to find the job rather than from someone with real talent.
The president of Abim, Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz, gave me a long explanation of the Bangsa Malaysia concept of his movement.
In summary, Muhammad Faisal argued that we see our social problems through our racial lenses. For example, he said, the stereotype in Malaysia is that poverty is associated with Malays, corruption with Chinese, and gangsterism with Indians. He said Abim wanted the country to be solution-oriented to solve our social problems.
In a letter to The Star, President Abim wrote that it was important to address concerns about the concept of Bangsa Malaysia that have historically arisen, especially when viewed through the political lens. “On the one hand, some see Bangsa Malaysia as an elite Malaysian tool to dilute the identity of other races while on the other hand, some fear that Bangsa Malaysia is similar to the concept of ‘Malaysian Malaysia’ that is associated with dilution efforts. the identity of the majority race, ”he said.
“These problems arise when we see racial and ethnic identity the wrong way. The right way to understand identity is to see it as an inclusive and unifying factor rather than something that divides and separates.
Politically, President Abim has said his movement wants to be a game-changer.
“Politicians should not view the country’s problems on the basis of race. We need to focus on empowering Malays, ”he said.
I asked the political scientist Professor Wong Chin Huat what he thought of the reasons why there were initiatives to shape the country’s politics.
“All these movements to provide solutions that are troubling the country suggest two related phenomena: the failure of politicians to provide leadership and the maturation of civil society organizations to fill the void,” he said.
On what needs to be sorted out in Malaysian politics, Prof Wong argued that political parties need to come up with better policies that benefit the most. He said for this to happen, society must have a productive division on ideas or ideology, not identities or favoritism.
“What we have now are bad competitions over identities or favoritism or both,” he said.
For example, he said, “When voters believe the most important questions are, ‘Which ancestors came here first? “,” Which God is the greatest? and therefore “ which party in government would give more favors to me, to my family, to my company compared to others? how can politicians not compete by playing on ethnicity, religion and language, buying votes with cheap and broken promises, jumping party to join or climb government? “.
“Each person deserves their politicians, who are often only a reflection of the true personality of the society. As one wise person says, “You are never really trapped. You are the jam! He said.
Professor Wong said he would revolutionize Malaysian politics; we must let go of our fetish of “unity politicians” and “best politicians”.
He explained, “If Mydin, Giant, Tesco and AEON are all united, consumers will not have any sales. Likewise, if politicians are united, there will be no multi-party competition, no checks and balances. Those seeking political unity should migrate to North Korea, China or other one-party states. “
He argued that instead of changing politicians for the better – defined as younger, principled, non-community, clean, pro-poor, non-partisan, depending on who you are talking to – we should change our political system and the rules of the game.
On why there are several initiatives to shape the country’s politics, Anas de Rasuah Busters listed:
1. Malaysians are looking for leadership.
2. Uncertainties abound in the political, economic, social and health fields as both in search of answers.
“Social: the relationship between races / religion and place – Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia. Politics: no real Malaysian leadership. DAP’s mistakes for the Chinese and no leadership for the Indians. The economy is obvious. Health: perception of the slowness of vaccines and money at stake, ”he said.
3. A 22 month taste of Pakatan Harapan’s government was not inspiring, so Malaysians are looking for alternatives.
4. Umno is divided – it no longer offers reliable PM candidates.
On the ground, on social media and on WhatsApp, I have the impression that some Malaysians are fed up with politicians. They think politicians are the problem and not the solution.