The registration and announcement of candidates for the 13th General Election in Malaysia on 20th April, saw a number of new development in the democratic process in this country.Healthy or not is a matter for the political parties involved to consider. What Malaysians in general can see is that political parties and the coalitions they formed to wrestle for power in the GE cannot underestimate the will of individual interests and conviction. Individual Malaysians are now courageous enough to voice their disagreement or discontentment with party leadership when the leadership takes things into his own hand. In any country it is such deviants who can remind a powerful leader that not everyone will bow down to his or her dictate.Or afraid of his fury.
No I'm not against the formation of political parties, the formation of coalitions and amalgamation of political power. Nor am I against the enforcement of some strict discipline in the parties or coalitions. I'm just saying that total agreement and support of what the party supremo says can lead to a kind of dictatorship, however mild and covert. We need to have people who can challenge the decisions and action of the supremo or supremos, to remind him or them that the spirit of democracy is still alive. Democracy will ultimately die under the hand of an adulated and sanctified leader. Many sacrificial lambs in the history of mankind caused a society to reexamine itself and make radical changes changes.
In the recent nomination day for GE13th, we see number of party bigwigs or wannabes abandoning the party to become independent candidates. We see 'overlapping candidatures" where the candidates of two parties under one coalition will contest the election under separate flags.Is this an indication of disagreement and conflict between the bosses of the two parties in the coalition and that the coalition is breaking up? Not necessarily. As a leader of one party explained, it was because of a late submission of names.Rather than allow a seat to go uncontested, a name by the concerned party is submitted, But at the last minute the other party also named another candidate representing that party. Wasn't there a dateline for the naming of candidates in that coalition party? We don't know but even if there is, last minute entrants in an election contest is not unknown.
But in the other development, a party bigwig is not agreeable to the candidate chosen by the party or coalition supremo. Hence the party bigwig chose to contest on his or her own as an independent. A number of such cases appeared forcing the coalition supremo to issue an ultimatum that party members contesting the election as an independent will be sacked from the party. Wow this is like being fired from an assured job while the outcome of an election is not known as yet. Couldn't this be considered as a double assurance for the party. If it's candidate wins, well and good. If the independent candidate wins, the party still wins. It only shows that the candidate picked up by the party is not that popular as construed by the supremo and his close buddies. In fact this is a move against within party hegemony. Afterall,within the party it's always possible for jealousy to develop against a popular figure who does not always kowtow to the wishes of the supremo.
In fact this latter issue is the worst that can befall a party or coalition party which had been in power over a long period of time. The supremo becomes almost a demigod and no one dares to go against his will. No one dares criticize him. Cronism and within party hegemony develop leading to the spluttering or disintegration of the party, It is the party member who dares to stand up for his or her own conviction and sense of righteousness, at the risk of being kicked out, who can transform the party and bring to to its senses - that it's just a political party which can be thrown out of power by the electorate if the leadership does not identify with the needs and prior concern of the people in general, and not just those of the party bigwigs who make him a supremo.
A true leader will not fear a candidate who wants to contest the election on his or her own capacity, even if expelled from the party. Afterall such a person can create his or her own party of sypathizers and supporters. Such people are the real kingpins of democracy.