A layman’s analysis of the Tanjung Piai by-election — Dharm Navaratnam

NOVEMBER 17 — So the Tanjung Piai by election is done and dusted. Wee Jeck Seng from BN-MCA won with a resounding 15000 plus majority. Congratulations are in order.

As expected, the politicians have started their ‘stories’ with the winners gloating and implying that this result signifies a change while the losers are apologising and coming out with calls for reviewing policies and performance.

From a realistic point of view, this win really doesn’t signify a changing of power or anything else for that matter. It doesn’t really mean that the electorate are sending a message to the ruling government. It doesn’t have to mean that the people are dissatisfied with Pakatan Harapan. Then again, maybe it does. In reality though, it only means that one seat was lost and that is not enough to even put a dent in the present government makeup.

Statistically, MCA can now trumpet the fact that it has increased its representation in Parliament by a 100 percent. Statistics that seem to be very impressive but that’s the thing about statistics. You can twist it to make a mountain out of a molehill. Truth of the matter is that MCA still only has two seat in parliament, no matter how you want to twist it. Truth is that MCA has really lost its relevance with only two seats. I really do not think this marks a revival of their fortunes.

It cannot be denied that many people are seemingly fed up with the lack of action of the government in implementing new policies. Here’s the thing though, Change doesn’t happen overnight. The fact of the matter is that politics is not just about doing what is right for the country but also in balancing and managing the wants of the populace. We have to admit that at the moment, and in fact at any moment in time, most policies will only make at the most half of the populace happy. There will always be detractors especially those that only look after what is in it for themselves and refuse to look at the bigger picture. Throw in the bleating of race and religion to anything and everything and you only compound the mess. This is the conundrum that the government has to deal with.

Many are also fed up by how long the 1MDB trial and SRC trials are taking. There is so much dissatisfaction. But the issue is this. The court cases have to take their due process and must be done without any interference on the part of the executive. Realistically speaking, the court cases are going to take years to complete taking into account the appeals process in the higher courts. And let’s just say for arguments sake that if the defendants are found guilty and sentenced to jail time. If there is no stay of execution pending an appeal, there would then be insinuations of interference by the Executive.

It’s really a no win situation.

So while it may be a wake-up call for Pakatan Harapan to get down to the grind and do more, it is also time for all of us to realise that we cannot expect miracles to happen overnight. We need to realise that so many things have been institutionalised over the years that even trying to effect change is difficult. We need to understand that change is a process. And like in any process, the critical factor is time.

The thing is, post GE14, everyone seems to have become an expert. A financial expert, a transport expert, a local housing expert. You name it, there is an expert out there, predominantly on social media, for everything . There is nothing that our ministers can do that seems to satisfy anyone. We always choose to focus on the negative and disregard the positives. We choose to blame all the ills that the country is facing today on the government of the day, forgetting that it took years for us to get to this stage and we remained silent all along.

So while change takes time, I also long for another change. I long for the day when candidates really and truly work for the people. I want a candidate that will debate on issues as they see them rather than taking a stand along party lines. I want a candidate that irrespective of their party allegiance will do what is right for their constituents and ultimately what is right for the country. I want a candidate that will tell me what they are going to do rather than simply bad mouth their opponents and their parties.

And perhaps this is what happened in Tanjung Piai. Perhaps our voters have become more mature. Perhaps they are voting for the candidate that will serve them better rather than based on the flag they are flying. And that is a good thing for democracy. That is a good thing for the country. Vote for the person that will serve you best, regardless of the flag they fly or their party affiliation.

Perhaps it is also time that our politicians themselves realise that they should do their best for the electorate that they are supposed to serve. Rather than being too busy playing politics and serving the party that they represent and indirectly serving themselves as well.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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