May 31, 2013
GE-13: Shifting Balance of Power requires Cooperation in Governance
by CT Ali@http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com
After half a century of greed, will UMNO now lead or will the need for greed overcome all other considerations? UMNO feeds the greed of its political elites for wealth and political power, and it’s political dominance allows little accountability for the things they do.
What UMNO takes for themselves from the wealth and resources of our country, how they lie and manipulate our people to believe that what they do is in the interest of our common good when it is certainly not, and how they “manage” the opposition and any “national threat” are nothing out of the ordinary for UMNO.
Corruption, money politics, unlawful detention – all the evils of a repressive regime that does not allow social justice and basic human and civil rights upon its own people.
A tainted Judiciary, a Police force that does its bidding, submissive civil servants and, amongst others, a compliant Election Commission are some of the evil tools of trade that UMNO uses to keep its hold on political power. This “banality of evil” permeates UMNO at all levels.
Banality of evil is a phrase used by Hannah Arendt in the title of her 1963 work “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil”. Her thesis was that the great evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths, but by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal.
Thank God for us that all this has started to change after the 12th and 13th general elections.The balance of power in Malaysia has shifted. What was once UMNO’s unchallenged political dominance in Malaysian politics is now no more.
There is now a potentially formidable, effective and hopefully robust Opposition in parliament. Also the rakyat’s ability to question the commission and omission of any act or deeds perpetrated by those in high public office is in its ascendancy.
Our political elite can no longer pillage and plunder our nation’s resources with impunity. Whatever they do now can be effectively challenged in Parliament, by the social media, street demonstrations and tentatively through the Judiciary.
These politicians have been served notice that when conferred with the privilege of high public office and the power that goes with it, they should concern themselves with the responsibilities that come with the office rather than the spoils that political power makes possible.
And so for UMNO, it will no longer be “business as usual”. The responsibility of the Opposition now is to ensure that political change will keep pace with changing realities.
Compromise on all sides
How will we define the modalities of the Malaysia that we all aspire to? What are the certainties that we must have? The protection of human rights, social justice and quality of life? How shall the Malays and non- Malays now base their political and social relationship?
What do we replace Ketuanan Melayu with if the majority of Malays are to be placated? How will the traditional role of the Chinese in commerce be handled so that a more equitable distribution of wealth is made possible? How will the underprivileged, the poor and the aged be treated? How do we protect the interest of the minorities?
These are but just a few of the tasks that await the leaders that will take us into the post 13th general election era that is already upon us. For now our country is in a flux.
Pakatan won all the battle that was to be won in this 13th general election but it lost the war.That notwithstanding Pakatan must continue to be the party for reform and change.Malaysians are angry and more so now with the manner in which the 13th general election has been conducted.
What Pakatan must not do is to talk about change and reform and avoid doing anything about it. Pakatan must become responsible, open and accountable in the states that they govern while taking upon itself the responsibility of being an effective Opposition in parliament.
UMNO must realise that Pakatan – and the people of Malaysia – is a side they cannot defeat nor unilaterally impose its will upon. They must understand that the sharing of power with Pakatan through some consensual process is preferable to the flux that our country is now in after this 13th general election.
Invariably it would require a compromise on all sides but the outlines of a settlement is already apparent. UMNO must share political power with an Opposition that holds the popular mandate from the electorates while Pakatan must accept that UMNO still holds a majority in Parliament.
This is the constrain imposed by the electorates upon them. It would take the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job and the sincerity of our beloved Tunku to make Malaysia the nation all good Malaysian aspire to!
And so I ask that we pause to think what we should do to support BN and Pakatan as they start the process of reconciliation as reconcile they must for we are now, to all intents and purposes, a two party nation.
We do not want BN trying to govern Malaysia without the consensus of over half its electorates who have put their trust in Pakatan.Nor do we want Pakatan to talk of being a responsible political coalition while it goes about inciting hundreds and thousands of Malaysians to take government from a duly elected government of Malaysia.
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.