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Feb 16, 2008

What Kind Of Candidates Do We Need?


Parliament has been dissolved, the nomination and polling days have been fixed as well. This will be followed by the announcement of candidate lists by political parties and the battle begins.

Even as Malaysia calls itself a democratic country, the candidate selection of its political parties us yet to break away from the hand picked method As political parties have not set a direct election system in their parties, the final decision in choosing candidates lies on the hand of the party's leader.

The direct election system in the party is more democratic and fair. It can avoid bias decisions being made by the party's leader as well. Otherwise, there would be internal power struggles that eventually affect the selection of candidates that might bring disappointment to the people.

Malaysian voters used to vote for the party instead of the candidate. This voting tendency of ignoring the professional image of the candidates and their ability and personal integrity is not a good sign. It could affect the future political situation of the country.

Voters are in fact the boss and therefore, it is their basic responsibility to be strict but not fussy and forgetful. And as a responsible voter, the first thing you should do is to cast your vote on the polling day.

“Bad officers are elected by those good citizens that do not vote”. Therefore, we should appreciate our right to vote. Although we are still not able to vote for the candidate we want through the direct election system, we are still able to tell the political parties through our votes that if the candidates they chose do not meet the requirements of the people, we are certainly not to vote for him.

After 50 years of democratic practice, we should be more mature and should not give out our right to speak for “what kind of representative we want”. We have to loudly tell the major political parties that the candidates we want must possess the following qualifications:

  1. To seek truth from facts, not be extreme and not be arrogant;
  2. Be tolerant and understanding, not to please the people with triviality;
  3. To stand firm, do not blindly follow speculations;
  4. To prioritise the people's interest, not to receive bribe;
  5. To be self-disciplined,
  6. Dare to speak out, not to be afraid of those with power;
  7. To keep promises, not to deceive voters;
  8. To respect differences, not to disregard public opinion;
  9. To distinguish between right and wrong, not to talk nonsense;
  10. To look ahead with wisdom, not be blunt.

These requirements involve the qualities and personal integrity of the candidates. They should be knowledgeable, visionary, have conviction, be good in carrying out his tasks, analytical and communicative. We are not being fussy but our aim is to increase the quality of the candidates and our election culture.

Our democratic system has not matured yet even though we have been independent for 50 years. We cannot deny that racial issues still exist in our country and we should take serious note of the Indian problem. We should realise that the ideal of gaining voters support by rational policy and to building a healthy democratic political system could not be reached as long as the racial suspicion and fair governance issues are yet to resolved.

We are still far away from the true democracy. But the elections could reflect the will of the people. Therefore, we should not give up on our dream. Even if we have to cast our votes with tears, we should not give up any chance to practise democracy. We should firmly believe that we can achieve true democracy one day as long as we do not give up hope on it! (By LIM MUN FAH/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily)


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