By SALLEH SAID KERUAK
A recent report in the UK regarding approval ratings of the various leaders throughout the world revealed that in most countries the approval rating of its leaders rarely exceed 40%. Most approval ratings hover around just 30% or so. Any approval rating of 40% would be considered as quite impressive.
The more advanced and the more affluent (and the more educated) a country becomes the lower the approval rating of that country’s leaders. This can be considered a normal world trend. You cannot educate your citizens and at the same time expect their approval of the government to remain high.
This is the downside of an educated population. And the state of Kerala in India would be one such an example, which boasts a literacy rate of almost 100% and which chose socialism as its form of government instead of voting the more ‘popular’ federal government.
As citizens become more affluent and depend less on the government, they would invariably turn anti-establishment as well.
The largest and richest workers’ union in the UK has just announced it may no longer support the opposition Labour Party in the 2015 General Election. This does not mean it will support the ruling party either. It may, instead, support a third alternative, the first time this is happening in many decades.
The fact that in Malaysia most of the urban seats fall to the opposition while the less affluent rural constituencies vote ruling party is evident that education and wealth also breed anti-establishment tendencies. It is a normal phenomenon all over the world, even in advanced countries like the US and the UK.
Umno and Barisan Nasional need to recognise this ‘normal’ trend and find ways to address the needs of the younger generation of voters (meaning, of course, the urban voters) whose expectations are very different from Merdeka generation Malaysians. Old politics no longer attract the new voters as governments all over the world have discovered.
This is going to be the challenge faced by the Barisan Nasional government in the 14th General Election expected in 2018 or so. In fact, this is also going to be the same challenge faced by Pakatan Rakyat, which is the government in some of the states -- that is, how to satisfy the needs of the younger generation of voters.