PM’s advice should apply to all Malaysians

THE prime minister's advice against hate politics is most welcome by all right-thinking Malaysians. The good advice is also timely a few months before the 14th general election.

However hate politics is not practised by some opposition leaders alone, but by some politicians of the ruling political party as well and hence the advice or warning should apply to them too. I believe that Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak did not mean to offer this advice only to some opposition leaders and not to some of his party leaders.

Hate politics, racial and religious bigotry from any quarter should be equally condemned. There must not be double standards.

The advice should be included by the voters in their criteria for voting together with other vital criteria.

The criteria

» The advice to reject hate politics must be followed by all. Thus all candidates who have a record of making hate statements that undermined national unity should be rejected at the ballot box.

» Religious parties and leaders and practitioners who have condemned other religions or religious practices should be identified and cast aside at the polls. All those who have preached hatred and intolerance should similarly be isolated.

» Corrupt candidates should be castigated. How can we fight corruption if we vote for those known to be living beyond their means and especially those known to be corrupt. Perhaps, the MACC could help voters in this regard?

» Racists who are known to have made racial remarks and slurs are well known. It will be irresponsible of voters to ignore the candidates' racist public statements and support them at the polls. Then we can be construed as contributing to and condoning racism. We have to be vigilant and cast our votes against even perceived racists.

» Vote for those who will improve the welfare and quality of life of all Malaysians based on basic needs and human rights.

» It would be useful to vote for candidates who fulfil the above criteria rather than vote for political parties per se. Political parties can be hijacked by big business and other narrow political, racial and religious vested interests that look after the rich and the powerful only. This phenomenon is observed as state capture and money politics that will serve the interests of the higher and exclusive levels of society and not the rakyat.

» The election manifestos of all parties and individual candidates and their past performances must be scrutinised.

» Inflation and the cost of living have been steadily rising, while the standards of living have been falling. Transformation of the country and the economy should be more structural than marginal.

» The manifestos must clearly outline what we will do to raise efficiency and competitiveness; to reduce crime; to discourage the brain drain; to raise wages and incomes; to raise the quality of education; and to adjust more to the challenges of the digital economy.

» Choose political leaders wisely and diligently or pay a high price in terms of failure. This is why it is regretted that about 4 million Malaysians have still not registered to vote. This is a shame. We have to exercise our rights and responsibilities.

The advice against hate politics should apply to all candidates

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam
Asli Centre of Public Policy Studies