I REFER to A Jalil Hamid’s article “You must be likeable, too” (New Sunday Times, July 9).
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told Johor Umno members last Friday that Barisan Nasional candidates in the 14th General Election (GE14) must be both “winnable and likeable”.
This is a strong message to BN leaders, especially as Umno is holding its divisional delegates’ meetings from July 12 to Aug 26. I agree that if the candidates are winnable, they will also most probably be “likeable”.
After all, which voter wants to support an unlikeable candidate unless he is under some kind of financial or psychological duress?
However, a likeable candidate may not qualify as a winnable candidate. Otherwise, even a clown can qualify as a candidate. How funny would that be?
Hence, a winnable candidate must clearly be much more than just a likeable candidate to qualify as a BN GE candidate, or for that matter, any election candidate. He must be made of sterner stuff, or we will suffer from some poor leaders.
What, then, is the formula for selecting winnable GE candidates? The criteria could or should be as follows:
HONESTY and morality are prerequisites, especially at this time of rising corruption and high public expenditure wastage;
INTELLIGENCE is essential. We do not want dumb candidates who are passive in Parliament as they will have no confidence in debating critical policies;
CAPABILITY is vital as we cannot afford to have elected representatives with low and poor academic qualifications. How would they be able to cope with growing economic knowledge, the international economic challenges and security threats?
A MALAYSIAN outlook is vital for our survival. The foundations of our nation were laid by our great founding fathers on the basis of national unity. Hence, political leaders and extremists who dangerously play race and religious cards and indulge in bigotry should be rejected as GE candidates or be thrown out by voters ; and,
SUSTAINABLE development, as proposed by the United Nations, should be the hallmarks and sacred commitments and aspirations of all GE candidates, from all political fields.
If our elected representatives are not prepared to push hard for the fulfilment of UN’s 17 Sustainable Goals on a consistent basis, they are not worthy of our support.
Malaysian voters have become more mature and sophisticated. They will not vote for a likeable candidate or even a winsome fellow. Today’s voters want to see GE candidates who are honest, capable and willing to sacrifice to serve all Malaysians, regardless of race and religion.
Candidates who strive to enable Malaysians to achieve their full potential will be winnable candidates. Let’s hope our political leaders send the right message to upcoming GE candidates. The Malaysian people will prevail, God willing.
Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam is the Chairman, for Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies