Ahad, Mac 18, 2012


Politician Idol

image Do you have what it takes to lead Malaysia? TI-Malaysia and young Malaysians throw a challenge to our prospective election candidates.

IMAGINE getting treatment from a doctor who flunked out of medical school. Or travelling on an airplane flown by a pilot who has not earned his wings or putting your life savings into the hands of a financial planner with money problems.

Heck, just try to imagine having dinner prepared by a cook who does not believe in personal hygiene!

Everyone is particular about who they trust on matters concerning their well-being. Some things are just not acceptable, or even conceivable. When it comes to choosing who should represent us in Parliament or at the State Assembly, however, we often let ability and ethical values take a backseat.

Still, what makes a good leader is a human behaviour mystery that social scientists, psychologists and most definitely election campaign managers and the politician wannabes have been, and are still, cracking their heads to understand and solve.

To Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) president Datuk Paul Low, the answer is simple.

  • The candidate must be one with good conscience, knows that he or she is there to serve the country well and able to make good laws, he stresses.
  • Most importantly, he adds, it must be somebody who upholds integrity. Political affiliation is secondary.

Hardly earth-shaking theories, perhaps, but Low feels strongly that a majority of Malaysians still do not demand enough of their political leaders, especially at the polls.

Hence, in a bid to raise public awareness on how to choose wisely and promote a better political culture TI-M yesterday launched the Election Integrity Pledge. (see page 27)

Role model: Like their Myanmarese peers, young Malaysians want a political leader they can look up to.

It is a voluntary social contract where candidates who will be standing in the upcoming General Election pledge their commitment to ethical standards in public life.

“We need to hold all the elected representatives both at the state and parliamentary level accountable for good governance and integrity, individually as well as collectively.

“People, especially the young, must say I can't be bought' and uphold these principles,” he reiterates.

Low would be glad to know that many young people are already demanding more of their political leaders. As they told Sunday Star, integrity and capability to steer the country to a better future will be the main qualities they look for when they make their decision at the ballot box.

Young but not clueless

Woon: I look for a politician who shares the same principles as me.

Commitment to serve the people is a given, say the young.

The ideal politician is someone who has no reason to go into politics except to serve the people, lawyer Joachim Leong who is in his late 20s describes.

Ideally, it should be someone who has already made money outside of politics, Leong adds.

Ultimately, the candidate has to be accountable and principled. “If they make a mistake, they need to own up and make amends. In Malaysia, we have seen a great reluctance to do so and even when we do, too little too late,” he notes.

Entertainer and budding entrepreneur, Razif Hashim, 29, agrees, stressing that a leader needs to be able to handle himself or herself well under pressure.

“He or she also needs to be sensitive to the rakyat's needs while daring to try new things and advocate it to the end,” he asserts.

Like many young people who want to see Malaysia become a key global player, Razif believes strongly that a political leader should also be someone visionary and innovative.

“He or she must be able to see the trends of what needs to be done in the country and work towards what is lacking and help local businesses build for international excellence. He must be driven to make the economic abundance but in a way through dedicating policies which will make businesses successful,” says the 8TV's Best in the Worldpresenter.

Razif: It would be nice to see someone capable of public speaking.

And in this day and age, personality is key for public figures.

“Personality wise it would be nice to see someone capable of public speaking and definitely charismatic at the helm,” Razif quips, giving his vote to Khairy Jamaluddin as the “closest candidate with all these qualities” in his generation today.

For final year law student Karl Rafiq Nadzarin, 23, ability to inspire is as important as the ability to effectively carry out his duties as a leader, a guardian and a thinker.

“The ideal leader is someone who is highly intelligent, principled, open-minded, has a good sense of justice and fairness, willing to listen, able to accept criticism and courageous enough to go against the grain to do what is right rather than what will be liked,” he opines.

This is also of utmost importance to graduate student Meng Yoe Tan, 29, from Monash Universiti Malaysia.

As he puts it: “The ideal politician is one who demonstrates integrity; is teachable, humble, and willing to admit his or her mistakes and strives to improve the quality of his/her work and the lives of others. If this sounds too idealistic, doesn't that mean we have strayed from it too much for it to become merely an ideal?”

It is something that 30-something human rights activist Abby de Vries has been pondering on.

Smita: She or he should be adept at policymaking and a good communicator.

“I sometimes feel that my ideal and probably what is ideal in the real world' of politics may not be the same thing,” she muses.

“In my world, the ideal politician would have integrity, humility, respect for diversity and equality, clearly stated values and ideologies and the courage to stick to these even if they are politically unpopular, and is willing to uphold and express these values not just in policy making, but in his or her daily life,” she says.

Her politician idol is someone who would not only truly value democracy but also champion it.

“The ideal politician should, one would assume, strive to put these ideals into practice in his or her daily life no matter how difficult it may be and, more importantly, know when to step down!” she notes.

Former student leader Woon King Chai, 23, has a personal criterion.

While integrity and humility are the main qualities he would look for in a politician, he believes strongly that they need to lead by example.

“Personally, I look for a politician who shares the same principles and expectations of a good society as me, especially one who contributes actively to the needs and development of the community. I look for honesty, integrity, humility and leadership by example as qualities in an ideal politician,” shares Woon who is currently a Special Officer to the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports.

