Listen to the Rakyat

1. A good politician is one who has his fingers on the pulse of the nation, one who listens to the voice of the rakyat. Politicians and activists love chanting the slogan ‘the people are the boss’. But very soon after coming into power, they tend to forget who is the boss. As the civil servants are fond of saying, politicians come and go, the rakyat will be here forever.

2. There is a time for politics, and there is a time to serve. It has not gone unnoticed by the rakyat that Malaysian politicians politic 24-7 and 365 days a year. And the rakyat, those on the ground, are tired of the focus of the politicians on politicking and not on serving the rakyat.

3. Perception is important. And the perception being created is not good. The impression the rakyat have is that politicians are selfish and self-serving. And this needs to change. Politicians need to realize that they are beginning to become unpopular with the very lethargic rakyat that is fed up with the never-ending turmoil.

4. The days of a two-thirds majority, or even a simple majority in Parliament, by a single political party are over. Even with coalitions, the four or five parties scrape through with an almost hung-Parliament and razor-thin majority.

5. The “new normal” for Malaysia not only involves social distancing and self-isolation. It also determines how politics is played. Parties and politicians need to find common ground on which to work together. Once an election is over, we need to get down to the business of running the country.

6. Monopolies and hegemonies no longer exist. Today it is about power-sharing. Winners and losers need to sit down to explore what is best for the country. And for this to happen, concessions and compromises need to be explored and considered.

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