Live telecasts may cure Malaysian racism
Dr Azly Rahman
May 2, 06 4:37pm
I refer to the news report on the level of intelligence of the Malaysian in viewing ‘live telecasts’ of Parliament sittings. I believe Malaysians are more intelligent than gauged by minister.
Live telecasts are like raw data of media research that would allow the audience to see how their elected representatives perform – uncensored. The actors, like those on Broadway, will have play their role well in order to be judged well by the viewers. We spend so much time and so much money putting these representatives into office. They campaign intelligently with fantastic rhetoric. The public expects to see them perform equally well on TV. I wrote on the need on this a while back.
In America, the public channel C-SPAN is a great public educator of political consciousness. Confirmation hearings of the US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and US Supreme Court Judge Samuel Alito are amongst those carried live. The public learned from watching the candidates get scrutinised. Malaysians are actually becoming less ‘racist’ but more aware of the deep divisions in their economic, political, and cultural spheres.
To say that the ‘racist public’ is not ready for live telecast is to assume that our political consciousness is still governed by politics of identity based on race and ethnicity. This assumption might be plausible a decade or two ago. It is no longer true nowadays. Live telecasts of parliamentary proceedings will help build a culture of critical sensibility in us, in our choice for representatives we want to maintain to serve us.
We have the Internet to help us express our views on who we wish to continue to represent us and who to vote out of office. If we are to create a ‘world-class’ parliament, we must start thinking that Malaysians are world-class critics of their leaders. If we are to produce better leaders who will talk more sense in the most sensible way, we must let the public see their performance.
I therefore call upon Malaysians to push for more live telecasts of parliamentary debates. All parties must be given equal opportunity for air time. We will become a healthier democracy. We are not racists. We want to understand how race has subverted politics.
If we are sending astronauts into space, why not broadcast those proceedings on politics of race?