Saturday, January 19, 2008

Parti Mahasiswa Negara

There's been an interesting development in local Malaysian politics today. TheStar is reporting that a bunch of young graduates have come together to form a new political party, called: Parti Mahasiswa Negara. According to the article:

Its pro tem president Azlan Zainal said the multiracial party, comprising young graduates, would not join any existing party but its candidates would stand as independents. Matters like funding and the areas we will be contesting will be looked into later.
So, I asked myself, who were these people and what did they want. It all sounds good on paper, but I have never trusted any politician, not even naive, aspiring ones. So, I sat down to think about this thing a little. After a while, I decided that this blade could cut both sides. Regardless, it would be interesting to see how things pan out in the coming GE.

On one hand, I can see how this is a good thing. If you've been reading Opposition blogs, you will see that they have all had a common slogan that they like to chant i.e. Vote for Change, Vote for Opposition. The trouble with this is that if Malaysians really want to see true change, they shouldn't vote for the Opposition. There are other alternatives.

The trouble with the various Opposition parties in Malaysia is that they are the same creature as the ruling Government. They are all cut from the same cloth. They're all being led by people from the same generation who have the same outmoded ideas of national unity. Voting for the Opposition will just give us the same problems, from the opposite side. The reason that I say this is because they all bank on race/religion as their main platform.

Centrist and logical Malaysians would be totally fed up with both sides of the fence. If you vote for the ruling coalition, we will continue to have the same old divisive politics in place. They will carve us up by race/religion and rule each sub group that way. If you vote for the Opposition, they would still carve us up by race/religion and rule each sub group that way. Hence, if you truly want change, you cannot vote for either of them.

So, maybe this new political party was made up of just that, people who are fed up with existing political parties and want some real change in Malaysia. However, seeing that they have not made any policy decisions and such, I am hesitant to speculate on their intentions. But, this could be the start of a new chapter. Voters who want to vote for change, may actually vote for independents.

On the other hand, there is also a darker possible side to this new group. They could be planted there to disrupt the Opposition's support. The ruling coalition may have sensed the shift of support away from them. So, in order to prevent an Opposition victory, I wouldn't put it past them to plant independents in order to split the votes. One could easily see how independents can severely disrupt the situation in tightly fought constituencies.

So, maybe this new political party is a red herring, designed to distract people from the primary focus. The fact that they had only suddenly appeared at the 11th hour is very mysterious. That the main stream media covered their formation, is also suspicious. But then, a coin always has three sides, doesn't it.

There is always the faint possibility that they're a bunch of political optimists, who believe that they can fast track their way into politics by exploiting the volatile political climate present. Malaysian voters aren't known to be particularly logical people. Otherwise, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now. So, maybe they will succeed, maybe they won't.

The only way to tell is to see how well the perform in the up coming GE.

PS: You can read their press statement on what's supposed to be their official blog.

No comments: