Disappointing ‘performance’ by politicians

Stephanie Ste Maria, WikiSabah

A lecturer from the Monash University rated our politicians’ performance in 2011 at 59 points which he said was one mark below a Credit in the university’s examination system.

This piece was originally intended as a salute to parliamentarians who in the past year have given Malaysians a good enough reason to root for their survival in the 13th general election pipped to be held in the first quarter of 2012.

These individuals would be those who have tirelessly chased down both high profile as well as bread and butter issues.

Those who tossed out ideas, opinions and recommendations that were startling in their boldness but instrumental in setting the nation on the right track.

Those who strode into raging rivers of controversy to stand beside the people even if it sometimes meant standing opposite their party leaders. And those who bravely hoisted the people’s call and hope for change upon their shoulders.

With 222 parliamentary seats political observers shouldn’t have been hard pressed to name a decent number of political beacons across both camps.

This is especially so considering the year’s events and the politicians who were exalted by the public for the above mentioned traits.

And yet two political observers approached by FMT were adamant that not a single politician this year had given a performance worthy enough of a re-admission into Parliament after the next general election.

‘Incapable politicians’

Khoo Kay Peng was unforgiving in his assessment of both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat of having dodged critical issues to indulge in superficial ones.

“What the people really need to know is the state of our economy, a potential second dip, the outflow of illegal funds and our global competitiveness,” he said.

“Instead politicians are assuring us that all is well.”

These glib words have infuriated Khoo who warned that Malaysians are more concerned today about the state of the nation than that of political parties.

“Our politicians are oblivious…When they awake in the morning their first thought is about who will win the next general election. They don’t think about how to bring the country forward,” he added.

Khoo also observed that Malaysia is moving towards a socialist state through the manner in which politicians chose to resolve national dilemmas by stuffing money into the widening gaps.

“A new generation of urban poor has emerged but you won’t find it in the government’s flimsy data.

“Ultimately our politicians are incapable of solving the country’s real issues. It’s hilarious, really, ” he said.

Below average performance

James Chin of Monash University was kinder in passing judgement saying that no event stood out enough this year to challenge the politicians’ mettle.

Calling 2011 a “holding pattern year” he pointed out that Umno was still playing the racial card while Pakatan had its sodomy and Islamic state soundtracks on repeat.

“Bersih 2.0 was significant but overall it didn’t make a strong impact as it was about civil society pushing for change.

“At the end of the day it doesn’t matter who people want to see win the next general election.

“It will all boil down to the one winner for each camp who will either be (Prime Minister) Najib (Tun Razak) or (opposition leader) Anwar (Ibrahim). Those are the only two we need to watch for,” said Chin.

His colleague, Wong Chin Huat, meanwhile rated politicians’ performance at 59 points which he said was one mark below a Credit in the university’s system.

“On one hand we have the ruling party’s arrogance in pushing controversial views,” he stated.

“On the other we have an opposition that isn’t up to par because it is too focused on the destination instead of the journey.”