April 28th 2018 is the date fixed by the Elections Commission (EC) as Nomination Day for GE14.
It is the day when some would describe themselves as being the ‘lucky’ ones as they take the next step in what can be described as their political destiny and contest the elections at GE14.
It is also the day tinged with sadness for some, as they make way, either voluntarily or otherwise, happily or unhappily, to new faces who shall then face the electorate and be adjudged of their worthiness to be called ‘YB’ or ‘Yang Berhormat’.
It is also the day when some bridges are burnt when, disappointed at being dropped or not nominated as candidates by their respective parties, submit their nomination papers for candidacy as Independents, for both parliamentary and state seats. Some may even go further and be nominated for their rival party.
They say Hell knows no fury like a woman scorned. Well, in the case of politics, Hell knows no fury as a politician ignored. Regardless of gender I might add.
It sometimes makes one wonder to the state of mind of some of these personalities and ask the rationale behind their candidacy. After all, being an elected representative to the respective legislative assemblies, be it at state or Federal level, or in short, be called YB, is not a piece of cake.
Five years of hard work, of dedicated service to your constituents, of interrupted sleep and so much more, lies ahead and all of this in addition to your other responsibilities as family man, a husband etc.
After five years as a YB, you will then be judged, again, as to your suitability to continue as you were, either by your political masters OR the people whose vote shall decide your fate.
And that may not even the worst part. It is, when your continued service as an elected representative, may not at all be related to the level of services nor performance of yourself as a YB but rather to the rhetoric of the day, perceptions of you as a YB (justified or otherwise), and the pronouncements of social media (who may not even live in your constituency).
And there has been a lot of that going around nowadays in Malaysia. Anybody and everybody in Malaysia can tell you that.
But then again, we are talking about politics, and though we have to admit that some, their destiny is in the service to the body politics, to the community and the country, there are some who makes you wonder to the levels of ‘mischief’ and ‘dis-service’ these elected representatives can get up to.
And over the years, Malaysia has had its fair share.
The past week, Barisan Nasional (BN) has been announcing the approved list of candidates for both parliamentary and state seats. Note the key word ie ‘approved’.
To say that the vetting of all potential candidates of BN is exhaustive is an understatement, especially in this day and age where social media’s impact cannot at all be underestimated.
Top amongst the list of criteria, in addition to their individual level of performance as an elected representative, has been the individual qualities of the potential candidates, their experiences and whether these potential candidates has the ‘Likeable, Acceptable and Winnable’ factor about them (not only to the BN leadership but also to the BN machinery on the ground, the all-important electorate), as well as ‘OTHER ASPECTS’ of these potential candidates (which is open to interpretation, I might add).
As expected, there have been some ‘reactions’ to the announcements, some more indignant than others. Not so different compared to what has happened during the run-in in past general elections, to say the least, with some so indignant to being overlooked that they willingly and openly side with their political opponents and thus inviting disciplinary action to be taken against them by their own party.
To say that the reactions were unexpected is akin to saying that we don’t like cheesecakes. Nothing can be further from the truth as we do love cheesecakes. Most types, if not all that is.
But I digress.
Politics being politics, it should not come as surprise that these ‘Independent’ candidates would make a re-appearance in the next general elections, GE15. Due to be held latest in 2023, this time re-appearing not as Independents but representatives of their new political masters.
Whoever that may be.
Nomination Day did spring a surprise here and there, totally unexpected and from left field. Top of the list is eg politician A from Party X filing candidacy papers to stand as candidate for Party Y, especially when there has not been any indication of such a thing happening.
Such ‘surprises’ can only result in disciplinary action being prescribed, which, most often than not, means expulsion from the party. It’s a given as it is not the first time it has happened and it definitely won’t be the last.
Once the process of filing nomination papers is done and dusted, the campaigning period kicks in. But mind you, that’s the official campaigning period for GE14, as it has been mentioned in earlier posts on GE14 that campaigning for GE14 began the day after GE13 was done and dusted, in one form or another.
And it safe to say, everybody and anybody can attest to that.
Prior to the dissolution of the 13th Malaysian parliament, the Barisan Nasional-led Federal government tabled and got the Anti Fake News legislation approved by both the Houses of Parliament ie Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, presented for consent by His Majesty The King (or DYMM SPB Yang Di Pertuan Agung) and thereafter, gazetted into law.
Like any other country in the world, fake news have fast become an issue of very serious concern. Unsubstantiated allegations, character assassinations, slander and defamation, most of which done via online portals and social media eg Whatsapp, Telegramm, Facebook, Wechat et al has made the rounds and along the way, has undermined the very essence of society with provocations leading to anarchy, mistrust between communities of different religions and races, and distrust of official and legislated institutions of the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary.
Faith and trust in the institutions of government and in the ties that bind the very fabric of society that is uniquely Malaysia’s were not built in a day but rather centuries. It is a commodity that is priceless, for it affords Malaysia the luxury of a peaceful existence with the freedom to practice one’s religious beliefs and honour one’s cultural heritage.
Unfortunately, in the pursuit of ‘freedom of the press’ and in the practice of ‘freedom of speech and expression’, the enactment of the Anti Fake News laws is being questioned and even ridiculed, so much so that it begs the question, should chaos and anarchy be the order of the day before good and common sense prevail? If so, at what cost?
So, as the official campaigning for GE14 kicks in officially, lets hope good and common sense prevails (hopefully, it’s not too late), and the electorate able to distinguish between whats real and whats fake.
Otherwise, Malaysia will really be in trouble. Serious trouble.