Always remember what you’re forgoing when you vote
I’m writing this at 6pm on April 5th, 2018. The Parliament may have already been dissolved as some of you read this. There is simply not much time left for Barisan Nasional, or more specifically, Prime Minister Najib Razak to dissolve the Parliament and call for election. Traditionally, Parliament is dissolved prior to the launch of Barisan Nasional’s manifesto. As the manifesto is set to be launched on April 7th, it would be a surprise to Malaysians if the Parliament is not dissolved on April 6th. Other considerations behind everyone’s guess on the dissolution and polling date are: Ramadan period and release of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from Sungai Buloh Prison. Logically, the polling date and campaign period should not clash with Ramadan, which starts on May 17th. Furthermore, to call for a poll after the iconic opposition leader is released would be too big of a risk for Barisan Nasional, in spite of the unfair redelineation exercise and Anti Fake News Bill that were passed in Parliament as intended weapons for BN to win the election by force. Nevertheless, I did not write this statement to predict when the Parliament will be dissolved. After all, only a handful of BN leaders have that information. I am writing because I am concerned with what Najib has to offer at BN’s upcoming manifesto launch. BN’s manifestos may not have been released officially, but we are seeing in the news that Najib and other BN leaders are allocating a huge sum of money to give out election goodies, including the recent increment for some 1.6 million civil servants and pay hike for RELA members. What else would be announced? Going by Najib’s impaired confidence in this coming election, we have all the reason to believe that we will be seeing one of the most attractive manifestos from BN. We might get higher BRIM, more increment / bonuses for civil servants, more trains, more promises on development, and more scholarships. For all you know, Barisan Nasional may even announce the recognition for UEC. I would like to draw upon a common economic term here: ‘opportunity cost’. It is defined as “the loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen”, or what you forgo once you make a choice. Now, it is important to look at the opportunity cost paid by Malaysians when they vote. By now, I believe no Malaysian is left uninformed about 1MDB, and what Barisan Nasional is doing to explain away the most abhorrent corruption scandal deemed to be “Kleptocracy at its worst”, globally. I believe no Malaysian is convinced by the propaganda Barisan Nasional is playing in regards to our economy—they insist that we are doing fine when there are more and more Malaysians struggling to make ends meet every day. I believe no Malaysian is pleased with the system that was tweaked and deformed by Barisan Nasional just so they could rule over us for another 50, 100 or 1,000 years. Whatever goodies that we might see on April 7th in BN’s manifesto, please always remember that Malaysians are the ones paying for them. Our votes matter not because we are voting for better goodies that has no long-term implication to the country. Our votes matter so much because we are voting for a system that will prevent incidents like 1MDB from happening in the future.
We want a system that does not condone kleptocracy and corruption, a system that will right the wrong. We want a government that commits to institutional reforms, economic reforms, and social reforms. We want a government that understands people’s wants and needs, and place the nation’s interest as top priority. We want a government that commits to fight corruption, as corruption has hurt Malaysians deep enough. We want a government of the people, by the people, for the people.
None of these should be forgone just because Barisan Nasional promises us some election goodies. Let’s not forgo the nation’s future. Only you can decide the fate of the nation for the next 5 years, and decades to come.