Navaratnam says voters not hostage to political parties

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — Former top civil servant and anti-graft fighter Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said Malaysians should be able to exercise their right to vote for progressive politics and any party that best serves the public.

Navaratnam told The Malaysian Insider that the electorate should not be held hostage by politicians and their personal political interests.

“Malaysian have now become more mature, and will know how to exercise their rights to vote at the ballot box and don’t need to be told what to do by politicians who need not [necessarily] have the public and national interests at heart,” said the former transport secretary-general during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s premiership.

He was commenting on Dr Mahathir’s latest blog post, where the ex-premier accused PAS of wooing the Chinese just for votes to gain power and added that “hypocrisy is very much alive in Malaysian politics”.

Yesterday, Navaratnam added that the public are not driven by political parties but progressive politics.

“The Chinese, Indian or any community including those Bumiputeras from Sabah and Sarawak will vote for any party or individuals who promote politics that enhance national unity.

“If PAS can promise and deliver peace, unity and progress, why not vote for PAS? What is wrong in voting for parties and individuals, politicians who are sincere in promoting national unity?” he asked.

Dr Mahathir also wrote that Barisan Nasional (BN) must not give more political power to the Chinese community until the Malays expand their economic stake in the country.

This call, however, drew Navaratnam’s criticism of the country’s longest serving prime minister for mongering racial politics.

“It is a pity that our former prime minister who had international status should now resort to divisive and even racial politics. The power of the people is more important than parochial and provincial attitude.

“If the government of the day is fair to all Malaysians and especially the poor as promoted by the 1 Malaysia policy then we can all live in peace, stability and with greater national unity,” he said.

He added that Dr Mahathir should help Malaysians realise Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia instead of undermining the concept.