‘Cock and bull’ spins: Voters must decide

Stanley Koh
| June 21, 2012

Barisan Nasional scaremongers will continue to flog Pakatan Rakyat's 'inexperience', but Malaysians must use reason and logic when the time comes to choose.

One of the most common and irritating claims continuously harped on by the Barisan Nasional leaders during their campaign rounds is that the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition had no experience in governing a multi-racial nation.

BN scaremongers in their battle cry for political survival would say the most naive and air-headed remarks such as “the nation would ultimately be bankrupt”, “ethnic tensions could flare” leading to pandemonium in the national state of affairs.
Four years have passed since the “308-electoral tsunami” when the Pakatan coalition bagged five states and formed new state governments in Perak, Kelantan, Kedah, Penang and Selangor.

Unfortunately, Perak returned to BN after a coup d’état not long after.

Indeed, “experience” is a hard teacher and even the most hard-headed pupil would not dispute this wisdom.

Those who have gone through extreme hardships, trials and tribulations can testify that experiences often gives the test before the lessons.

In this political odyssey filled with the voices of Malaysians demanding for “change,” the question is, should voters support an inexperienced coalition against an experienced 55-year-old or more ruling regime?

If logic is taken as an ability to “reason” out their decision, then we can see that those claims and accusations made by certain BN leaders against Pakatan are just a fallacy.

BN’s argument that an opposition coalition should not be voted in, because it is “inexperienced”, is nothing more than deception and perverse logic.

Let us glimpse into some observations made by author Tricia Yeoh in her latest publication, titled “States of Reform-Governing Selangor and Penang”.

Pakatan states inherited ‘burdens and baggage’

In it she wrote: “The state governments have not, of course, been altogether perfect in their governing. Initial scepticism arose that the politicians taking over the states did not have the experience of managing governments.

“There are instances in which mistakes were made, many owing to the lack of knowledge in dealing with civil servants, including the state secretary issue in Selangor, and the Kampung Buah Pala issue in Penang.”

According to Tricia, who had served in the Selangor state government as a research officer to the menteri besar in 2008, the new Pakatan state government had to tackle the burdens and baggage of the old BN-led administration.

And this included poorly signed contracts which benefited private companies and cronies of the previous BN state government in Selangor besides inefficient accounting and state corporations being exploited for certain individuals in power.

The state of affairs in Selangor basically reflected the words of America’s founding father Thomas Jefferson: “Experience has shown that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted into tyranny.”

Hence, voters particularly those in the Pakatan-led states have a choice in the coming 13th general election.
Should they continue to endorse through their ballot box their support for an alternative Pakatan coalition in Selangor and Penang?

Do they want to give more time for this coalition to continue its manifesto to “developing democracy, servicing the public and managing the economy” with greater consistency compared to the previous BN-style of governance?

BN’s ‘top-cock’ syndrome

As for those BN individual leaders who insist that the inexperienced Pakatan is a liability and therefore should not be supported by voters in the coming polls, perhaps, they should heed this fable known as the “Cock Syndrome.”

“Once upon a time there was a young cock. He was the undisputed lord of his flock of chickens on a farm. He spent most of his time preening his beautiful glossy feathers in the sun. This he did so that his flock may be suitably impressed.

“He treated the older cocks with contempt, for they lacked the physical strength to fight him. He strutted about ignoring the younger cocks, telling that they were too young to know. He had fought off the old and had stunted aside the young. He was the top-cock. He alone ruled his flock on the farm.

“Sometimes, he would hear the faraway crowing of other cocks. But they sounded many farms away. He had little reason to pay much heed to that.

“Soon, he persuaded himself that there was really no other farm. He began to believe that his farm was the only one in the world, and that he himself was the only cock that mattered.

“As the sun rose every morning, its rays shone on his freshly preened colourful feathers, and he felt good. For days every morning unfailingly he crowed, proclaiming to his flock that the sun has arisen.

“Finally he convinced himself, he had firmly planted in his mind that it was his crowing that made the sun rise and that the world could not do without him. Without his crowing, the life-giving sun would not rise.”

The fable of this story tells us that there are many leaders in the ruling regime within the BN who resemble this pitiful cock.
They are so self-opinionated and arrogant with closed minds that they think this nation cannot survive without their leadership roles.

Reject racist, flippant statements

Here comes the surprise. This fable was narrated by a former MCA deputy president Richard Ho Ung Hun.

Ho was also the labour and manpower minister in 1980.

Addressing a gathering of MCA divisional leaders in Kuala Lumpur, Ho warned MCA leaders of the cock syndrome.

Does the MCA leadership under Dr Chua Soi Lek feel that it is only the MCA which can represent the Chinese community and that an inexperienced opposition is incapable of doing so?

What is the choice for voters between an experienced and inexperienced ruling regime?

Will voters prefer harsh realities generated by the “experienced” BN government – the high costs of living, abuse of human rights, draconian laws, corruption, nepotism and so forth?

Or will the awakening voters choose to give Pakatan another chance to consolidate a two-party system to act as a check and balance on the political divide?

Hence, Chua or whoever the BN leaders, should know the difference between a smart and a wise politician.

A smart politician may know what to say but a wise one knows whether or not to say it.

It is time for a reality check among voters. It is also a time when Malaysians should reject emotive, racist, stupid and flippant remarks by politicians.

Vote wisely

The continuous exposure of murky practices in an experienced 55-year-old government is sufficient to show Malaysian voters that the BN has hardly changed or cured itself from the diseases of “delusion, inertia, amnesia and arrogance”.
The puzzling question remains: Is experience a liability and inexperience, an asset?

The voting preference of Malaysians should be wisely based on logic, truth and principles of good governance.

Malaysian voters have changed and their mindsets have shifted with the rise in literacy. Some 90% of Malaysia’s 28.3 million population are literate and they know that whatever party they choose will change and reshape their destiny.

The majority of the voters are tired and fed up of the cock syndrome within the BN leadership hierarchy and the populist banner is “for change”.

Stanley Koh is the former head of MCA’s research unit. He is now a FMT columnist.