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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Cost Of Politics

(This was published by The Malaysian Insider as as "They play, we pay")

The Cost Of Politics

The UMNO Assembly has come and gone and, as has been the case for at least the last three assemblies, in its wake many of us have been left uneasy and in a state of disquiet. Seeing the inner workings of the Leviathan’s mind is never an easy thing, even at the best of times. And these really are the worst of times.

Power-lust has put a debilitating strain on our national institutions; they are in the mind of the public nothing more than lifeless marionettes in a caricature of democracy. The accumulation of money and influence has for some time now been the greater social good in the minds of many of those who claim the right to lead us. Governance has been wholly enslaved to the perverse politics required to feed this monstrous craving.

One does not have to go to great lengths anymore to demonstrate these conclusions. After this last assembly, it is a matter of public record. Reading the speeches made, I was struck by how for many of those who attended the assembly there is no other way other than the UMNO way that they are familiar with: exclusive privilege through patronage.

While it could be said that these are matters concerning the internal workings of UMNO and as such really none of my business, this cannot be the case when UMNO stakes a claim on the premiership of this nation as it does. The Federal Constitution does not provide that the President of UMNO must be the Prime Minister. That is however the understanding within the Barisan whose component parties are compelled to leave the choice of that individual to UMNO’s admittedly skewed method of electing its President.

This state of affairs is made more complex by the expectation on the part of UMNO that it is entitled to govern this nation, a viewpoint it gives life to through its control over the wider system of governance. The experience of the rakyat with matters of state has been a disappointing one and the general belief is that all constitutional bodies and agencies of the state will act to further the interests of UMNO and, where interests overlap, the Barisan.

Seen in this light, the internal workings of UMNO are a matter of national concern; the national interest underscoring the appointment of a Prime Minister is ultimately left vulnerable to those who are able to successfully wield influence at the UMNO Assembly.

As I have written elsewhere, this is not the scheme envisaged by the founders of the Federal Constitution, which instead puts in place an appointment process grounded on His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s judgment as to who it is that commands the confidence of the majority of members of the Dewan Rakyat.

For many in UMNO and the Barisan however, political convention must trump constitutionalism. Both the party and the coalition have made this clear in the way in which concerns over the appropriateness of Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Prime Minister are being avoided.

This cannot be right, the unease that the failure to take appropriate steps to clear the air has given rise to is no small matter. It pertains directly to public confidence in the due administration of this nation. If the positions were reversed, the same rationale would apply: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would not be an appropriate candidate until the accusation of sodomy by Saiful Bukhari was dealt with.

Public confidence is crucial to our survival. We are a nation in crisis facing external challenges of great magnitude. Part of the reason for this is the sustained maladministration that we have had to endure over a prolonged period of time. Put bluntly, the nation is not firing on all pistons and we are not nearly as prepared or resourced to deal with what we will have to be when the full significance of world events hits us.

The choice of Prime Minister at this point is a crucial one. In addition to addressing Malaysia’s response to the global economic crisis and its impact on the rakyat, the next administration must address two objectives that are vital to our continued survival. The first of these is the serious deficiencies in our current process of general and state elections. These go deeper than the issue of perceived Election Commission and Police bias to the more fundamental question of whether democratic purpose is being achieved through a first-past-the-post system and the “weighted” delineation of constituencies. Electoral ethics must also be made a priority with scrutiny of the continued value of racial ideologies that serve no purpose than to divide us. True democratic process is the only way in which this nation can ensure that it remains competitive.

Secondly, the foundations of governance must be shored up. The doctrine of separation of powers must be re-entrenched to ensure the due application of checks and balances. For this, reforms must be carried out at more than a superficial level. For this to occur, constitutionalism must be breathed into the organs and agencies of state once more. The Judiciary must be liberated from any and all political influence and be made as capable as it once was, with public confidence in the institution. The legislatures of the nation must be allowed to return to previous glory when debates were permitted without fear or favour and the legislative chamber served a purpose higher than rubber-stamping the dictates of majoritarianism.

Above all, the Executive must be made accountable once again.

This is what we need if we do not want to see this nation failing. Momentum however threatens to propel us forward in that direction. The brakes need to be applied and our direction changed, impelled forward by the will of the rakyat with the Federal Constitution serving as our roadmap.

The question we must confront is who it is that will be able to lead us in doing that.

If I wonder whether Datuk Seri Najib considers himself capable of doing this, it is because he has said precious little to suggest that he has considered the precarious situation we are in. I am also wary of the political forces that paved his way to the top that will impede him much in the same way as they did the out-going Prime Minister. There is also the matter of public sentiment concerning various matters that he either has been, or is seen to have been, involved in.

