Yesterday, our NST Leader pushed for a country-wide conversation on how the mainstream media can help make new national stories.
Today, we go a notch up to welcome a new breed of politicians who are doing politics differently. We may just be able to kiss the feeling of “another damned five years” goodbye. At least that is our hope.
Malaysia needs superhero politicians who deter diversions and divisions. Remembrance of things past is fine, but such a rear view shouldn’t look back in anger. New Malaysia needs new politics. And “new” politicians.
The New Straits Times interviewed one such yesterday. Another is an occasional Op-ed writer for the NST. Both are deputy ministers. And they happen to be DAP stalwarts. There are many such politicians from other political parties too. Read us read them. To us, political parties do not really matter. It is their politics that makes or breaks the country. What is good for Malaysia is good for the NST.
Consider Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim. He has written three books — The Audacity to Think, Being Malaysia and Harapan.
New politics is not just about writing books. Writing merely helps clarify the political purpose. Sim’s writing puts across a novel idea that Malaysians must get to know. It seems to go against the grain of prevalent thought.
The idea that Malays, Chinese and Indians must be more Malay, Chinese and Indian to be Malaysians is one worth exploring. This is new politics to us. It may turn out to be good politics too.
Our occasional Op-ed writer, Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong, is another of the new-breed politicians who harbours ideas that may ruffle feathers.
Increasing the wages of workers is one such. Writing in the NST on March 3, Chin Tong advanced an argument akin to what lateral thinker Edward de Bono is famous for: “If we can increase pay for labourers, the salary for seemingly middle-class jobs would have to increase too. Then there will be a virtuous cycle.
Otherwise, graduates would choose to become labourers. If we fail to deal with the job and pay challenge, we will have a political crisis to face with at some point.
We are already seeing signs of such strains. Unfortunately, the debate about cost of living is still dominating the minds of political leaders and the public.”
Chin Tong is relentless in getting people to see that it is not the cost of living that is making Malaysians miserable, but permanently low wages. He sent the same message at this paper’s first forum, “NST Insight”, on April 25.
But not many are happy with the idea of higher wages for people. The Malaysian Employers’ Federation is one of them. They say productivity comes before pay. They are not alone. As it is very often said, great ideas take time. Greater ideas a little longer.
Be that as it may, Malaysia’s politics needs reengineering. The new breed of young politicians may just be the ones to give us such a reframed politics.
Call it new politics. Our hope is that such politics gets done sooner rather than later.