Tan: The ideal politician is one who is willing to admit his or her mistakes.

A good grasp of the law is a priority for conservationist Sharyn Lisa Shufiyan, 26.

“Ideally, (it is) someone who is well-versed with the law and deposits the utmost respect towards our laws and the Constitution,” she says.

She strongly believes that the ideal politician for Malaysia is someone who is exposed to and supports liberal ideals, and is balanced, secular and forward-thinking.

Crucially, he or she needs to be independent in thought.

“There are a lot of intelligent politicians but I think what limits them is that they don't often stick by their own opinions or standpoint but are easily pressured by the overall party or by a minority group,” Sharyn stresses.

The Star Ipad columnist believes that selflessness is another important quality.

There are a lot of intelligent politicians but I think what limits them is that they don’t often stick by their own opinions or standpoint. - Sharyn Lisa Shufiyan

“Politicians need to understand that they act on the interest of the larger population or citizen and not just on their own whims and fancies. They need to have the understanding that power is not absolute and they need to let go of power when the time comes. I think we have to move beyond the cult of persona and really look at the qualities of a person before we choose to support him,” she says.

As Smita Elena Sharma, 26, puts it, the ideal politician is someone who is upright, a person of integrity, someone who believes in public service and who is passionate about helping to create a just, equal, sustainable, peaceful, and flourishing country.

Says Smita: “She or he should be adept at policymaking, hardworking, conscientious, and a good communicator. That last bit is important because people like me should know what our elected representatives are up to. They need to keep us updated and as far as possible let us give feedback on decisions. Communication is a key part of accountability.”


Calling for more political integrity

For more information on the Election Integrity Pledge, go to:http:/timalaysia-electionpledge.org.my

32 ulasan:

  1. Make sure the politicians we appointed have what it takes to lead the state, they must remember that their duty is to serve the people and also have integrity.

  2. Our leaders must always put the people first before anything else. Hope that we can vote in the best candidate there is during the next general election.

    1. All parties should appoint the best candidate they have to represent the party during the next GE, one with the capabilities and the qualities of a leader, who is sincere in serving the people.

    2. Penilaian calon amat penting untuk memastikan calon pemimpin ini betul-betul berusaha dan sanggup memperjuangkan yang terbaik untuk rakyat.

    3. Calon yang bertanding haruslah calon yang berhati rakyat dan tidak penting diri sendiri.

    4. The people know who they want to lead the country.

  3. The parties shall appoint the best candidate while the people will chose who they think embodies the quality of a good leader, hopefully the next GE will bring better transformations.

  4. It is important young voters to choose wisely in the next general election, the country needs a proven administration to deal with domestic, regional and global issues. Don't give the country away to the wrong hands because you will be in trouble. Govt had worked through many domestic, regional and global issues and these translated into social and economic development for the country.

  5. The M'sian have to vote wisely in 13th GE.

  6. Leaders that are corrupted will never be a good leader.

    1. Its important to vote wisely when election comes. THe future of Malaysia is in our hands.

    2. He should be black listed.

    3. Pemimpin yang suka mengambil kesempatan tidak harus percayai lagi.

  7. The leader that often put the people in priority will always the best choice.

    1. Agree. How many of them really can do such and put the people as priority?

  8. Rakyat harus pandai menilai dan sanggup membuat perubahan demi masa depan generasi yang akan datang.

    1. Perubahan ke arah yang lebih baik.

    2. setuju, rakyat harus bijak menilai apa yang baik untuk mereka.

  9. We need an ideal Party.

    1. pilihlah parti yang mampu melaksanakan pembangunan.

  10. PRU13 akan membuktikan semuanya nanti.

    1. dalam PRU nnti kita akan tau mana yang menjadi idol rakyat.

    2. pru akan datang akan menentukan siapa yang akan menjadi pilihan rakyat.

  11. The young generation have said it. What would be the leaders' respond for this?

  12. Mudah untuk nyatakan kriteria2 yang seharusnya ada dalam diri seseorang pemimpin itu namun manusia ini tidaklah sempurna. Tentu ada kekurangannya juga. Namun itu bukanlah penghalang untuk mendapatkan pemimpin yang ideal. Mentaliti, sikap dan imej yang positif memungkinkan pemimpin itu dipilih.

  13. Pemimpin yang sentiasa mendengar suara rakyat dan ikhlas dalam menjalankan tugas akan sentiasa menjadi idol rakyat.

    1. pemimpin yang dekat dengan rakyat pasti diterima baik oleh rakyat.

  14. Pemimpin harus memainkanperanan dan menjadi teladan kepada masyarakat.

  15. Go down and understand what the people need. A lot of them just do thing by saying only.

  16. Buatlah perubahan yang lebih baik untuk masa depan anak muda yang akan datang. Gagal membuat demikian, begini lah rupa kami di masa akan datang juga.

  17. yang penting, setiap pemimpin haruslah menjalankan tugas kepada rakyat dengan sebaiknya.

  18. everyone knows what kind of politician we need.. even you can search it by google to know about what every leaders should have that will make he/she qualified to be a leader..