APRIL 14 — Money, or the lack of it has always determined the vast majority of elections in the politically developing world.
Which explains why the simple-minded are often successful, and the principled come unstuck.
That thousands can stay on the streets of Bangkok for the reinstatement of their flawed leader for days. That voluminous meals, tents, vehicles, repairs and trinkets can appear in the by-elections of this country, with very short notice.
In Malaysia, that predicament is accentuated further by institutional support for the paramount position of money.
Neither your courts nor the publicly entrusted election commission are remotely interested in adjudicating the contests for power. The extent in which reason is chucked from the onset, almost gives those with means the encouragement they require to run roughshod over those who don’t.
And what means they are.
Shamelessly, political service is associated with the ability to generate funds. Pay your way to be elected, and to collect in your time in power.
Malaysians are not upset when taxpayers’ monies are taken by those in power, we are too accustomed and trained to accept authority to question those who have always taken from us. We just wish that those who take, don’t take it all.
Yet by day it seems, that pleading for benevolence is only feeding confidence to those who now see these whimpers as those who are too weak to deserve change.
The American system of government links money to free speech, therefore money in politics is regulated not barred.
Arguing for the dismembering of money from political activities would be tantamount to asking for people not to politicise, but at the same time, lacking the political will to limit money will result in the purchase of the vote.
The answer is always going to be self-regulation, built by a widespread and cultural buy-in for fairness.
However there is no need to accept or expect this change to only happen over time, because by doing so we condone “the buying of the vote”.
It would be disingenuous of me not to admit that I have described something most of us sense, and prescribed a solution most of us are likely to guess.
We have inherited this reality here in Malaysia, we did not ask for it.
We sure did not ask for Hishamuddin Hussein who will be using his high office in the home ministry to send activists to prison when cousin Najib gets into trouble.
Yet I am not all apologies.
The time to pick sides is coming. History will come to judge us all. That we had the courage to pursue fair process or accept a bully system — because it was too hard to change.
You can bet your bottom ringgit on history.