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Onwards to 2017
Published on: Sunday, January 08, 2017

By Datuk John Lo
As we ushered 2017, I was thinking about the many challenges that Malaysia faced in 2016.

Many were serious and should be of great concern to every patriotic Malaysian.

The majority of the 2016 challenges will spill over into 2017 with no solution in sight.

Broadly speaking, there are two categories, first are external which we have limited or no control.

Second are internal or domestic ones, many of which have been self inflected or “we asked for it” and could have been avoided if the national political leaders from government and opposition have exhibited more wisdom, common sense and, above all, maturity and greater responsibility towards political morality.

Much of these problems were created by politicians in Peninsula Malaysia.

I will start my 2017 dream for Malaysia pertaining to political morality or the lack of it which, to me, is the most critical in 2017 and beyond.

The current state of political morality is foul and if not stopped, will sling us down to 3rd world standard commonly found in some African or Latin American countries.

Clear as day light we cannot carry on like this. In the last few years, we can see a distinct decline in political behaviour which the older generation has taken for granted.

Then there was at least some ‘gentleman’ quality. Now many political leaders practice “crass politics”, devoid of class, responsibility and total insensitivity. Reflecting the current political morality are some common features: - [a] ‘Winner takes all’ – not for national interest but for personal gains.

[b] “Collective responsibility”, “ministerial responsibility” and “political responsibility” have seldom been observed by national politicians.

All wrongs, no matter how serious are being justified with illogical, childish explanations.

And if challenged, their arrogance will surface.

[c] Many national political leaders have used whatever means to achieve personal and party political objectives so long the ends can justify the means. The use of racial and religious bigotries to garner political support is the best example.

The “red shirt brigade” which has a fondness to take the law into their hands frequently, is another.

Little do they know that they are in fact giving a very negative image to their ‘behind the scene patrons’.

[d] Open use of ‘rogues’ to confront legitimate and reasonable political differences, to the extent of using force is a serious affront to democratic principles.

[e] The frequent use of “sex allegations” against each other in politics, sometimes totally without evidence.

It is about time for our politicians in KL to show they can grow up and show they have a bit of maturity in 2017.

I also want to dream that these politicians will acquire some forms of conscience to reflect on the massive corruption in the country, so much so that Malaysia has been rated as one of the top countries in corruption.

Money that has been siphoned off abroad is staggering. Many of them have used politics as a “golden path” to extract illicit personal wealth, “fairy tale mansions” and “latest expensive cars and sports utility vehicles”.

This can be seen in the common phenomenon of “from rags to riches” among politicians in a very short time after entering politics and/or shortly after having receiving a political appointment.

The politics of today can be likened like a franchise business. Grass leaders who have succeeded in local party election can become the “big brothers” in their own locale with “exclusive rights and privileges”.

Is there any wonder why these leaders are unwilling to give up political office at all levels?

Money politics is inevitable.

The natural consequence of a country declining in morality is that political leaders will become overtly selfish and self centred, imbued with a sense of “invincibility” and “I am always right” and “I will tell you what to do” attitude.

The citizens’ interest will be sacrificed and relegated to the list of low priority because of systemic declining “checks and balances” in the system.

In the advanced democracies, the reverse is true or at least, the politicians make a show of listening to the voices of the people. I hope those political leaders in W Malaysia will have a change of hearts and return to the path of political virtues in 2017.

As you would expect, all the above mentioned points have grave consequences in our social fabric and economic structures.

The only way these politicians can maintain their power positions is by using the aged old British colonial political scheme of “divide and rule”.

Now that we have gained independence for more than 50 years such a tactic should be condemned.

Sad and shameful to see some West Malaysian leaders have stooped low to this “divide and rule”.

Instead of building our nation on unity, they emphasise on differences of all types, religion, race, food, and language, anything you can think of, they will use it for their political agenda.

When the nation’s attention and energy are diverted into fighting among ourselves, how can we grow and strengthen our economy, especially in the current global uncertainty? How can we compete with other nations?

A nation divided is a nation with a bleak future, a nation in decline.

In 2017, I hope the parties in government and opposition will consider changing their political direction.

There can be political differences but not on race and religions which have potentials of great destruction.

The best political model for Malaysia is for the respective political parties to compete on offering the best economic models, policies and effective implementation for Malaysians to choose.

As a nation aspiring to achieve developed nation status, we must focus on economic performance.

Political debate must be based on economics [not on religion and race].

If this can be agreed by the parties on both sides of the political divide, most of the day to day problems of average Malaysians can be solved, the economic growth will be enhanced and the lives of average Malaysians will improve.

My dream for 2017 is for political leaders to come real. Tell us the real thing. We can see things are not rosy at all.

Don’t pull wool over our eyes for we can see that there is a big deficit in what you are telling us and what is happening in our pockets.

Many Malaysians are drowning from higher prices infused by GST and depreciation of the Ringgit.

Don’t tell us a rapidly slumping Ringgit is good for us. It is not.

It is only good for those who already have money stashed away in foreign currencies overseas.

Lastly, I hope the national opposition can take the bother to differentiate and not to mix up domestic politics and the investment by China which PM Najib has succeeded in securing for Malaysia.

If you don’t agree with PM Najib’s style of management of the country, take issue with him by all means.

To implicate complexities and collusion by the Chinese government is wrong and against Malaysia’s national interest.

Whatever the reason it may be, we must face the stark reality that we need investment from China at our greatest hour of need.

If not China which country can help us? Can the opposition arrange for an alternative source?

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