In cynical times, everything must seem completely absurd. Malaysia’s endless volatility despite providing excitement must worry everyone when we think about the economy and the future.
The facts or developments are exposed for us all to know. The interpretations differ from “we miss the good ol’ days” to ” viva la revolution”.
For the sake of simplicity I will refer to what we have now, as the present reality and how things are likely to be in the present if Pakatan Rakyat did not make inroads in the last elections as the alternate reality.
It is in my interest to defend the changes and the various initiatives that undermine the place and future of Barisan Nasional – so I quite welcome anyone who reads my words with reasonable suspicion and doubt, and proceeds to challenge my ideas when they come short.
It also necessary for me to explain the changes and potential measures, since a fair number of people the past (even if the past is only 6 months only).
With that pinch of salt readily available at the margins of these pages, the analysis then.
The primary question we have to ask is, how much different would our lives be today if BN did not lose the contentious ground.
Let’s weigh the the issues of the day, in light of that examination.
Oil price hike and accompanying difficulties, lack of any real policy initiatives and the Anwar – Najib sagas.
The price increase by BN can be justified, however the scale of the increase and the widespread inflation that has followed is regrettable. That requires better policy – how to minimise unnecessary price rises.
The price accelerators and indeed confidence makers are the small businesspersons and small medium businesses. It is your local roti canai guy who chooses to increase the bread price and then your local parts supplier who ups prices. Production prices have risen, however self-discipline is key, and governments play their role by convincing, persuading and cajoling business to restrain from price increases. Not by forcing price ceilings – which only induces hoarding and other negative changes.
The lack of real policy to meet the increase of global oil price, other than adding to our own oil prices is indicative of real affective policies.
The Umno government has gotten used to feel-good policies which are primarily propped by launches. Getting measures to increase domestic market confidence, which translates to consumption and asking people to forgo immediate gains for long term economic health has always been a challenge for Umno governments.
So in short the inflation is unavoidable, but the size of it – real inflation as felt by the rakyat and not the one’s produced by government agencies – will show the economic management of the government.
The lurid details of Anwar’s and Najib’s – irrespective of the truth – were always going to keep going because there are enough supporters and detractors for both characters.
So the real question
The real question must be then, if everyone is lousy -why bother to change governments. Five states, parliament or even the whole country. Why change when everyone seemingly has a hidden agenda.
The answer is not in the characters, Umno or PKR – but in the process that you get when you level the ground. And in Malaysia – that leveler was GE12.
The weak have got stronger, and the strong have to tread carefully. The winner is process of government. Governments work best when no one person gets his or her way all the time, and there is strenuous process for all future policies and laws. They don’t appear because they are expedient, but because they are necessary.
And PKR or Pakatan Rakyat will never reach the same asphyxiating stranglehold of power Umno had once it falls because, after falling Umno would still be around and remaining potent.
Everything is up for closer scrutiny, and the views of marginals and minorities like the Hindraf blokes, the Sisters in Islam and environmental groups will be on the rise as the razor thin difference that keeps you in government or out of it forces.
So have you become better off because of the election result?
Our voice has more worth than six months ago. Those who were not bothered about your views are now willing to understand, or at least listen to you – because there are no vote guarantees.
For a change, government – a Umno or Pakatan Rakyat – will build itself to what is valuable to you. Isn’t that a nice permanent change?