Beyond Parliament reconvening, democracy needs participation

Beyond Parliament reconvening, democracy needs participation.

The people need education on X Power for Big Changes, get the gov’t they deserve.

The sultanates, states and one territory in M’sia are preparing for the reconvening of their legislative assemblies between mid-July and mid-Aug.

In S’wak, the gov’t’s tenure ended in that territory on Mon 7 June 2021. The Emergency, declared on Tues 12 Jan, has pushed the Dissolution to Sun 1 Aug, and territorial polls will be held at the latest by Thurs 30 Sept.

Still, Parliament can reconvene either before or after the flurry of legislative assembly sittings in the territory of Sabah, and the states and sultanates in Malaya.

Parliament would most probably reconvene later, not “as soon as possible”, as advised in two Istana statements on Wed 16 June 2021.

The “delay” would be unlikely to go down well with the Agong and brother sultans.

How they show their “displeasure”, if any, remains to be seen.

Parliament, or no Parliament, Malay and Orang Asal continue to be divided among many race-based parties on both sides of the political Divide.

Of course, these parties come together before elections, and certainly when forming the gov’t in Putrajaya, and in the legislative assemblies. The Orang Asal, plagued by the frogging phenomenon, throw their lot with whoever forms gov’t, whether Federal or in the territories i.e. Sabah and S’wak.

Patently, after sixty-odd years, M’sia should get away from race and religion in politics, but the prognosis does not look good.

The betting is that the Orang Asal and Malay, whether united or divided, do not offer much prospects for political change in the country.

I would be the happiest person on both sides of the South China Sea, if proven wrong. The jury is not out on whether Malay and Orang Asal can bring political change in M’sia. Their positions are too entrenched, for want of a better term, to allow for the possibility of any political change in the country.

If we digress from the formation of gov’t, the question that arises: where would change come from every election?

The thesis statement may be that Indian, Chinese, voters may offer the best hope for change every election if they realise the value of X Power and get their votes right.

Indian, Chinese, votes are no longer “locked” as in the years before GE14 when the Barisan Nasional (BN) ensured Umno’s continued dominance in power.

Indian, Chinese, voters may be persuaded to reject political personality cults, race-based parties, party politics, signing up as hardcore card-carrying political party members, and subscribing to new forms of tribalism and feudalism a la political parties under the guise of democracy.

If Indian, Chinese, get their votes right, these two communities would immediately benefit. They can no longer be pigeon-holed and stereotyped, reduced to tokenism, window-dressing and crumbs as evident in the current Administration in Putrajaya.

The focus should be on issues beyond race and religion, common interests and shared values.

Democracy cannot be about voting once in five years and then going home and sleeping, for want of a better analogy. Democracy, which means people power, cannot be left to politicians alone.

Democracy, it’s said, only works if the people participate.

Between elections, the people should make movements on every issue and hold the gov’t and politicians accountable. In many countries, matters of public concern and public interest even make their way through the courts.

In India, for example, politicians are even dragged to court by the people, and sometimes jailed. Interestingly, the law in India allows jailed politicians to contest elections, and even campaign from behind bars. The supreme court of India and the Elections Commission are formidable institutions. Gov’ts live in terror of them.

Victory, however, does not mean immediate release, or even early release.

In M’sia, of course, a RM2K fine would suffice to immediately disqualify a lawmaker from holding a seat in the legislature, and for a further five years commencing from the next election.

Author: fernzthegreat

Joe Fernandez holds a honours degree in management, majoring in economics, and has opted from academia in law to being a jurist. He was trained professionally on the job as a journalist. He's a longtime Borneo watcher, keen on the history and legal aspects of Malaya's presence in Sabah and Sarawak. He teaches the English language privately and has emerged as a subject matter expert in public examination techniques.

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