PETALING JAYA,Feb 16: Veteran politician Daim Zainuddin has dismissed the idea of a two-party system for Malaysia as being only a pipe dream for now.
Politicians must first have the will to move beyond their preoccupation with race, he said in an email exchange with FMT.
“I don’t see a two-party system of politics existing under the current scenario simply because, like with every other problem our country is facing, there is no political will,” he said.
He was commenting on a statement by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad that a two-party system could be the best solution if one was looking for a way to stabilise Malaysian politics.
“Leaders no longer care for the people,” Daim said. “Politics used to be about doing what you could to help the people. It is now becoming a selfishly driven game for power, money and status.
“It is unprincipled. And because of that, ideas and policies have taken a back seat almost permanently. Until this is corrected, and we have leaders who put the people first, a two-party system is a pipe dream.”
Referring to reports of quarrels within the ruling Perikatan Nasional and also among partners in the opposition alliance, he said it was hard to tell if they were really inter-party quarrels or mere disagreements between their leaders.
Daim, a finance minister when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the prime minister during his first stint, said he believed Malaysians now had a negative view of political parties.
“The perception is that they are being helmed by leaders who are exceedingly selfish and more concerned with their political careers than with the welfare of the people and the country.”
He said Malaysian politics was still immature, there being little discussion on policies and on the ideologies people were subscribing to beyond race and religion.
“So governments can fall easily when MPs and assemblymen switch sides as they like, more concerned with being part of the winning team and the perks that come with it rather than with taking a principled stand,” he said.
“Just recently, there were discussions between DAP and Umno. But marriages of convenience do not benefit the rakyat. They only benefit those who seek to be in power.”