Ironically, the one person in UMNO who holds to a need for serious reform at all levels, Tengku Razaleigh, received only one nomination and could not contest the presidency. This was an error on the part of UMNO in my view.

My fear is that the nation will have to pay the price.

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar is the current President of the National Human Rights Society (HAKAM) and a lawyer. He has been at the forefront of efforts aimed at promoting constitutionalism and the Rule of Law. His blog ‘Disquiet’, and weekly column of the same name with the Malay Mail, are widely read

(Malaysian Insider 31st March 2009)



Starmandala said...

In plain language: Umno/BN dah rosak. Tak boleh pakai. Mesti buang.

LAT said...

Malaysia is destroyed in the hands of "brainless-dirty-politicians" and we are now in the state of devastation, for the Doctrine of the Separation of Power, Constitutional Supremacy,Constitutional Monarchy & the Rules of Law are all in "PAPER FORM" only. Looks like the only person who can help us-RAKYATS until we have REAL CHANGE come GE-2013 is for PM-Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to Stay-On as Stakeholder until we cast BN out ! But our hope is in vain and the light from the other side of the tunnel is dimmed. DIVINE INTERVENTION IS MY ONLY HOPE.

Dash said...

Bleak prospects of fairness, justice and improvement leave me frustrated, to say the least. How do I, as a member of the rakyat, hold these politicians accountable other than voting once in 4 years?

Merdekablog said...

Can Malaysia really achieve the independence and constitional separation of power between the judicial, executive and legislation?? I seriously doubt it!

What I strongly feel is that Najib will for sure use his every power to suppress the opposition voices. This is the CHANGE he most likely will bring to the nation considering what we have seen in the 100 days prior to his inauguration.

Sad sad sad.

For sure, PR can't afford to lose any by-election or else BN or indeed UMNO will become even more aggorant and the democracy of the country will come to an end even sooner!

I made couple seminars in USA Michigan Tech Univ to spread the words on how dirty the incumbent adminstration is.

I have made several videos on the seminars and the Americans' responses on Malaysian government.

Please click the videos if you are interested:

sjankan said...

Kita perlu sedar dan berpijak dibumi yang nyata. Cost of politic? apa ke harga yang terpaksa kita bayar untuk kejahilan politik orang tua kita yang membenarkan BN / UMNO memerintah 50 tahun?

Kedua Apakah harga yang kita terpaksa bayar untuk membenarkan Tun Dr Mahathir memerintah 22 tahun ...yang membawa kepada kebinasaan institusi kehakiman, lahir dan akar umbi rasuah dan juga semua agensi kjaan telah dapat oleh satu parti?

Jawapannya mudah, rakyat Malaysia telah melakukan kesilapan dengan mengamalkan ajaran jahiliyah dimana taksub dan mendewa-dewakan sesetengah parti dan pemerintah. Ajaran assabiyah ini harus diiringi dengan elemen-elemen jahiliyah dalam negara kita.

Seperti mana Arab Quraisy cuba buat apa sahaja untuk mengekalkan satus quo begitu juga UMNO-BN- Samy Veloo akan cuba.

Pengunaan polis, keiadaan perbicaraan, dan hak rakyat semuanya hanya mitos dalam berita sahaja.

Semuanya dah tamat bagi Malaysia dan percayalah keadaan tidak akan bertambah lebih baik malah akan menjadi lebih teruk. Pandangan saya bukanlah tidak berasas.

kalau kita lihat di Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Zaman Suharto , ramos oarang-orang ini adalah bukti yang jelas bahawa tidak ada pilihan untuk turun dari kuasa. Bila mereka tidak lagi diperlukan oleh rakyat mereka tetap akan cuba pertahankan kuasa mereka dengan apa cara pun.

Percayalah juga negara Barat seperti Us mahupun Britain tidak akan tolong.

satu contoh yang jelas , Negeri Perak, apa yang sedang berlaku? Kerajaan BN sedang fikirkan tentang rakyat atau tentang ingin berkuasa? dan kleputusan mahkamah seratus peratus akan memihak kepada BN . Kita semua tahu siapa Zaki dan juga kita semua sedar akan kepincangan yang wujud dalam badan kehakiman berlunaskan laporan suruhanjaya diraja atas Pita Linggam.

