Friday, September 12, 2008

THE BARISAN NASIONAL


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at www.chedet.com on September 12, 2008 8:15 AM

(Versi Bahasa Malaysia di akhir artikel ini)

1. There is a tendency these days to condemn the National Front as being effete and an obstacle to the modern concepts of a free democratic Government. The miserable performance of the Barisan Nasional in the March elections is attributed by foreign observers as evidence of a wind of change, as a rejection of race-based politics of the past.

2. They believe that the Malay, Chinese and Indian voters voted for a change to a more liberal regime.

3. I have explained in a previous article that the debacle suffered by the Barisan Nasional was due to the voters' disgust with the leadership of Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

4. Let us examine the course of Malaysian politics leading up to the 2008 debacle in order to appreciate what happened. For almost half a century the Alliance / Barisan Nasional Governments had had the full support of the peoples of all races. There were ups and downs but the Barisan Nasional would invariably win elections with a 2/3 majority in Parliament. Other than Kelantan, the states had always elected Barisan Nasional Governments. Sabah for a time was not with Barisan Nasional.

5. In 1999 Elections Malay support of the Barisan Nasional was eroded because of sympathy for Anwar Ibrahim. But the Chinese strongly backed the Barisan Nasional to give it its usual 2/3rd majority and opposition stalwarts like Karpal Singh and Lim Kit Siang, who had never been defeated before, lost their seats.

6. Had the trend been towards change and rejection of the Barisan Nasional the 2004 election would show this. But far from being rejected the Barisan Nasional swept through with its best ever result, getting 9/10th of the seats in Parliament, regaining Terengganu and almost capturing Kelantan.

7. All signs point to the total acceptance of the Barisan Nasional and the Governments it had formed. And why not? Had not the Barisan Nasional built this country until it has become the most developed of developing countries, conducted free elections, brought stability and unprecedented economic development and achieved a degree of racial harmony which is the model for many multiracial countries of the world.

8. It was not all smooth sailing of course. There were problems - political, economic, religious and social. But all these had not reduced support for the Barisan Nasional or affected the progress and stability of the country under BN Governments unduly.

9. Can anyone say that the Barisan Nasional had not provided good Governments in the country? Of course the opposition cannot be expected to say it. But foreign observers have all been astounded at the progress made by this tin and rubber country which had bloomed into a modern industrial country.

10. There were people who all along had criticised what they term as the lack of democracy in this country, the "controlled" press and electronic media, the ISA (Internal Security Act) and curbs on the open discussion of sensitive issues. But obviously these people were in the minority and had never been able to influence the voters into rejecting Barisan Nasional.

11. After the stunning victory of Barisan Nasional in 2004 why has it been clearly rejected in 2008? What happened between 2004 and 2008? Can it be that after almost 50 years of supporting race-based politics the voters have decided to reject it and opt for non-racial politics? Have the people in the kampong suddenly yearned for more liberalism? If so why did they give strong support to PAS, a race-religious party which is anything but liberal?

12. Maybe the ordinary Chinese are more sophisticated than the rural Malays. Maybe they have now rejected racial politics. But as far as can be made out the Chinese are upset over the economic situation. Even hawkers and small traders; the subcontractors, the retail shops owners are unhappy with the Government. They are however very cautious about criticising Dato Seri Abdullah but when pressed they admit that they wanted Abdullah out but dared not say it aloud for fear of being accused of rejecting Malay leadership. They also worry about their businesses being singled out for some unpleasant treatment like being investigated by the Inland Revenue Board.

13. So, unable to do anything else they cast their votes for the opposition. With that the Barisan Nasional, after getting the biggest number of Parliamentary seats in the history of the Alliance / Barisan Nasional went down and achieved the worst result in its history. Was this rejection of Barisan candidates due to the rejection of the Barisan Nasional coalition?

14. The votes that the opposition parties got were not due to a desire to replace the Barisan Nasional with the unstructured Pakatan Rakyat. They were protest votes. But is it protest against the Barisan Nasional party? Is it a rejection of race-based politics? I don't think so.

