Penang Gerakan Secretary Oh Tong Keong:
I had the opportunity to visit Taiwan and observe the recently concluded General Election. There are a few things that we can learn from it. The election also inspired me on a few matters.
Tsai Ing-wen is not only Taiwan’s first female president, but also the first Chinese-female president in the world. That led my thoughts on what about we having a female Prime Minister, Chief Minister or Menteri Besar. Well, we are not far behind because we have Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, who is an internationally recognized central banker by Central Banker Report Card published by Global Finance.
Taiwan is one of the democratic models for Chinese dominant countries. Of the 18 political parties participating in the recent election, New Power Party won 5 seats. The rise of young people in politics showed us that young people are eager for change. Our country should also provide more opportunities for the young people, allowing their creativity to shine in our society.
The rise of young politicians told us that we have wrongly perceived that young people are not concerned with politics. They not only care about politics, but also actively participate in politics. That is how Huang Kuo-chang from New Power Party took over as the Member of the Legislative Yuan seat from Kuomintang’s Lee Ching-hua. This election also saw Kuomintang’s 6th term-veteran Lin Yu-fang defeated by a young politician.
I believe the politics in our country will also develop towards this direction. We will provide young people the platform to perform and serve. My experience from youth NGO tells me that young people must participate in both country and society. That is because they are our future.
I also observed that Taiwanese are highly conscious on political and civic issues. Their roads remain clean during campaigning. There were no party flags or posters on the streets. Their supporters are also very disciplined. They only chant their slogans and there was no shouting or booing.
I recall, in contrast, some of the Pakatan supporters had posted false accusations on social media after losing the 2013 general elections. They made accusations such as that some counting centers in some constituencies had their lights switched off while counting of votes was in progress; change of ballot boxes of one constituency with another; or foreign workers had been allowed to vote.
In the Taiwanese election, regardless of the ruling and opposition parties, they accepted the results and congratulated their opponent as soon as they found out they have been defeated. There was no accusation of any kind.
After the excitement, Tsai’s greatest challenge is to face the international concern of how she will handle the relationship with People’s Republic of China. If she has to opt for pragmatism, then she must not repeat what was done by previous president Chen Shui-bian.
I hope that the ruling and opposition parties in Malaysia will be more matured in their political thinking. Do not indulge in character- assassination; do not go for cheap publicity. We should raise the bar to compare political views, rather than comparing for worse. Let us bring our country towards a better society.