Malaysia must be rid of old guard and unhealthy political culture

For the country to move forward, there is a need for a paradigm shift in its political representation, thoughts and action by unshackling the political culture of the past emplaced and enforced by the current ageing politicians who are still scrambling for power.

This gerontological group of politicians who have seen better days, should exit gracefully instead of tenaciously clinging to power as they have become more of a liability to the well-being of the country and the people.

Among them is a former two-time prime minister waiting to make a comeback.

Granted that he has made immense contributions towards the development of the country as well as quite a few debacles, it is time that he graciously bows out to allow the younger generation the leeway in running the nation.

Likewise, there is a former prime minister, with a legal conviction still manoeuvering to regain political power to helm the government.

Despite perpetrating the greatest heist in the country’s history, he still roams free making speeches in Parliament and colluding with his ilk to undermine the current administration.

Then, there is a would-be prime minister lurking in the wings, sludging through the political quagmire to become No. 1.

This charismatic but unfortunate politician has been denied the coveted position by friends and foes who capitalised on his weaknesses to the extent of getting him incarcerated.

Even his former mentor has reneged on his promise to vacate the premiership in his favour. His political career has been a rollercoaster experience. But he is a fighter and will go after the coveted position.

Across the sea in the land below the wind, a former chief minister failed in his attempt to wrest the state government through party-hopping.

At the same time, the recently deposed chief minister is also desperately trying to regain his former position by way of shifting alliance.

All of these aged leaders are still trying to remain in power by fair or foul means of enticing Members of Parliament to turn renegade, which most of them will do without any compunction as long as they are handsomely compensated.

There is a dire need to put to pasture the old guard, the corrupt and the self-serving politicians, replacing them with youthful ethically and morally upright professionals.

What is more important is to replace the old political culture that thrives on feudalistic patronage, unbridled loyalty through the offerings of positions and monies and a culture of conformity in which differences of opinion are not tolerated.

If one does not toe the line, irrespective of its ethical or moral implications, one has either to ship out or be excommunicated.

What is happening now in almost all political parties clearly demonstrates this political culture of conformity and coercion.

All political parties, especially the Malay ones, are shackled with this patronage mentality and feudalistic tendencies that deify their leaders even when they have been proven to commit malfeasance and misfeasance.

This has enabled the ageing and irrelevant politicians to dictate terms and linger in the political arena.

Thus far, the old guard have been successful in perpetuating this mental attitude through fear syndrome of being threatened of their rights by playing the 3R card of race, religion and loyalty, which they enforced since independence.

Even the 14th general election which dethroned the old regime and promised a new Malaysia, failed to live up to its aspirations as the old guard in a different guise were still at the helm and continued with the old political culture.

It will take a lot of effort and time to wean off this political culture, which has become embedded in the psyche of political parties in Malaysia.

To remedy the situation, the electorate must assume their responsibility of determining the fate of this country by weeding out the aging, the corrupt, the ailing and the religiously bigoted politicians and replacing them with young upright professionals.

Again, there is no guarantee that the old virulent virus of self-serving political culture will not resurface and infect them.

But every effort must be taken to vaccinate them with the ethical and moral sentiments to cause positive mutation of their political DNA.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13

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