The Nation, the Party or the Individual - Who Reigns?

Posted by M ws On Sunday, April 21, 2013 2 comments
I am still very surprised at the turn of events on nomination day. At a time when unity is needed to attain the mission and vision of a better Malaysia, it is certainly very worrying to see the emergence of independent candidates from both sides of the divide. In 2008, there were 115 candidates but this time round, 270 independent candidates filed their papers yesterday. That is an increase of 134%!

To date, these include:

1. Jenice Lee (DAP) incumbent Teratai state assemblyman who was sacked by the DAP disciplinary board for fielding as an independent. She has been given 14 days to make an appeal.

2. MP Sim Tong Him, who is contesting for the parliamentary seat in Kota Melaka under the DAP banner, was sacked for fielding himself as an independent in the Kota Laksamana state seat.

3. Former Agriculture and Agro-based Industries deputy minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shariff Omar has been sacked from UMNO for contesting as an independent in the Tasek Gelugor parliamentary seat in Penang.  He is also contesting as a Pakatan-friendly independent in Tasek Gelugor and also the Sungai Dua state seat.

4.Fadzil Hanafi who submitted his nomination papers to stand as an independent candidate for the Alor Mengkudu state seat in Kedah has been sacked by Umno for breaching party discipline.

5. Barisan Nasional candidate for the Pasir Mas parliamentary seat Che Johan Che Pa did not to submit his nomination papers in Kelantan, paving way for a straight fight between Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali and Nik Aziz's son, Nik Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz.

6.Tapah PKR chief Ridzuan Bani has entered the race as an independent candidate. He said his supporters and party members – not him – were unhappy with the leadership’s chosen candidate, K. Vasantha Kumar.

7. Umno Wanita deputy chairman Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim also joined the fray as an independent. She has since announced she was resigning from Umno.

8. There will be a six-cornered fight for the Machang Bubuk state seat in Penang between

  • Gerakan's Tan Lok Heah
  • PKR Lee Khai Loon
  • Kita “Datuk” Dr Vicky Vikneswaran
  • Datuk Tan Hock Leong
  • Wan Balkis Wan Abdullah
  • Ooi Suan Hoe.
According to Dr Bridget Welsh, 39.2 percent of the parliamentary seats and 35.8 percent of the state seats have an independent or smaller party from outside of the two coalitions running. This pattern is not confined to any state or area but is nationwide. To illustrate, here's a compilation courtesy of Malayiakini:

Please CLICK HERE to read Dr Bridget's analytical piece on the current trends.

Hence, it is clear that the following patterns have emerged:

1. As individuals break out to stand independently, more dirty linen is being washed publicly.

2. The selection process/criteria in certain cases seem suspect.

3. Some leaders are not listening to members and would rather think of the collective good of the party than that of individual members.

4. Pandora's box has been opened as such developments have revealed how in some cases, there is alleged party mismanagement, weak party discipline as evidenced by the reluctance to abide by decisions of the leadership concerned, resentment stemming from unresolved internal party-infighting.

5. For sure, it raises the question of the quality and calibre of party leadership, members and also candidates, not forgetting their perspectives and priorities.

With such an uproar across the board, it is timely that leaders of all parties reveal their selection criteria for citizens to have confidence in the candidates offered. There has to be obedience, discipline, respect and open communication so that conflicts can be resolved privately, not publicly.

Naturally, it is expected that each party would have its own internal rules and procedures.Ideally, candidates are recommended by leaders/members Nomination is the legal process by which election authorities and then the selection committee/board would consider, approve/reject the candidacy application and submit the names/papers on nomination day.

The opportunity to represent a party in an election is not a birthright or membership right but is an honour bestowed by the party's leadership after the relevant procedures have been followed.

Obviously, we cannot have every member standing for election so it is imperative that there are open processes to assess a candidate's experience, character, service record, talent, strengths and weaknesses, suitability, grass root support etc over a period of time to ascertain that only the best are selected.

Of course there is the other consideration of the state and then national levels for both state and parliamentary seats.

To me, the most important aspect for an incumbent would be his/her service/track record that the relevant quarters can use as a base for assessment, not forgetting the candidate's eligibility whereby they must consider's character and to check if there are any questionable issues of ethics, honesty etc.

Through it all, conflict resolution must be undertaken with respect to observe and maintain party unity. There must be ethical rules and regulations put in place and also avenues for open debate with regards to the final selection. Assuming that these are in place in all parties, why did these individuals choose to go solo?

Is this a healthy trend for the nation?

Where does one draw the balance? Promoting the nation, the party or the self?

At the same time, we do see unhealthy patterns and tension surfacing between PKR and PAS allies over a few seats.

1. Sungei Acheh state seat
a. Penang PAS selected its Youth chief Mohd Yusni Mat Piah to stand for the Sungei Acheh seat. PAS claimed it was originally a PAS seat that was “loaned” to PKR in the 2008 polls.
b. PKR is fielding Badrul Hisham Shaharin or Chegu Bard for the Sungai Acheh state seat despite
c. The incumbent assemblyman Datuk Mahmud Zakaria from Barisan.

Why must selfishness rear its ugly head here? Surely the coalition would have discussed seat allocation years ago! Then why this three-way fight when it should ideally be only two?

2. Labuan
a. PKR is fielding Tan Sri Ibrahim Menudin
b. PAS candidate is Hadnan Mohamad
c. Umno fresh face candidate here is  Rosman Isli.

3. Terengganu
PAS is fielding three candidates in state seats which were originally meant to be a straight fight between ally PKR and Barisan.
a. Kota Putera
PAS - Adam Mat Said
PKR - Mohamad Abdul Ghani Ibrahim
BN - Mohd Mahdi Musa

b. Bukit Besi
PAS - Roslan Ismail
PKR - Mohd Shamsul Mat Amin
BN -Roslee Daud.

c. Seberang Pakir state seat
PAS - Zakaria Dagang
BN - incumbent Datuk Ahmad Razif Abdul Razak
PKR -  Ahmad Nazri Mohd Yusof.

All these seats were previously won by Barisan candidates.

While many activists and politically conscious Malaysians are campaigning rigourously with the slogans, taglines via social media and paraphernalia for a better nation, at the end of the day, which is the most important factor in the equation - the nation (rakyat), the party or the individual? Have they forgotten that it is the rakyat who is the boss?

Is this political maturity and intelligent strategy at its best or political lunacy? Whither Malaysia if budding leaders worship selfishness?


P.S. Please accept my deepest apologies for any error in this post. I found a website that has over 2 million ebooks and have been reading endlessly through the day and night in a bid to read as much as I can before I 'depart'. As such, my vision is quite blur now.

2 comments to The Nation, the Party or the Individual - Who Reigns?

  1. says:

    UP41 Sponsoring an independent candidate to dilute the votes for opponents is an old but still effective tactic.

    Of course some may be sincere but I guess majority would be from the "sponsorship " scheme.

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Thanks, UP41. Ultimately, who pays for the sponsorship? Sighs...And who suffers...

    Take care...

    Have a nice day!

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