What I realise in Malaysian democracy is that criticising politics doesn’t come with importantly-needed knowledge that can make one’s political views valid and thoughtful for the public’s references.
Even in politics, criticising is an act that never defines one’s credibility or experience in things he criticises.
Instead, in many countries that practise parliamentary democracy like us, criticising, especially when it’s made online, has become a shortcut of ‘showing off’ one’s political sensitiveness and cognisance, but Google is what he first needs only to find out, “How many parliamentarians in the House of Representatives?”
There are many political analyst wannabes coexist with politicians’ worshippers in the social media, but do they really know that a state assemblyman can’t be made federal minister unless he becomes a member of one of the Houses of Parliament?
When voting at 18 was passed as a law in both Houses of Parliament, I was not confident about letting 18-year-old first time voters when there’s no visible and encouraging way of them being educated on politics and parliamentary democracy.
How can we expect the new segment of first-time voters to be doing a wise vote in the future general elections when physical look and prominence will be the only judgement they set to elect an electoral candidate?
A mature democracy should be built with substantial knowledge of how the parliamentary democracy actually functions.
After the Budget 2021 was first read by the banker-turns-minister last November, hundreds of unpleasant comments thrown by netizens who thought that only matters said in the budget speech will be made as a final budget.
Sadly speaking, many of them had no idea that the budget, like other bills tabled in the Parliament, would have a committee stage that precisely touches every single element allocated in each ministry’s budget before the third reading.
Out of 10 ‘political critics’ exist on Twitter, how many of them really know that any bill passed in the Lower House of Parliament must then be brought to the Senate House, whose members are not electorally elected, before it officially becomes a federal law after His Majesty assents to it?
Since the historical electoral defeat of the grand political coalition called “BN”, politics has become the thing of the day when Facebook and Twitter have been a unwired microphone for many ‘political analysts’ to sing their political views and condemnations that are mainly based on assumptions and rumours they are spooned.
We can’t deny that in democracy, we, regardless of what we do for a living, can freely voice opinions on politics, but it doesn’t mean that we can blindly speculate, assume and gossip things we are unsure about.
We need to put a halt to gauging politics with just baseless hateful sentiments against certain politicians, especially the oldies.
In pitching a greater democracy ahead, knowledge is what we seriously need for us to become a knowledgeable democrat who can view politics with smart thoughts in deciding the next chapters of the national leadership.
Democracy isn’t just about casting a vote, but it should be made a way of embracing ourselves with relevant idealisms and intellectual bravery in strengthening the power of the people.
Amerul Azry Abdul Aziz is an independent writer who now views politics as something that can be researched.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of Astro AWANI.