From the Selangor Times Issue 17, 25-27 March 2011. Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered!
This week, Ask Lord Bobo tells you whether you should vote based on person, party, or policy. And what would His Supreme Eminenceness do if elected as Prime Minister of Malaysia?
Dear Supreme Being, when I vote in the next General Elections, do I vote based on person, party, or policy? How to decide? @izmil_amri, via Twitter
Firstly, you should reject any candidate that resorts to bribery or threats as a form of political persuasion, whether or not you take the money. If you did take the money for whatever reason, that sum and the circumstances under which you received it should, of course, be reported to the police because it is a criminal offence under sections 9 and 10 of the Election Offences Act 1954. The offence is punishable with two years imprisonment and a fine of between RM1,000 to RM5,000 pursuant to section 11 of the same Act. And, surprisingly, this includes promises or guarantees that certain acts would be done — this is surprising not because it is included as an offence, but because it is obviously not enforced.
Next, avoid partisanship. That means not being blindly loyal to one party or the other. There is no place for blind loyalty when it comes to political parties and politicians. Save the blind loyalty for football. Especially if you’re a Liverpool fan — you’ll need lots of that stuff. So what if you have been voting for the same party for last 50 years or more? As a voting citizen, you are not there to serve a political party’s interests. It is — or rather, should be — the other way around. A political party is there to serve your interests. Ask yourself: Has your favourite political party been performing? (You see why Liverpool fans need that blind loyalty now?) Does their political vision for our country accord with your own views? Do they even have a political vision? What is their stand on issues on issues that matter to you?
This is what it means to think deeply about your political choice — asking the right questions and searching for the answers in a political party’s performance. When you do so, it becomes clear that your consideration of whom you should vote for in the coming and future general elections is based on their stand on issues that matter to you. If, for example, you find the quality of security in the country to be unsatisfactory, and that there has been no improvement despite much moaning, groaning, grumbling, and all sorts of other complaining noises, you should consider what the other parties’ stand on that issue is. The party that most closely agrees with your view is naturally the party you should consider favourably.
It is easy to get caught up in the hoopla and spin-doctored wizardry that surrounds any elections. But don’t allow yourself to be confused by the cult of personality of any individual, or pledge blind loyalty (and your votes) to a particular party.
Consider the issues.
Consider the interests of the rakyat.
Consider your interests.
And don’t get distracted by hidden camera footage of elderly men performing impressive acts of dexterity and stamina — well, you can watch those videos if you’re into that kinda thing, but when you’re done, have a cold shower, clear your head, and then make a proper decision on where your vote is going to go.
Oh Lord Bobo, if you were “elected” as the Prime Minister of Malaysia, what would you do? @derekqiren, via Twitter
To be honest, this question doesn’t really excite the imagination of His Supreme Eminenceness. I mean, we’re talking about a wonder typewriting monkey who has sailed with Marco Polo, dined with Pachacuti in Macchu Pichu, jammed with Jeff Buckley, and bedded Marilyn Monroe. Being elected as Prime Minister of Malaysia? Meh.
But Lord Bobo is nothing if not munificent, so we will deign to partake of this question.
First, we will set up a Swiss bank account to collect all the perks that come with the job.
Second, as a favour to a close friend, we will set up a division within the “Special Police” to assist VVIPs in dealing with problematic partners from extra-marital affairs.
Third, when faced with complaints by the public about inflation and stagnant income levels, we will gently advise them to change their lifestyle, but at the same time approve multi-billion ringgit mega-projects.
Fourth, appoint an international public relations company to come up with a spirited but ambiguous slogan to mesmerise and perplex the public at the same time, so that they will not notice His Lord and Ladyship taking more overseas trips (ostensibly for work, but really for shopping) than all the former Prime Ministers combined.
Fifth, come up with a recipe for power-grabbing a State from the enemy. Main ingredient? Frogs.
Sixth, if there is any free time left and there is something in it for our relatives or friends, do something for the little people.
Err, sorry, wrong script. That was the “Road To Tunisia.” Let’s start again.
The administration of His Supreme Eminenceness will have at its core a policy of respect for the life, liberty and dignity of the individual. This is the basic foundation which gives birth to all principles of human rights — for example, equality, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion. His Lordship will enact a Human Rights Act, outlaw all discrimination on racial and religious ground and at the same time set up a Racial Reconciliation Council and an Interfaith Council.
Lord Bobo will drag this country kicking and screaming into the 21st century, from third world to first world. Recalcitrant members of society will be sent to an all expenses paid holiday retreat at LoyarBurok Assimilation Centres which will be set up throughout the nation.
From alpha to omega, you will be made one of us.