Saya merakamkan simpati kepada Malaysia yang akan berada dalam kegelapan untuk tahun-tahun akan datang. Dan kita juga sedar dan takan lawan kerajaan , dan kita juga merasakan tak berbaloi nyawa kita melayang untuk negara dimana penduduknya hidup dengan kejahilan politik dan bangsa.

Maka tidak ada apa yang perlu dibicarakan lagi.
Moga tak ramai yang terkorban atau teraniya.


Bobby said...

The Malaysian Prime Ministership is made a mockery.
In other DEMOCRATIC countries, for example, the US, if the President goes, the Vice President MAY be made the President, but ONLY if the nomination is CONFIRMED by BOTH the House and the Senate.
I had no problems with Pak Lah being the PM, as he was the leader of the coalition that won the GE last year.
What qualifies his Deputy to be PM?
In which part of our Constituion?

Unknown said...

Dear All,

At the peak of his verbal war against Arsene Wenger, Gerard Houlier and Jose Mourinho, SIR ALEX FERGUSON once famously quotes, ‘Some sad people are busy talking about MU all the time for two simple reasons. ONE: They know we have an excellent bunch of blokes and play the game extremely well - mentally, tactically, and physically. TWO: Only through tough talking will they look good to their supporters; when they actually envy our beautiful game which they cannot deliver’.


But isn’t its time for us to start seriously strengthening our house rather than continue ONLY BITCHING ABOUT THEM.

SAY ALL YOU WANT, ACCUSE ALL YOU CAN; the cruel truth is Barisan Nasional only needs to get their house in order with some intelligent modifications, and they are ready to rumble.

I won’t comment about PR, but for once kindly ‘Get Out Of Your Box’ and be honestly critical about PR.

Learn from Badawi’s failure. The ‘4th Floor’ boys is his biggest mistake. A bunch of immature boys, who thinks they knew everything, which thinks only they knew what is right. SOKONG YANG MEMBAWA REBAH.

TALK. Everyone can talk. DELIVER. That takes a man


Anonymous said...

Well said Damansara. What to do, PR is lack of capital now except of the rhetorics of AI, LKS/LGE. Public should be rational and stop believing their beautiful music. In fact PR should go to the ground and work seriously for the sake of the people instead of accusing falsely, spreading rumours and assassinating characters. One thing clever is that the manipulated the cyberspace and new media effectively which is a downfall of BN not looking into it seriously. Enough is enough, prove capability by action the blaming game. At least LGE is smart to designate his task by apoointing all sorts people to assist as he knows nothing about administering a state govt.

yo man said...

have to agree with Damansara. Frankly both camps, the govt n opposition pun sama saja. both full of sinners. selecting anwar as their chief was pr's biggest mistake!!! What the RAKYAT needs is clean 'blokes'!!! clean inside n outside... the people are fed-up with all these nonsense

Old Fart said...

The new Prime Minister, in his inaugural speech said, : “I am grateful to Yang Berbahagia Tun for his confidence in proposing my name as prime minister to Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and I am honoured that His Majesty has consented to my appointment with this morning’s swearing-in ceremony."

What about thanking the majority in Parliament whose confidence in him is a lot more necessary than that of the newest Tun in town? Or is that unnecessary?

In thanking the Agong for his consent in his appointment Najib further confirms that his appointment is first made by the previous Prime Minister and all that the Agong did was just to consent!!

Now, that is sticking your middle finger to the constitution.

sjankan said...

Hye, saudara Malik:

Macam mana tahanan ISA dan Pengharaman Akhbar boleh dfitarika balik kalau kita tidak mempunyai kementerian dalam negeri sebab sulatan belum lagi memberi perkenaan kepada kabinet baru. Adakah ini tanda one man rule Malaysia?


sjankan said...

Mungkin ramai yang gemar dalam perutusan pertama Perdana Menteri Malaysia ke 6, dia telah membatalkan serta merta pengharaman dua buah akhbar yang diharamkan dam membebaskan 15 tahanan Isa.

Memang perkara yang baik. Tetapi Adakah Najib mempunyai bidang kuasa untuk berbuat sedemikian? Adakah beliau Menteri Dalam Negeri. Seatahu saya apabila seseorang Perdana Menteri melepaskan jawatan maka keseluruhan kabinetnya akan terbubar. Lagipun ini bukan Zaman pilihanraya untuk diwujudkan care taker goverment.

Dimana otak rakayat Malaysia tak kira pembangkang atau pihak kerajaan yang sembang tentang Rukun Negara dan prinsipnya Keluhuran Perlembagaan.
Tak tahulah napa rakyat Malaysia ini bodoh sangat.

