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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cool it, for goodness sake

IT is only to be expected that the political temperature will rise prior to elections.

The run-up to the polls has the tendency to let loose dangerous passions instead of the reason and deliberation so treasured by democrats. It is often the habit of frustrated parties and their supporters, kindled by inflammatory rhetoric, to demonise their opponents till the pot boils over. This appears to be the case with regard to the reports of flags being torn down, scuffles between party partisans and local officials, and a potential candidate brandishing a gun in Terengganu. These groups appear to be captive to their parochial interests and prisoners of their blinkered ideology. Not only are their methods reprehensible, their ideal does not seem to be free and fair elections but the imposition of their own rules. Their pernicious actions indicate that they do not have a genuine democratic vocation.The situation saddens those who believe in the democratic process because these groups seem bent on proving Thomas Hobbes right in having declared that the “condition of man is a condition of war of everyone against everyone". With the inspector-general of police identifying eight states as hot spots where there may be problems, we should be concerned about the possibility that things could get out of hand in these areas. It is by no means an accident that the heat is most intense in the east coast states and Kedah. After all, the most potent, virulent and durable political passions are often stimulated by religious fervour. It is in such states that religion has taken centre stage in the election campaign and a stark choice is being crudely drawn between voting for the orangutan or the tok guru.Our political leaders must learn to hold their tongues and respect others. Despite imperfections, Malaysia’s brand of multiracial democracy has been a fruitful work in progress. One great achievement of the Malaysian people has been to preserve democracy in the face of communal pressures. Another outstanding attribute has been tolerance towards other traditions, values and ideas. The results of past elections demonstrate that the great majority of Malaysians are inclined towards democratic solutions and reject extremism and parochialism. It would be a sad day if our leaders were to ignore this expectation of a moderate, tolerant and progressive society. Political parties need to demonstrate greater maturity in words and deeds. The hope is that the coming election will prove as notable as those of the past for the large number of voters and the trouble-free passage.

source: http://www.nst.com.my/NST/index_html NST Online 2008/02/21
Note: Election has never failed to capture people's attention. As it is just around the corner, much has been written circulating the "raya". Here is a piece I came across in the NST. What's your opinion?

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