While ushering in the lunar year of Rabbit, politicians with or without public portfolio alike have been busy hopping from house to house on their annual Chinese New Year visits. The concept of Open House for all our Malaysian festivities is indeed a creative and laudable practice that is truly our homegrown tradition in Malaysia.
Perhaps, beyond all the stereotype seasonal greetings and pleasantries, we should do ourselves an honest audit of our prevailing depth of mutual understanding and sense of mutual appreciation for one another’s culture and norms in our social fabric.
Of late, racist slurs seem to be on the rise. Politicians from both sides of the divide have been endeavoring to outperform one another. If this is to be done in the interest of the people, healthy competition would certainly serve as a boon to the nation.
But so far what has been unfolding in front of the people is nothing but protracted political squabble laced with endless finger-pointing and mudslinging. Both sides are apparently interested only in proving the decadence in their opponents.
To the discerning Malaysian public, the degree of decadence in any politicians or political parties is of course worth alarming but mere expose of such decadence would unlikely render us more competitive in our pursuit of success in the global perspective.
The Malaysian voters cast their votes to seek good governance with sound check and balance in place. They don’t do it simply to catapult certain individuals to public portfolio, to make them instant millionaires. Neither would they want to install them to hog the limelight through mudslinging.
True, political decadence that exists in the form of corruption, power abuse and malpractices in the implementation of policies must be exposed and addressed. This should transcend partisan lines.
However, in the Malaysian perspective, our partisans seem to have developed a common habit of mounting offensive selectively against their rivals’ wrongdoings especially alleged graft involvement. But to the same malpractices within their own camp, they would either turn a blind eye or stubbornly cling to the same old denial syndrome. Much less would they endeavor proactively to address the issue.
Perhaps, this is deemed suicidal as it is said to be tantamount to shooting in one’s own foot. But I would say this is a real test to our commitment to upholding integrity. Anything falling short of that would only reveal the hypocritical nature and lip services of the politicians who use anti-graft merely for their own political gain.
Generally speaking, the graft malaise is not the monopoly of parties entrenched with power as many might have thought. Much to my dismay, many individual politicians or even parties having had their first taste of power have in many cases proven failed to resist such a graft temptation.
Honestly, upholding integrity is part and parcel of the public office holders’ duties and not something spectacular that warrants rewards. This is similar to our common norm that stealing common properties is an offence in the eyes of law. We don’t need to honour individuals for abiding the laws in this respect but those who flout them would certainly have to pay a price for their misdeeds.
Over the years, we have been taught that all men are equal before the laws. But in reality, this would in most cases remain a distant ideal. This provides us with room for further improvement in our anti-graft fight in the Year of Rabbit.