Since the pandemic started in this country, there have been countless statements by politicians on both sides that can be interpreted as a ‘stupid statement’. A clear example can be seen on how PAS is blowing up the issue of the whiskey brand Timah. But the then question becomes whether political parties and politicians actually care about such trivial matters over more serious issues?
The answer is a simple one actually, politicians are stupid or make stupid statements simply because that is what is being demanded of them by the people who voted for them. It is important to understand that politicians are merely a reflection of the citizens that politicians choose to pander to. Assuming your support base is only going to support extreme interpretations of religion, then the politician will merely become a conduit in channeling said wants and demands into the real world. Whenever any issue pops up in the country, politicians are often forced to pick sides based on what the polls are telling them rather than what is actually right or wrong.
I mean in all honestly what do people actually expect from PAS, a political party whose entire political ideology relies on using religion to gain a grasp of power. It only makes sense for them to raise issues that touch on their party’s ideals instead of fighting for issues their voting base probably wouldn’t care much about. Think of their statements as being part of the job scope when you sign up to join a political party that intends to win seats by radicalizing their supporters and keeping them ignorant.
Similarly with other political parties, take UMNO for example, do people actually expect a Malay-based political party that garners its support from Malay voters who want Malay supremacy to actually make policy changes that would take away their entire support away to other parties? Therefore the statements made by these politicians are often in line with what the voters demand them to say in public.
Another argument to support the stupidity of citizens is that if you look at the politicians in Malaysia, most of them have won multiple elections with the current term not being their first one. Even in previous terms when said politicians make ridiculous remarks, they still manage to win a seat for their respective parties. Even Najib who has been accused of allegedly misappropriating government funds will likely not lose his seat for the next several elections unless he is disqualified from running.
The lesson to be learned here is that politics is a job that requires a person to sacrifice his own personal ideals and intelligence for the sake of pandering to the people who are willing to support them. The goal therefore is not to condemn politicians for keeping up appearances for their devoted voters, but instead it should be on educating the people and equipping them with skills like critical thinking, logical assessment and fact verifications so that they are better able to demand for actual issues to be talked about as politicians will now be forced to pander to these voters to ensure they stay in power.
Kage is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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