LIKE Pakistan, Malaysia is also in an election year. There they are due to be held on May 9. There are some similarities and differences.
Malaysia is one of the leading Muslim countries in the world, while Pakistan is a nuclear country. The politics of both countries has been dominated by foreign players.
In Pakistan, the opposition is divided into several small-and medium-sized parties and many individual candidates, while in Malaysia the opposition has been brought under a single party banner by the former prime minister, who was unceremoniously and suspiciously removed from his post on strange charges when he tried to stop corruption in the country. Since both countries are inflicted by heavy corruption, it is interesting to note that in both countries the judiciary is also hand-in-hand with the government.The difference is that in Pakistan the judiciary tries to propagate the feeling that they are working towards the benefit of the country, while in Malaysia the judiciary is quiet and out of the focus of the media.
In both countries, the judiciary seems useless and does not provide justice to the common man. It does not work towards stopping corruption within the government.
The media in Pakistan is much freer than it is in Malaysia. In the former, the media has been given unprecedented freedom, which is misused in many cases. In the latter, it is by law that they get their licence renewed every year. If the media is too critical of the government, their licence is either cancelled or not renewed.
Political campaigning in both countries is quite different. In Malaysia, campaigns are heavily based on flags of the political parties that are placed everywhere to show support. Politicians have get-togethers to get voters to listen to them, while in Pakistan political parties hold rallies with telephonic speeches and party-favouring songs to get voters to listen to them.
However, there is one big difference. At least, 95 per cent of the voters in Malaysia are educated, while less than 30 per cent of the voters in Pakistan are educated.
More than 30 million young voters will be getting an opportunity to vote for the first time.
SHAHRYAR BASEER Ipoh, Malaysia