By TAY TIAN YAN
Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily
The rivalry between the BN and Pakatan, ideally speaking, should be one that makes comparisons between their policies.
Ideologies and emotions be put aside, let the opposing camps show their real worths.
The Education Blueprint recently launched by the BN government is one that impresses on the surface, but to put the proposals into effective implementation remains a much bigger challenge for the ruling coalition.
The future Malaysian education must be able to set itself free from the bondage of ethnic ideologies and transcend the constraints of political factors. It should start from professional teaching and move ahead towards more open competition.
Education must never be abused again as a tool of political struggles. It has to be carried out from the professional point of view to accentuate the student's thinking capacity, lift their academic qualities and set their sights on the expansive international arena instead of wildly fighting among themselves on the home front.
The Education Blueprint must have a far and broad foresight in order to lead the nation to a promising tomorrow.
Where education is concerned, it is imperative that Pakatan Rakyat also forward its own education policies so that Malaysians will have a chance to visualise Pakatan's farsighted and innovative policies that would prove its effectiveness in running the government in the future.
Of course, given the limited resources that Pakatan is now given the access to, it would be a mounting task to get it to come up with such a splendid blueprint. However, if Pakatan would cut down on its street struggles and integrate the existing manpower and various resources available to it and siphon them to its policy drafting and political construction works, it could still work things to its favour.
This is by no means wishful thinking. Pakatan has a large pool of talented people who have indeed offered some really great alternative policies before.
For instance, PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli has done a lot of homework before voicing out his policies although he is better known for his competency in exposing government scandals.
Recently he proposed that car prices be reduced, and said this could be a policy Pakatan would want to look into in the future.
Reactions to his proposal have been mixed. While some give his proposal big thumbs-up, others are against it for the simple reason that this could trigger a collapse of the used car market while aggravating the traffic and cutting back government revenue.
Indeed, the opponents have valid reasons to support their claims but by comparison, reduced car prices would bring more benefits than harm to the country as a whole.
Although the heavy duties slapped on imported cars are meant to protect the national cars (few are aware that actually national car makers are also liable to heavy duties) and fatten the national coffers, they nevertheless have a negative bearing on economic activity besides sacrificing the living qualities of Malaysians.
There is a very important concept in economics called "disposable income." It doesn't really matter how much we earn each month, most importantly what we earn is enough to finance most of our needs.
Take for example. While an average American may not earn as much as a Singaporean, the houses, cars and daily necessities are cheaper in the States than in Singapore, giving the Americans higher disposable incomes so that they can enjoy better quality of life than Singaporeans.
Malaysians spend a big chunk of their monthly salaries on car and house mortgages, leaving nothing much for other forms of consumption. This not oily affects their quality of life but also dampens the overall economic vibrancy.
Pakatan's automotive policy of moderately reducing car prices and improving public transportation is highly viable, which could help bring in more votes for them.
Rival parties must stop all unnecessary fightings and divert their attention to policy-making so that the nation would benefit from their good-natured competition.