Political Science and Politics

Yesterday, in my university, the re-elections of the Political Science Students’ Association (POSSA) was held. I was a candidate. Candidates were denied the right to present their speeches and ideas due to the fact that there were “time constraints” and that counting the votes would take too long since many people were expected to attend.

My speech is based on why there was a re-election in the first place. Since I prepared a speech but was not given to chance to speak, I present it to you here today.

If you are not able to read Malay, do not fret. What I’ve explained in Malay is presented in English, too.

* * *

Political Science and Politics
by Kim Manta-Khaira

* * *

A few weeks ago, I was not only acting as a witness but also as a candidate at this society’s election. Some of you may have heard about it, some of you may have not. I observed minor details that were overlooked and major details that were understated.

Thus, I stand here today, not as a running candidate. Not as a contending member of this society’s election. I stand here today, as a citizen of this university informing other citizens of the injustices that have happened a few weeks ago. I am here today to tell you of the unfair elections and why this society is holding a RE-election.

First and foremost, about 40 plus students attended the first election and amongst those students, 20 and plus 1 (the plus 1 which was veto-ed by the President) voted for themselves, when in true fact we have about 500 Political Science students.

If you do not view this as an injustice and have debated ideas about this, then let me carry on to the next fact. In the election form, the names of nominees were not arranged according to alphabetical order or even according to their matriculation number. It was arranged in such a manner whereby an individual of the current committee was asking voters to vote for the “Top 10” that was arranged in the form. And most certain, most, if not all, of those in the “Top 10” have been short-listed, including myself and others who are present in this very room this evening.

Thirdly and most importantly, the Election Commission did not consist of neutral individuals. They consisted of the previous main committee. If this were to happen in a state, then I ask you to picture the hands of George Bush counting the votes of President Obama. And, even if the society were to ask Presidents and Vice Presidents of other societies to be the Election Commission, which might be happening today, then I ask you to picture the hands of George Bush counting the votes for Saddam Hussein, and whether this picture is more fair that the previous one.

In addition to the main committee running as the election commission, the main committee made it an obligation to its voters and nominees to vote for 20 (and not more and not less) nominees, even if you personally felt that 3 nominees had the right to your votes. In this manner, many voters were forced to vote for people they have never spoken to before in their lives, and many nominees were lobbying to get their votes in by saying, “If you vote for me, I will vote for you”.

If you think these actions and method of running and organizing an election is fair, or if you disagree with me, then by all means, please do, for I am not going to suppress your opinions, even if they are on Facebook in the form of hate speech and physical threat, as the main committee has been familiar with producing these past few weeks towards myself and another candidate. –Although, it is to remind the audience and voters that hate speech and physical threats are against freedom of speech and thus, cannot be defined as that.

Elections are practiced in hope that fairness and justice can prevail. -That everyone can participate freely and openly, where opinions can be heard without interruption, and just as importantly, without fear.

If members of the general society or a state feel (consciously or unconsciously) as though their opinions cannot be heard without prejudice, then it is better off to do away with elections and have a dictatorial regime, or leader, because both, fundamentally, subscribe to the same if not similar tyrannical ideology.

If members of the society itself feel as though unjust elections are the only way to allow themselves to be elected, then there is something missing, if not wrong, with the system that has governed such mindset, or the mindsets that have governed such system, to think that it is normal, that it is tradition, that it is… safe and good and moral, to hold elections in this manner.

Do not take my speech as a determining force and do not let me make the decisions for you. If you disagree with me, then I urge you, by all means, ask questions for yourself and never let anyone belief that you do not have the right to voice out your opinion.

I myself have asked the following questions during the past elections:

Can a general election be unofficial to the extend of excluding its advisor(s) from witnessing the elections?

Can the election commission consist of the existing or former committee members of the society? Or even existing or former committee members of other societies, to make that more politically unfair that it already is?

If my opinions and witnesses cannot be digested, then at least, by the mere medicine of it all, it should provide some parties to seek and internalize past mistakes that can be corrected, rather than handing on the baton of old tricks that the new generation must, through peer pressure and compliance, learn and live by, for no particular reason other than, “Our seniors did it, so should, or so can we.”

We have a re-election today because some of us have spoken out during the Syura (mutual consultation) with the presence and guidance of our Head of Department on the unjust elections and we have received support from students and lecturers. And if this can happen in our Political Science society, who are suppose to lead by example in terms of running an election, then I am sure that those of you from other departments and courses, consciously know that it is happening in your society, as well. If this is happening in our universities, then rest assured that if you and I and all of us together do not speak up, then greater injustices will happen in the bigger society.

Jikalau sesebuah persatuan menggunakan dan membangkitkan persoalan dan pemahaman ideologi mereka menggunakan aliran dan cara yang tidak beretika dan bermoral, dan pada masa yang sama, tidak boleh menerima kritikan secara terbuka, dengan menggunakan perkataan yang menjatuhkan moral ahli-ahli mereka secara keras dan paksaan, persoalaannya, adakah persatuan ini persatuan yang saya sebagai seorang pelajar universiti ingin menjadi seorang ahli? Jawapannya, tidak!

Dan kerana inilah, saya pada hari ini, tidak ingin menjadi seorang calun AGM ini, tetapi sebagai seorang yang ingin memberitahu semua yang hadir pada hari ini, apakah yang telah berlaku pada AGM yang lepas.

Oleh itu, dengan pelbagai mainan politik yang telah digunakan oleh main board yang lepas, saya ingin mencadangkan untuk nama persatuan ini, ditukarkan dari “political science students’ association” kepada “politics students’ association”.

Kerana pada hari ini dan hari-hari yang sebelumnya, ia adalah perlakuan dan assosiatif yang salah dan memalukan jika perkataan “sains” terus digunakan atas nama para saintis dan pemikir yang sebelum ini telah membangunkan sains sosial di Malaysia dan di seluruh dunia.

Therefore, with the play of politics evidently played by the former main committee, I would like to urge and advice that the name of this society, to be changed from “political science students’ association” to “politics students’ association”. For as it is now, it is a shame to see the word “science” included in the honour of past scientists and thinkers of Malaysia and the rest of the world.

Do not vote for me in this election. For I am not interested to be a part of this animal farm. Do not vote for me in this election. For I am not interested to work with individuals who have tarnished my view of this students’ association, and I am thus, stepping down.

Thus, I end my speech with a quote by Niccolo Machiavelli.

“Each candidate behaved well in the hope of being judged worthy of election. However, this system was disastrous when the city had become corrupt. For then it was not the most virtuous but the most powerful who stood for election, and the weak, even if virtuous, were too frightened to run for office.”

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