Serving the people — dubious mantra of politicians and political parties

The age-old mantra of politicians and political parties serving the people for their benefit, giving the impression that they are altruistic, is dubious.

The political scene is littered with politicians who took the oath by swearing on holy books and signed letters pledging to serve the people and be honest with their electorate and yet reneged on them at the slightest opportunity to serve their own interests.

Sebatik assemblyman Hassan A. Gani Pg Amir, who left Warisan to support Gabungan Rakyat Sabah, is an example of such a politician.

There are Umno ministers in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration who, despite the resolution at the Umno general assembly to sever ties with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, choose to remain in the Cabinet spuriously for the sake of the people and the nation.

PAS is a classic example of a political party that proclaims to champion the people’s welfare and upholds Islam.

It joined the opposition pact of Pakatan Rakyat that included DAP – which the PAS leaders labelled as a party of infidels – and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s PKR. But it was short-lived because of irreconcilable ideological differences and power play.

PAS then gravitated towards Umno, a party which it had also criticised, in a new configuration of political alignment called Muafakat Nasional (MN) following the defeat of Barisan Nasional in the 2018 general election.

After the Sheraton move in 2020, PAS exploited the opportunity to be a part of the PN administration together with Umno and Bersatu. The Islamic party was willing to discard its principles to cohabit with the corrupt, the cheat and the liars, all in the name of serving the people.

But PAS’ relations with Umno deteriorated when the latter decided to sever ties with Bersatu and gave PAS an ultimatum to choose between PN or MN. PAS leaders, having tasted power and perks, made a new pact with Bersatu and urged all rational political parties and non-governmental organisations to support Tan Sri Mahyuddin Yassin’s leadership.

The PAS leaders had the audacity to tout their actions as a “sacred effort” to help the people.

It is ad nauseam to listen to these people whose main concern is to serve their own personal and political agendas and not the interest of the people.

The testimony to this – PAS has been ruling Kelantan for ages and yet Kelantan has the highest poverty rate in the country.

During its existence, PAS has not made any major impact on the well-being of the people, except for various attempts to implement draconian punitive measures in the name of Islamic jurisprudence.

At the same time, it undermines the traditional theatre heritage by banning them as being unIslamic and implemented gender segregation in public places and at official functions and entertainment outlets besides proposing to increase fines for LBGT offences.

But PAS has never proffered any economic initiatives to improve the livelihood of the people, especially those in Kelantan. This political party has been obsessed with rending apart the moderate social fabric and behavioural pattern to conform to its brand of political Islam.

When these kinds of political parties make up the government of the day, the pledges of serving the people should be taken with a pinch of salt.

In practice there are many abbreviations to the realisation of the pledges, for the priority of the ruling parties is to hold on to power at whatever cost, even at the expense of the interest of
the people.

The current situation of declaring a state of emergency, suspending Parliament and legislating to allow state and federal governments to utilise public funds without scrutiny, exemplifies the abbreviation of the pledges to serve the people.

The government’s rhetoric about helping the people through subsidies and cash handouts, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, is nothing more than discharging the function of governance. It is their bureaucratic responsibility and not something extraordinary to manage public funds for the benefit of the people.

But the media creates the impression that it is because of the government’s largess that these aids are given when in fact, they procure taxpayers monies for all these subsidies and handouts.

The people trust them to manage public funds in an honest and equitable manner.

However, there have been numerous cases of public officials helping themselves more than the public.

In the end, the mantra of servicing the people sounds hollow. Nevertheless, political parties and their politicians will continue to flaunt the mantra.

Unfortunately, the majority of the people – especially the rural populace who are most trusting and often gullible – believe these politicians who convince them of their altruistic intention, thus the need to be grateful.

Malaysia needs a mature electorate that will give its mandate to truly honest and ethical representatives who value the opportunity to serve the people and country and not the other way around.

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

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