Unknown said...


why rebel without a cause???

notis pembubaran kabinet telah diberikan kepada semua jemaah menteri pada mesyuarat kabinet yang terakhir dipengerusikan oleh AAB hari rabu lepas.

notis tersebut menyatakan, kabinet akan terbubar secara otomatik apabila jemaah menteri baru yang dilantik oleh DSN mengangkat sumpah.

oleh yang demikian, tidak wujud 'caretaker government' seperti yang dikatakan oleh saudara.

bersesuaian dengan itu jemaah kabinet yang sah masih wujud dengan fungsi dan kuasa yang sama.

janganlah kerana saudara tidak memahami peraturan serta tidak mendapat maklumat yang betul dan jelas, semua orang saudara bodohkan.

Unknown said...


why must you create your own make-believed story and baseless accusation, and then said people ‘sticking their middle finger to the constitution’?

sjankan said...


Rebel without cause?

Untuk makluman saudara yang arif lagi bijaksana , kita tidak boleh bagi notis sebegitu. Kalau ikut lunas undang-undang kabinet akan terbubar sebaik sahaja AAB letak jawatan sebagai PM . Bukannya dia letak jawatan dan kabinet tu berfungsi sehingga Najib tubuhkan kabinet yang baru.

Itu ikut undang-undang. kalau bagi notis macam itu pun kita kena ikut kesahihan notis tersebut. Notis itu bercanggah dengan perlembagaan.

Bila pula mesyuarat jemaah menteri ada kuasa buat undang-undang sendiri. Nak hidup ikut undang-undanglah!

Takan sebab Malaysia Boleh semua Boleh? Yang tak boleh tu janganlah Damansara Bolehkan.

flyer168 said...

Dear Malik,

The nation, its downtrodden rayaat & I share your woes.

After all that is said & done….
It might be 50:50 for all the 3 bye-elections....

UMNO/BN have always chosen the easier way of “Gutter Politics” & the “Law of the Jungle”....

Intimidation & hard to refuse Parting Gifts(Political, Business Goodies!) at this nation’s & taxpayer’s expense....

This great nation & its Leaders COULD have gone either of 2 ways....

The Honourable Westminster style of Democracy with the Rule of Law requiring the formation of the RCI prior to the appointment/s....

That would make this great Nation, its King, its Leaders & its Rayaat proud of its Integrity, Transparency & Honour....

Or the easier way of “Gutter Politics” & the “Law of the Jungle”....

Intimidation & hard to refuse Parting Gifts(Political, Business Goodies!)

Desperate People, at Desperate Times, will RESORT to Desperate Henious Actions even if it means “Destroying” their “Honourable Family Legacy”, our Monarchy, All our nation’s Institutions, Pillars of Democracy & Justice, their own “MALAY MUSLIM HADHARI” party “UMNO” beyond “Redemption”, their own Kind, this country & its Many People!

What happened at the UMNO AGM will result in what I call “COLLATERAL DAMAGE” to their own “UMNO/BN Ketuanan” Warlords & their supporters

All the Grandoise Plans of ALL UMNO’s Incoming Wannabes (President, Dy President, Supreme Council Zahid Hamidi, Hishammuddin Hussein and Shafie Apdal; the VPs Mustapa Mohamed, Noh Omar and Musa Aman, Incoming Youth President KJ & Incoming Wanita President Shahrizat) COULD Backfire....

Remember “What goes round, will come round to “Haunt” these Desperate UMNO Ketuanan Beggars”

President Wannabe needs Mahyuddin plus his “Dream Team” to “Survive”....

With 2 “Accidental Trojan Horses” in KJ, Sharizat & many more to come….

Remember....Mahyuddin helped President Wannabe achieve the earlier March Transfer of Power instead of the “Agreed” June date....

President Wannabe does not realise that Mahyuddin has his own agenda....

For his own “Political Survival & his Business Agenda”, than for his Wannabe President, UMNO & the rayaat.

Zahid counter PAS & any Islamic issues after his stint in PM’s Religious Division....

Azeez Malik the Mat Rempit counter Wannabe President’s Enemy #1 KJ (Accidental Elected Council Member!) & his “Mat Rempit” tendencies....

Wannabe President has plans to “Trap” KJ & Sharizat into “Oblivion”....

Incoming Wanita President Shahrizat (Pak Lah’s Team - Another Accidental Elected Council Member!) as a “betrayer” who broke her promise to honour the transition plan not to challenge Rafidah

JJ had always been Wannabe’s Secret Proxy Professional (Electrical Engineer) from his state for decades....

