Sunday, 16 March 2008

A Road Not Taken

The general election reminds me of Robert Frost's "A Road Not Taken". It was precisely how I felt that morning at the polling station: should I take the road that is well-trodden, or should I take the one that has been less travelled and therefore less certain? Many Malaysians that morning were thrown into the predicament of whether to take the familiar road or to choose one that is fraught with uncertainty? I guess a substantial number of Malaysians have decided to move on and choose a different path. And it is the hope of many that the path will lead to brighter things to come.

The aftermath of the election has been one of jubilation, yet anxiety. The squabbles among the opposition parties over the allocation of seats in the states under their control after the initial euphoria of success have been a precursor to what is to come if they cannot get their act together.

The Barisan Nasional, of course is gloating over the spectacle which seems to confirm their assertion that the opposition parties' cooperation is merely a marriage of convenience.

One of the key points in the opposition parties' campaign is the dismantling of the NEP, which has enriched only the UMNOputras and the toothless, conniving component parties. The benefits of the policy have not filtered down to the really deserving poor. While it is understandable that the Malays are fearful of the removal of the NEP, and this has been quickly exploited by UMNO in the recent demonstrations demanding that the policy be continued, the fact remains that it has been abused for so long that it is time for it to be scrutinised. Since the Malays form about 60 percent of the population, the opposition's policy of helping the needy would therefore be helping more Malays than the other races. Our Malay brothers should therefore rest assured that the needy, of whom they form the bigger majority, would be taken care of. What is more important is to rid the NEP of the elements of patronage and collusion between the Barisan Nasional and corporate vultures.

It is laughable that the Penang UMNO held a demonstration (and they were handled with kid gloves by the police and the FRU)demanding the new Penang government for its blueprint to help the Penang Malays . What is Penang UMNO afraid of? Doesn't it want a government that is clean and accountable? That cronies should not enrich themselves at the expense of the rakyat? That is the promise of the new state government. The fact is that the Barisan Rakyat have never dreamt that they would be able to take Penang. Now that they have, they should be given the time to come up with a blueprint to meet the high expectations of the Penangnites.

What the Barisan Rakyat have is not time but the will and the sincerity to show Malaysians that they can provide a workable alternative to race-based politics that has further divided Malaysians. It is time for them to build bridges of trust, specifically the DAP and PAS, to show Malaysians that they are not chauvinistic, that they believe in a Malaysian Malaysia.

"Government of the people, by the people for the people". That should be their guiding principle.

They will not have a second chance.

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