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16 June 2009

Are we ready for a two-party system?

By Rohana Ariffin (The Nut Graph)

The worrying trend in Malaysia now is that we are divided into two main opposing camps. Two big unmoving blocks. Both sides seemed to endorse the view that "if you are not with us, you are against us". This is an archaic view, a carry-over from the politics of the 1960s that if a fence has two sides, you are either on this side or that side. It does not make room for compromise.

Can everyone be bought?

Before 2008, when the BN had almost absolute power, independent candidates for any elections were mainly viewed as irritants and nuisances. People thought they only tended to split the votes because almost all of them obtained negligible votes, and many lost their deposits.

But after the March 2008 elections, especially when Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partners led several state governments and became stronger, they too are now highly suspicious of independent candidates. Now, the PR spreads rumours like wildfire that independent candidates are government agents and are paid millions by the BN. The longer the rumour runs, the bigger the sum seems to get.

The rakyat loves this and laps it up as inalienable truth. Yes, for some candidates, these allegations might be true. But we cannot simply generalise. I've got into some heated arguments over this. My opponents contended that if millions were placed before me, what would I do? Would I not be bought if I saw this huge amount in front of my eyes or in my bank account?


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