Everything is not politics, politics is not everything

Anas Zubedy

When businesses have to spend money in advertising to clarify that they are not racist or political, we know that our politics is entering worrying grounds.

Politics is important, but it is not the only pillar of society. Society is also linked through economics, culture, arts, education, business, and other social relationships. Each of these has a role to play. We cannot sacrifice one for the other. We need to find a balance.

In business, we don’t take sides. Individually businesspeople may have our own political leanings, but as an entity we are neutral. In order to fulfill our role in society, we must work with whoever is in power. In the Malaysian context, at the Federal level, with Barisan Nasional; and in the opposition states, with the Pakatan Rakyat state governments.

It does not mean we are being opportunists. It is just that we have a different role to play in society. Our job is to create customers and serve them. In doing so, we provide products and services for the Rakyat, and we provide jobs for you, your children, your parents, and your neighbour, regardless of your political preference.

We pay taxes.

When we hurt businesses for political ends, we bite the hands that feed us. We directly jeopardize a social order that supports our day to day living. For example, when we gang up to boycott an organisation like Gardenia, falsely using politics, we are endangering the jobs and livelihoods of those who work with them. These people could be someone close to us, or just as easily, we could be next.

We must choose to be justly balanced; choose the middle path. Each pillar that holds together our society needs to be given the right measure of care and consideration. We cannot, for politics, undermine business; nor for business, undermine politics. We deserve good politics and good business. To achieve these, we must do the right things, the right way – for the right reasons, in the right degree and at the right time.