Free and fair elections?
Writer: Lord Bobo
Published: Fri, 08 Apr 2011
Seriously, will we ever have a free and fair election focusing on bread and butter issues for once? @firdaus_h via Twitter.
Free and fair elections are different from bread and butter issues. The truth is we don’t have bread and butter issues. Since we’re in Malaysia, we tend to have more rice and rendang issues. After all, how many Malaysians eat bread and butter? Even if they do eat bread, they won’t stop at just butter, but add kaya or maybe just eat it with sugar. But hey, whatever rocks your rojak.
The truth is, the rakyat for the most part are focused on those issues. Most of the rakyat are having a hard enough time just eking out a living, if not a leaving.
The problem is that the politicians are not focused on these meehoon and sambal issues. They are more interested in poorly made sex clips, sodomy, more sodomy, sexual harassment – and did we mention sex?
If the rakyat wants nasi lemak and sambal sotong issues, then they have to tell their state councillors and Members of Parliament their concerns. Tell them to push these issues for you. Don’t let them dictate what the issues are. If they don’t listen to you and address them, then vote them out when you can.
As for free and fair elections, of course we will get there. Eventually.
The possibility of that kind of elections has been given an added boost with the recent launch of the Pusat Rakyat LoyarBurok (Pusat LB) – that Rakyat centre of undiluted pure awesomeness in Bangsar Utama – which will soon launch its Lord Bobo-inspired initiative cryptically named UndiMalaysia.
The idea behind UndiMalaysia is that you, as a voter, should base your choice of candidates on their stand on local community issues. You should not give your votes away simply because someone gives you money or promises you things they wouldn’t otherwise give you when there are no elections. You should not also choose simply based on a political party.
You should vote the candidate based on their track record and what they will do to alleviate pressing issues in the local community such as, "What is your stand on local council elections?", or "Do you think domestic marital rape should be criminalised?"
Ultimately this windbreaking initiative aims to help Malaysian make an informed choice at the ballot box.
UndiMalaysia aims to educate voters on their rights so they can make an informed choice and ask meaningful questions to the politicians, instead of just relying on their ad-hoc promises made during the election period.
It also aims to educate voters on how to keep their elected representatives accountable and responsible. So UndiMalaysia hopes to inspire a new political culture where voters make responsible and rational choices at the ballot box. When this is achieved, you will find your elected representatives slowly focusing on kuey teow and cincau issues.
Finally, it’s important that you understand that UndiMalaysia is politically non-partisan, but we at Pusat LB love to party, son.
What does Lord Bobo think of affirmative action? @fareez_shah via Twitter
Man. You don’t make it easy for us, do you? We could do a three-volume book with this question because Lord Bobo is so very learned. But let’s try our best to address this.
What was the ultimate goal of an affirmative action programme in the first place? It was first implemented on a large scale in the 1960s at the height of civil rights movement in America.
First mentioned in the executive orders by President John F Kennedy and his successor, President Lyndon Johnson, it was aimed at increasing competitiveness and combating discrimination against non-whites and other minority communities, who were displaced and deprived of opportunities socially and economically because of their race, religion, origin, or the colour of their skin.
Some of the policies were aimed at empowering minority communities to compete on an equal footing.
Providing equal opportunity to them would entail allowing them access to institutions that would allow them to compete equally. Examples of this are quotas in educational institutions and subsidies in economic opportunities.
However, as with everything, there are two sides to the story. The pros for such a programme are that it tends to boost competitiveness even for those sidelined economically, due to history of events beyond their control (like slavery and war).
It also facilitates economic redistribution and helps close the income gap between the rich and the poor, or, at the very least, slows its widening.
The cons to affirmative action are that it discourages true competition and creates a perception of unfairness to those who do not have access to such policies.
Ultimately, Lord Bobo is not inherently opposed to affirmative action programmes, but understands that it can be greatly abused if not carried out honestly, meaningfully and fairly.
It cannot also last too long or indefinitely. Affirmative action is simply a temporary measure to assist a community or people who are hampered from competing on an equal footing because of their economic, social or political deprivation, which happened to them sometimes without any blame on their part.
When it is abused, then affirmative action programmes become a tool of tyranny instead of a springboard to a more equal and just society.