1. What do you think will be the most important issue that the new government must address?
The economy – a real, fair, equal distribution of wealth that also speaks to the real-life economies of the simple trader, small-time businessman who face entreprenurial racism for example. I’ve been meeting a lot of SMEs and traders of all races who speak of the hidden prejudices and challenges they face.
Also – can the economy be handled by real economists and financial institutions instead of politicians?!
Education and the environment it is in – I know of many Malaysian parents who want their children to thrive, and I also know of many Malaysian teachers who really care, but many schoolchildren are going to school and coming home with racist ideas, and not wanting to succeed. Could it be social pressure for the kids? I don’t know. I know that the education system we have now is not nurturing our children. The straight A kids are… well straight A students. What about those who aren’t so ‘clever’ but are intelligent in other ways?
Religion – it’s not going to be about Muslims vs Non-Muslims only. Muslims themselves will be divided – the number of migrants and expats coming into Malaysia who are Shiite… etc etc. Whether the new government is BN or not, they better know how to deal with this!
2. What do you think is Barisan Nasional’s greatest strength?
For all it’s worth, they have been able, and set an example of unity among three political parties all these years. I’m not saying it’s perfect though.
3. What do you think is Barisan Nasional’s greatest weakness?
The current leadership style is no longer relevant to the modern day voter who is well-read and has the Internet at his disposal. When you have been the power elite for so long…. you lose the plot but want to hang on.
4. What do you think is Pakatan Rakyat’s greatest strength?
They’re also an example of unity; they are the only Opposition coalition we have!; they are young and dynamic.
5. What do you think is Pakatan Rakyat’s greatest weakness?
I come from a background in public relations where we worked in branding and strategies. The first thing any product must be about is the message. What is your message?
DAP & PAS are very clear. PKR- mixed messages. You cannot have too many mixed messages. Max is three and itupun… PR as a coalition cannot harp on ‘Change’ only. Change what? In one sentence, in five words or so, what is the message?
6. What is your hope for Malaysia?
At this moment – please let’s get the GE done and over with!
For all my complains about Malaysia, I am also proud of my country. But our middle class mentality is not helping our country. Everyone is a stakeholder and must act as such.
Dina Zaman is writer at large at The Malaysian Insider and is a senior API (Asia Pacific Intellectual) Fellow.
New Mandala is asking Malaysians and Malaysianists worldwide their views on the two coalitions vying for power at the 13th general election in Malaysia. Their responses are published unedited.