Monday, November 28, 2022

Political parties and Iban sojuouner’s political attitude

Secara Rawak

Recently, a group of political parties in Sabah and Sarawak formed a political alliance similar in nature to that of the BN and Pakatan Harapan and/or Pakatan Rakyat.

All political alliances and all political parties are formed because they want to participate in an election. The main aims of all political parties are to win the election, and in the process, to gain the political power to form the government.

But before they could do that, all political parties have to mobilise the people and to socialise them to their political cultures, values, norms and ideologies, and in Malaysia these could be an extremely daunting task indeed when the BN’s principles have been well-embedded in the minds of the people.

The Pakatan Rakyat or the Pakatan Harapan has tried to change things a bit, and they know as well as we do, that the task is monumental. They have succeeded here and there, but have yet to gain the big prize, and judging from past performance in the polls, they still have a distance to cover.

All political alliances – as the BN or the PH – are similar in nature and they all come from the society. The people of similar ideas or the people with common cause come together to form a political platform, as this is expected give extra dimensions to their political struggles.

All political alliances or all political parties – as they come from the society – have to represent certain values of the society. The people’s opinion matters a lot in the creation of new political party or a new political alliance.

The freedom of association and expression is enshrined in the federal constitution. What this meant is that anyone who is willing and can satisfy the requirements of the law can form a political party or other civil societies.

Judging from the number of political parties that we have in Sarawak, and in the country in general, it looks like the government is practising what is allowable in the constitution.

Why do people create a political party or a political alliance? Are they doing this because they basically are trying to talk about the issue of human rights in the country in a sense that the government is not treating the citizens accordingly and lawfully?

Or are they trying to talk about the civil rights in a sense that they are genuinely trying to participate in political processes to make things better for everyone?

Or are they trying to talk about the economics rights of the people that they are trying to represent? Can the new political party or the new political alliance improve the standard of living for the people in the country?

Or do the people think that there is a democratic need for them to create a new political party or a new political alliance? Is the idea behind this due to the fact that the people have lost their power to the government?

Or, is it due to the fact that the rule of law is not functioning or that both the human and civil rights have been severely violated or contravened?

If the elections have been rigged in the past, will the new system bring dignity to democracy and to the electoral process?

dap kerusi dayakOr are they talking about the liberal stance in a sense that they are giving the media better access?

Are they going to be better transparent, be more responsible and responsive to the people, and be more accountable and ethical than the present system?

How will the people benefit from being associated with them?

Yes, democracy is about popular representation – but people need to trust the motives and the goals of the new parties before they decide to buy them or to change their political allegiance.

How would the new political parties able to contribute to the wealth of the nation?

New political parties in the state not only have to fight and challenge the BN for the people’s support, but they also have to face the Pakatan Harapan, and that too is already a formidable task.

As per present political situation in Sarawak – only the DAP and the PKR can win here and there, and this victory is mainly confined to the Chinese majority areas.

The Malay-Melanau group has always supported the BN and there is no indication that the majority of them are going to change their allegiance to the other parties.

As already been stated, the main aim of forming a political party is to contest in an election, and as seen from past election experiences in the state, it is the Iban that will constitute the bulk of the candidates of any new political parties.

Why is it that the Iban are easily enticed to join any political party and are always willing to contest in an election?

Maybe it is in their nature to do so. Or, are their traditional values well suited for politics and modern democracy?

The Iban learned early about public speaking at the ‘ruai’ of the longhouse. There they learned to give and express opinions and ideas, to debate, and to have a political discourse. Attitudes and ideas on political matters are cultivated at the ‘ruai’.

Academic experts say that the Iban are egalitarian and individualistic in nature, and they don’t simply say this without adequate basis. Is this the reason why they can freely say something and freely associate? And does this attitude or behaviour augur well with the freedom of expression and association.

The Iban are everywhere politically. Are they doing this because they want to convey messages? Or, are they simply less serious politically. Or, are they simply the political sojourners of the state politics? –

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