DEC 26 – The highest form of patriotism is dissent.

This quote is often used to describe the situation in which we protest against something we love, even at the risks of harming ourselves, when it goes in the wrong direction. Opposition supporters attribute their dissent to their love for the country, which is a good thing. However, many of them see things differently when this quote is applied to them.

Opposition enthusiasts don’t appreciate it when you protest their wrongdoings.

They’d call you “pengkhianat, katak, turncoat, UMNO dogs etc.”

They see their leaders as saints and the other side as devils. For them, political contest is as simplistic as the choice between good and evil.

Like it or not, your favorite politicians are not saints. They make mistakes and take risks; most evidently give their words on too many populist promises.

Two Wrongs Don’t Make One Right

Take the Malay members’ defeat during DAP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) election. When criticism poured in, DAP’s hardcore supporters brushed aside those criticism and pointed at UMNO’s mono-ethnic composition. They merely attack their critic’s characters and not the argument; this is known as ad hominem. That is not a justification for DAP delegates’ racial preferences.

We already know that none of UMNO, MCA and MIC is an inclusive Malaysian party. Their racial foundation is a contradiction to their mission; this is an omen to their failures to unite Malaysians.

Perhaps, race-based parties were needed in the early 20th century, but for far too long since then, they are impediments to unity. DAP’s membership is open to all but its delegates are still more comfortable in trusting people of their own race.

Unless DAP wants to continue that pathway, DAP leaders and members need to look at themselves in the mirror instead of keeping a blind eye to their own racial preferences.

I am not saying that the Malay candidates should win due to their race, but as a nationwide party, the DAP should have enough Malays who are as capable as the others.

If this is not true, then the DAP’s goal of an inclusive Malaysian society is far-fetch, since the party itself is unable to be multiracial 47 years after its formation. And if this goes on, Pakatan Rakyat’s politics is just like Barisan Nasional; DAP will take care of non-Malays and PAS will go to the Malay areas.

Take politicians who jump ships. Opposition supporters welcome those who jump to their side. They are treated like heroes. “He realizes the truth at last! He’s enlightened and joined our struggle!” Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his men are trying hard to recruit more of such heroes in Sabah and Sarawak.

But when their own men jumped to the other side, all hell breaks loose.

“She’s a piece of crap! He betrayed the people’s trust! He has been bought!”

It’s amusing to see people’s hypocrisy in action. As I see it, people elect their YB to represent their interests which are in line with the YB’s party. If the YB decides to jump ship, (it’s your freedom to associate), he or she can do but must resign and stand as a new candidate. It doesn’t matter which direction he or she jumps to.

I recall that Karpal Singh was the only one who spoke out when the infamous Trojan horse jumped to Pakatan. It took the fall of a state government to make the others pick up the principles they abandoned when the tide favors them.

Check your facts before you shoot

A recent video and an article caught my attention. Both have been widely misinterpreted by opposition supporters who trumpeted that Malaysia is the worst-ranked country in corruption.

This video is misleading. Look at the title and the description.

Compare it to what Transparency International actually did. It only compares 30 countries, not the 200 in the world.

And 3,000 executives in 30 countries equal 100 samples per country.

That is way too small to produce conclusive findings. (A healthy sample is 1,000, a standard research criteria.) This is called Hasty Generalisation.

Check the facts before you cheer on when other people criticise our country. You hate BN all you want, but you shouldn’t let that sentiment ruin what you feel about your country. Corruption is bad but there are times we can’t let our political partisanship blinds our judgment.

Look at the “Comments” section in Malaysiakini, Malaysia Today and Malaysian Insider.

They have total disdain for the establishment and everything associated with the establishment is wrong. They have this utopian idea that by changing the government and leave it to the politicians, things will be better.

These people need to take a look at Egypt, Libya and Japan, which experienced a change in government after a long period.

Most people don’t realise that revolution is the easy part. What happens after the revolution is the hardest part. Political gridlock and stagnancy are commonplace as partners are unable to decide what to do.

Aftermath

The opposition supporters are too keen to worship their party and condemn all others who criticize or disagree with them.

Opposition parties have common goals and common enemies, but that doesn’t nullify that the fact that they must sort out their differences and agree on common policies. So far, Pakatan’s Common Policy Platform and the Orange Book are rhetorical promises such as the aforementioned populist actions and eradication of corruption.

There are no specifics and detailed planning on how to achieve all their promises. Also, notice that DAP and PAS are two ends of a political spectrum: a form of governance between secularism and theocracy.

How secular or how Islamic will we be under a Pakatan federal government?

We deserve to know, and we should care enough to ask tough questions. Instead of happily echoing the voices of those in the bandwagon, we must ask: Where are the horses taking us to?

I once asked a few people about Raja Petra. I asked them what they think about his writings and ideals.

“He is unpredictable,” they said.

“You never know what he is going to say; suddenly he’d be attacking the party he supports. I think he is being used by BN now.” I am disappointed.

They just want to hear what they want to hear.

They just want RPK to always attack BN. If he criticises the opposition, he is unpredictable and he is a puppet.

Folks, the highest form of patriotism is dissent.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.