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LAST_UPDATEThu, 21 Jun 2018 12pm

Why I’m Voting For BN

I write this knowing that 90% of you will disagree with me (I expect expletives too). Fair enough. But if you, by any chance, are willing to hear out an alternative point of view, read on.

On May 9th, I’ll be proudly voting for change. Just not the ‘change’ that most of you think of as change. To me, change has to mean something. It can’t simply be a change of government. And for the past 10 years, only party (or rather, one coalition) has been consistent in bringing the change we need.

I suppose I could list Najib’s wide-ranging economic reforms. Or point to the numbers showing a strong economy. Or talk about all the farsighted stuff in BN’s manifesto. But who am I kidding here? That would bore the crap out of all of you.

So, I’ll just say I’m voting in honor of the man I personally admire the most in our history. You may know him. His name is Tunku Abdul Rahman, and he represented the best of Malaysia.

Even as a member of royalty and our first prime minister, Tunku was extraordinarily humble. Even as a Malay, he was fair to all races. Under his government, there was virtually no cronyism or corruption. He was loved by all Malaysians.

Then what happened?

A man named Mahathir Mohammad infamously distributed a poison letter accusing Tunku of being pro-Chinese and calling for him to resign. Hatred against Tunku grew rapidly and he was forced to step down. Mahathir got his way – as he would again and again and again in the succeeding decades.

That’s the problem.

People tell me that the problems our country face stem from BN ruling for too long – for 61 uninterrupted years. But in those 61 long years, there was barely a period when Mahathir wasn’t pulling strings from behind-the-scenes or exercising full power as PM. We have not yet fully experienced what Malaysia would be like if Mahathir didn’t get his way.

See, the problem with BN isn’t BN. The problem with BN was Mahathir. It always Mahathir. He turned BN into his cultish puppet. He used the government to enrich cronies (see my article: Why Mahathir’s cronyism is worse than corruption) and consolidate absolute power.

That certainly wasn’t the intention of BN’s founders who fought tirelessly and earnestly for our independence. But Mahathir always found some way to eliminate reformist rivals and those who simply disagreed with him – even after he left office (honestly, Pak Lah deserves our sympathy). Give him credit, Mahathir does have a singular talent in strangling change in its crib.

This isn’t about unnecessarily digging up the past or being idealistic. This is about being intelligent about Mahathir’s current intentions. He objected to Pak Lah’s reforms, and Pak Lah paid for it. He objected to Najib’s reforms, and Najib may yet pay for it.

Speaking of which, do you remember when Anwar as Finance Minister in the 1990s spoke out against cronyism? Who jailed him on charges of sodomy shortly after that? Don’t we know what Mahathir wants by now? Apa lagi Mahathir mau?

Here’s an educated guess: He wants to keep the system exactly the way it was under his rule. And I refuse to let that happen. Not again, not this time. We will never get change unless we end Mahathir’s overbearing and suffocating influence on our government. I think Tunku understood that very well – probably why he campaigned against Mahathir in the last year of his life.

You know, every now and then, I watch this video of Tunku:

It was filmed decades years after he stepped down. Now elderly and frail, Tunku spoke painfully about how Mahathir turned everyone against him. It’s heartbreaking to think of what could’ve been if Tunku had stayed on as PM. We could’ve seen our country transformed into a First World economy with First World freedoms. We could’ve been spared the lurid scandals and mass arrests of the Mahathir era – Tunku would’ve never allowed any of that.

But what could’ve been can still be.

That’s why I’ll be voting to honor Tunku’s vision and legacy on May 9th. I want to support a government that’s fully free of Mahathir’s constant interference. I’ve liked what I’ve seen of BN in the past few years (as I written in previous articles), and I want to see more of it.

I want Tunku to know that we have not forgotten him, his struggles, and his sacrifices. Justice may have been delayed, but it is finally coming. Change may have been delayed, but it is finally coming. Of course, you and I probably disagree what ‘justice’ and ‘change’ entails. Shall we agree to disagree?

Anyway, selamat mengundi. Let’s get this election over with. To be honest, as much I’ve always loved politics, I’m already sick and tired of it.

-Malaysia Impact