The Barisan Nasional's manifesto for the 2008 General Elections - Security, Peace and Prosperity is more of a joke than anything else. To understand why I am saying that, it would be necessary to revisit the Barisan Nasional's manifesto for 2004 and make a comparison on what has since happened and what will be happening if Barisan Nasional is voted back into power.
The BN's manifesto 2004 reads - Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang which is translated to Excellence, Glory, Distinction! Nice choice of words and very promising indeed especially when Pak Lah was coming into the helm as the potential new Prime Minister of the country. He promised to take Malaysia into greater heights with superlatives namely Excellence, Glory and Distinction. What has since happened between 2004 and 2008?
Instead of Excellence, it has been mediocre and a downward trend - especially where our standards of education are concerned. Our once proud Universiti Malaya, long held in regard as the premier university of the country, has dropped in the World's Top 200 Universities from No. 89 in 2004 to oblivion. It wasn't even in the Top 200 in the year 2007. Whilst the debate on the use of English and Bahasa Malaysia on certain subjects like Maths and Science continues, our leader - the Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin, who I believed was the ex-chief editor of the Utusan Melayu Newspaper, demonstrates to the world our atrocious standard of English - comprehension and oral.
Glory? How about the sad state of our national football team? Or hockey? The downward spiral continues and now, with no disrespect, our national football team finds it hard to even win the SEA Games gold, let alone entering the final. Or the glorious standards employed by the police and government in handling minority needs to be heard? Do we sense that the very people appointed to head the government who in turn, appointed the people to run the country are incompetent or blur? Seeing how taxpayer's monies are gloriously spent on multi-million projects which serve little purposes or worse still, with artful cracks to show despite having Certificate of Fitnesses.
Distinction? I think we must have scored as a country which espouses multi-racial harmony in one breath and at the other, issue threats like "Don't challenge us!" whilst wielding a keris in full public. Or a country which promotes multi-religious tolerance but intolerant to civil discussions on inter-faith matters. We are distinctly a country which does not practice what we (the leaders whom we appointed) preach. That, we scored a distinction.
Judging from the promises of 2004 and what has happened during the past 4 years, do we trust that the manifesto or sales pitch of Security, Peace and Prosperity would be a reality? Do we really trust that by voting BN again, the citizen's feeling of security, peace and prosperity would be real? If the crime index has worsened from 156,315 cases in 2003 to 224,298 cases in 2007 under the leadership of BN, do we expect it to be better this time around when their Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang failed miserably? As parents, do you feel safe leaving your kids unattended even for a short while? As bank depositors, do you feel safe withdrawing cash? Do you need to stay in a gated and guarded community for security and peace? Or perhaps, if you are not living in such a community, do you need to make sure you double lock your house and grille up all the windows? I thought Kuala Lumpur would be a safer place to live in but when I was in UK, I stayed in a double-storey link house which uses no grilles but just a skeleton key for the main door. No gates as well. Do you think that the country's funds could have been better managed over the last 4 years to stem the rising cost of living? Seriously, if you are living in KL, you hardly have anything left to save after paying for all expenses if you are an average office worker. Those in the lower income bracket would be worst. And those who are reach get contracts due to better "connections". Have you not heard or experienced all this?
So, why should I continue to believe the propaganda that is being served by BN again? And why should you?