Tuesday 4 September 2012

‘Why don’t you stand, Ambiga?’

Two groups are calling for the Bersih co-chairperson to contest in the next general election, saying she can raise the standard of Parliament.

PETALING JAYA: She is one of the most adored and abhorred personalities, depending on political vantage points. But even her detractors possess a grudging respect for her courage.
In a nation which struggles with the bane of racial polarisation, she had managed to bridge the divide and her appeal transcended colour and creed.
And despite her poor grasp of the Tamil language, she had also become the sweetheart of the Indian community of all classes, causing concern for the lovelorn MIC.
But S Ambiga refuses to enter the political ring.
And after the 13th general election, the mother of two said she would relinquish her post in Bersih as well in order to allow the next echelon to spearhead the electoral watchdog.
The former Bar Council president said she would focus on other issues as well as concentrate on her legal practice.
Politics is a noble pursuit
However, the Malaysian Indian Business Association (Miba) was adamant that Ambiga should not fade into oblivion or reduce her role.
According to its president, S Sivakumar, she should contest in the next general election as an independent candidate.
Ambiga, he added, would make an excellent politician and leader as well as serve as an inspiration to others to join in the fight at the frontline.
Commenting on her recent interview with FMT, in which Ambiga had urged voters to reject incompetent candidates, he asked: “Why doesn’t she stand?”
“Instead of telling us ‘don’t vote for this and that candidate’ and stress on the importance of competent candidates, she should stand and Malaysians of all races will vote for her.
“Politics is a noble pursuit but unfortunately it lacks noble people because these people don’t want to get involved. So the door is left open to unscrupulous politicians,” he said.
Sivakumar pointed out that Bersih and other civil society groups comprised numerous respected individuals who could raise the standard of Parliament if elected into the August House.
The current political climate, he said, made it possible to bring in more independent voices to raise the bar in Parliament.
“The civil society should capitalise on this call for change, where the political landscape is gravitating away from the traditional practice of party politics.
“The civil society should look into fielding distinguished Malaysians with a track record of serving the nation, people who are non-partisan,” he added.
He said since these individuals were not members of any political parties, they would receive the support of those who do not subscribe to both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.
Furthermore, he added, their views would be constructive for good governance.
No need to campaign
Meanwhile, the coalition of NGOs WargaAman concurred with Miba, stressing that it was time for the “Malaysian Iron Lady” to flex her political muscle.
Its secretary-general S Barathidasan said the country needed people like Ambiga in Parliament to usher in effective changes and to voice out for the people.
“She has proven herself many times to be a leader with nerves of steel when she was heading the Malaysian Bar as well as being the co-chairperson of Bersih,” he added.
Barathidasan also pointed out that Ambiga would not even need to hit the campaign trail should she decide to contest.
“Just make the announcement and put up her poster. She will win,” he said

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