15. It is a protest against the poor leadership of the BN, rather than the BN itself. The people saw a BN leader who was indecisive, unable to deal with the increasing cost of living, flip-flopping, unable to stimulate the economy and above all is known for putting his family's interest above that of State. Everyone knows about the 4th Floor and the role of Khairy Jamaluddin's cronies in determining policies and deciding on the business activities of the country. People consider these arrogant young people as contributing to the poor performance of the Prime Minister.

16. The Barisan Nasional coalition is still the best political party in Malaysia. It gave due consideration to the problems of all the Malaysian parties and the races they represent. And there can be no denying that the BN had built the Malaysia that we see today.

17. It would be a pity if, as the Malay saying goes, "we burn the mosquito net because of one mosquito".

18. What needs to be done is to get rid of the mosquito but continue to use the net.

*****


BARISAN NASIONAL

1. Terdapat kecenderungan sejak kebelakangan ini untuk menolak Barisan Nasional sebagai tidak lagi bermaya dan penghalang kepada konsep Kerajaan moden yang bebas dan demokratik. Prestasi BN yang lemah pada pilihanraya umum Mac lalu dikatakan pemerhati asing sebagai bukti perubahan sikap, iaitu penolakan politik berlandaskan kaum sebagaimana yang diamalkan sekian lama.

2. Mereka percaya pengundi Melayu, Cina dan India mengundi untuk menukar kepada rejim yang lebih liberal.

3. Saya telah huraikan dalam artikel sebelum ini yang kemerosotan yang dialami Barisan Nasional disebabkan kebencian pengundi terhadap kepimpinan Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

4. Mari kita analisa haluan politik Malaysia sehingga ke prestasi buruk pada tahun 2008 supaya kita lebih faham akan apa yang sebenarnya terjadi. Selama setengah abad Kerajaan Perikatan / Barisan Nasional telah mendapat sokongan penuh rakyat berbilang kaum. Walaupun terdapat turun naik dalam sokongan tetapi Barisan Nasional tetap akan menang pilihanraya-pilihanraya umum dengan mendapat 2/3 kerusi Parlimen. Selain Kelantan, negeri-negeri biasanya memilih Kerajaan Barisan Nasional. Sabah pada satu ketika tidak bersama Barisan Nasional.

5. Pada pilihanraya umum tahun 1999 sokongan Melayu kepada Barisan Nasional menurun kerana simpati kepada Anwar Ibrahim. Tetapi kaum Cina menyokong kuat Barisan Nasional dan seperti biasa menentukan majoriti 2/3 tercapai. Demikian orang kuat pembangkang seperti Karpal Singh dan Lim Kit Siang, yang tidak pernah kalah sebelumnya, kehilangan kerusi mereka.

6. Jika terdapat angin perubahan dan penolakan terhadap Barisan Nasional, ianya sepatutnya ditunjuk dalam pilihanraya umum 2004. Tetapi sebaliknya Barisan Nasional mencapai keputusan terbaik dengan mendapat 9/10 kerusi Parlimen, merampas kembali Terengganu dan hampir menawan Kelantan.

7. Semua isyarat menunjuk kepada penerimaan secara bulat Barisan Nasional dan Kerajaan yang ianya telah tubuhkan. Dan kenapa tidak? Bukankah Barisan Nasional telah bina negara ini hingga ianya menjadi negara yang termaju dikalangan negara membangun, mengadakan pilihanraya bebas, membawa kestabilan dan kemajuan ekonomi yang tiada bandingannya dan mencapai tahap keharmonian kaum yang menjadi contoh kepada banyak negara berbilang kaum di dunia.

8. Bukanlah ianya sentiasa tenang. Terdapat juga masalah - politik, ekonomi, agama dan social. Tetapi semua ini tidakpun mengurangkan sokongan terhadap Barisan Nasional atau menganggu kemajuan dan kestabilan negara dibawah Kerajaan BN.

9. Bolehkah sesiapa berkata bahawa Barisan Nasional tidak menyediakan kerajaan yang baik untuk negara ini? Tentulah pihak pembangkang tidak akan berkata demikian. Tetapi pemerhati asing ramai yang kagum melihat kemajuan negara bijih timah dan getah ini bertukar menjadi negara industri yang moden.

10. Terdapat mereka yang sentiasa mengkritik dengan menuduh yang negara ini kurang demokratik, media cetak dan elektronik yang dikawal, ISA (Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri) dan halangan kepada perdebatan terbuka berkenaan isu-isu sensitif. Tetapi mereka ini tergolong dalam puak minoriti dan amat jelas tidak berjaya mempengaruhi pengundi untuk menolak Barisan Nasional.

11. Selepas kemenangan Barisan Nasional yang menakjubkan pada 2004 kenapakah ianya secara terang ditolak pada 2008? Apa yang terjadi di antara 2004 dan 2008? Mungkinkah selepas 50 tahun menyokong politik berlandaskan kaum pengundi memutuskan untuk menolaknya dan menyokong politik bukan perkauman? Adakah pengundi-pengundi di pedalaman dan di kampung tiba-tiba mengkehendakkan keadaan yang lebih liberal? Jika ya kenapa mereka begitu kuat menyokong PAS, parti yang berlandaskan kaum-agama yang jauh sekali liberal?

12. Mungkin orang Cina lebih berfikiran moden daripada Melayu kampung. Mungkin mereka ini sudah tolak politik perkauman. Tetapi sebanyak mana yang diketahui, orang Cina amat tidak puas hati dengan keadaan ekonomi. Penjaja dan peniaga kecil; sub-kontraktor, pemilik kedai runcit semuanya amat tidak puas hati dengan Kerajaan ini. Mereka amat berhati-hati dalam mengkritik Dato Seri Abdullah tetapi apabila ditekan mereka akui yang mereka mahu Abdullah diusir tetapi takut menyatakannya secara terbuka kerana tidak mahu dituduh menolak kepimpinan Melayu. Mereka juga risau jika perniagaan mereka diganggu seperti disiasat Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri.

13. Oleh kerana mereka tidak dapat berbuat apa-apa mereka mengundi pembangkang. Dengan itu Barisan Nasional, selepas mencapai jumlah tertinggi kerusi Parlimen dalam sejarah Perikatan / Barisan Nasional telah tersungkur dan mendapat keputusan yang paling buruk dalam sejarahnya. Adakah penolakan calon-calon Barisan Nasional ini kerana penolakan perikatan Barisan Nasional?

14. Undi yang didapati parti pembangkang bukanlah kerana kemahuan untuk mengganti Barisan Nasional dengan Pakatan Rakyat yang tidak teratur ini. Ianya adalah undi protes. Tetapi apakah protes ini terhadap parti Barisan Nasional? Apakah ianya penolakan politik berlandaskan kaum? Saya tak fikir begitu.

15. Ianya adalah protes terhadap kepimpinan lesu BN dan bukannya terhadap BN itu sendiri. Rakyat melihat pimpinan BN yang tidak berupaya membuat keputusan, tidak berupaya menangani masalah kenaikan kos sara hidup, berdolak-dalik, tidak berjaya merancakkan ekonomi dan yang terutamanya terkenal kerana meletakkan kepentingan keluarga lebih utama daripada negara. Semua orang tahu berkenaan dengan Tingkat 4 dan peranan kroni Khairy Jamaluddin di dalam menetapkan dasar-dasar dan memutuskan aktiviti-aktiviti perniagaan negara. Rakyat melihat golongan muda yang angkuh ini sebagai menyumbang kepada prestasi lemah Perdana Menteri.

16. Barisan Nasional masih lagi parti politik yang terbaik di Malaysia. Ianya memberi banyak ruang penyelesaian kepada masalah parti-parti di Malaysia dan kaum-kaum yang mereka wakili. Dan tidak dapat dinafikan yang BN telah membangunkan Malaysia sebagaimana yang kita lihat hari ini.

17. Amat sedih jika kita, seperti kata pepatah Melayu, "marahkan nyamuk, kelambu dibakar".

18. Apa yang harus dibuat ialah menghalau nyamuk tetapi kelambu terus dipakai.