November 19, 2022 was a historic day for us. We voted hoping for a more stable government after the instability of the last three to four years. Alas, after all the votes were counted, we were informed of a split.
A hung parliament was the outcome with no clear winner. No political coalition could secure a simple majority of at least 112 seats. Come November 20, no government could be formalised.
The coalitions were given until 2pm Monday to strike a deal. This was later deferred to same time Tuesday.
As usual, there were some premature claims of securing enough support to form a government. All were quickly disposed off as fake.
Not a few such claims were manufactured by netizens themselves, who have grown restless and become disgruntled with the dragging indecision.
What is most distressing is the stand taken by some leaders, not much different from the little Napoleons that we have become used to, who have declared their unwillingness to work with certain parties.
These are also the same leaders who before the election have declared unequivocal support for the concept of “Keluarga Malaysia” and non-partisanship. Are such declarations mere rhetorics made just to fish for the maximum votes? Where is the statesmanship expected of our leaders?
Have these representatives of the people forgot the common agenda for the nation? Many citizens are baffled by what is now being played out in the negotiation process to secure a deal among parties for a workable government. Where has all the cry for a shared future gone to?
This is the first time that the country is thrown into this state of a hung parliament. But it is not new in many other countries around the world including New Zealand, Canada, Germany and Belgium, to name some.
Different from what we are witnessing now, all the other countries facing similar situation have managed to sort out the stalemate pretty well. At the end of the day, the bigger agenda above the selfish party politics is the nation’s interest and well-being.
We must be reminded that the election GE15 is meant for the population to elect good leaders. The next stage is for the elected leaders to decide how best to form a stable government for the nation, not for any selfish political coalition. This is the time when leaders must demonstrate their statesmanship.
Again, we must look at the big picture. What is the state of the nation now? How do we want the nation to look as we journey into the future? What policies we need to put in place to secure a future we all desire?
Listening to the many views and discourses in the media, the nation is in chronic pain on many fronts. Our debt level, no thanks to the previous improperly planned borrowing, is running into unmanageable territory. Some are even saying that if we do not manage it well in the coming days, there is no stopping the country sliding the way of Sri Lanka.
We all know the sad episodes in neighbouring Sri Lanka. Like Sri Lanka which is too dependent on tourism for their revenue, we are also over dependent on petroleum for the bulk of our income. The call to diversify the economy into more high value added and the technology-driven sectors has yet to find traction with our leaders. We have yet to wean away from the low cost labour intensive economy.
The worse is yet to come. 2023 has been proclaimed by literally all the authorities on the global economy as a recessionary time. Inflation, they say, will bite hard on consumers.
We need to be ready for this depressed time. Energy prices are also expected to remain buoyant. So are food prices. We have talked till kingdom come on how to improve our food security situation.
Nothing has materialised except for the never ending policy declarations and promises. Policies that never truly left the paper they were written on. Our FDIs have also shown a declining trend compared with our neighbours. The country’s political uncertainly is partly contributing to such malaise.
What is certain is we need change. No more of the same old stuff. And the only way to change is to have a fresh leadership, one that has never been part of the previous bank of poorly performing leadership.