There was alot of “Parting Gifts” (at the Nation’s & Rayaat’s expense!) fot the “Grand Finale”....

Two Tunships (which has been a Limited & Controlled Access for years!), the nation’s Carcosa residence of the “British Governor” & many, many more Upstream & Downstream....

With the incoming PM & his DPM now inviting Mahathir membership #000001 to be their “Adviser”....

They have all now Succumbed” to “Mahathir’s Trap”

Together with his 2 sons he is now the “Taiko” to continue from where he left the last time....

In any Corporate you have the Chairman, Board of Directors, the established Executive directors, etc that have been associated with the Company for years by convention….through their AGM’s with their share holder, etc.

Just how can the “Parachuted New Dream Team” justify their “Hostile Takeover”, remove All the Board Directors & Executive Directors overnight....

There will definitely be “Fireworks”, so let us sit back & watch the show....

“Devine Intervention” works “Wonders”....

You go fugure out....


Unknown said...


can you kindly, based on real facts, furnish us with the exact 'lunas undang-undang' that you are talking about

because everyone in malaysia now is very good in using those words, but ‘rarely kind enough’ to furnish us the real clause they are referring to

i made that statement based on newspaper reports on what transpired in the last cabinet meeting chaired by ABB. the issue was mentioned because shahrir samad wanted to hand in his resignation letter

i pun as a malaysian citizen would like to learn a thing or two from you....and see how ignorance our government you said, betapa bodohnya mereka...betulka

sjankan said...


lunas undang-undang, keluhuran perlembagaan ataupun no man above the law, semuanya sama juga niatnya ialtu kita hormati sistem pentadbiran dan hak asasi manusia.

Memandangkan saudara inginkan based on fact, saya minta maaf tak dapat nyatakan ketepatan fakta tetapi pernah berlaku di sabah ( kalau tak silap zaman Pairin Kittingan)apabila ketua menteri baru dilantik , salah seorang ahli EXCO (menteri ) tidak mahu lepaskan jawatanya kerana dia mendakwa yang letak jawatan hanya ketua menteri.

Mahkamah memutuskan bahawa sekiranya seorang ketua menteri/ perdana menteri melepaskan jawatanya, maka secara automatik keseluruhan jentera kabinet itu akan terbubar.

Keadaan ini berbeza ketika pilihan raya kerana yang dibubarkan badan perundangan , bukannya eksekutif (pelaksana).

Dalam senario sedemikian saya tidak faham siapa yang mempunyai kuasa untuk menadantangani surat pelepasan tahanan ISA dan kalau ditandatangani pun kenapa polis terimanya? Adakah polis yang patut pertahankan undang-undang juga tak tahu tentang pengamalan undang2?

Mohon juga pandangan saudara Malik keatas isu ini.

sjankan said...

Berkaitan isu Sharir Samad, he is just a politician who make people fool. Kononya dia lepaskan jawatan sebab kalah dalam pemilihan UMNO. Padahal sebagai menteri dia tak perlu lepaskan jawatan sebab semua tahu AAB akan lepaskan jawatanya dan jawatanya akan terbubar dalam beberapa hari.

Mungkin bagi tujuan mencari publisiti murahan di penghujung kerjayanya.

Unknown said...


saya berpendapat, notis pembubaran kabinet yang telah dikeluarkan, dan berkuatkuasa pada ketika jemaah menteri baru mengangkat sumpah, telah digunakan secara betul.

oleh yang demikian, tidak timbul isu penyalahgunaan kuasa.

Unknown said...

saya ingin mengucapkan tahniah kepada rakyat bukit selambau dan bukit gantang kerana secara berani memberikan mesej mereka berkenaan senario politik kita hari ini

saya amat bimbang jika berlaku kemenangan barisan nasional yang akan memberikan mesej yang salah kepada kepimpinan barisan nasional

saya amat bercita untuk melihat dua pilihan kepimpinan negara yang berwawasan, berhemah, berkualiti dan berintegriti

kita sebagai rakyat mampu menikmatinya jika kita terus bergerak secara penuh matang, dengan kefahaman dan kritikal

dengan keputusan ini diharap BARISAN NASIONAL akan sedar bahawa pertukaran kosmetik tidak akan mampu mengubah hati rakyat. walaupun bn mempunyai wadah perjuangan yang jelas TETAPI realiti dan perlaksanaannya, pada banyak ketika, jauh memyimpang dan tersesat

pada masa yang sama diharap PAKATAN RAKYAT diberikan semangat berterusan untuk maju ke hadapan. cuma perlu diingat mereka belum berkuasa dan masih jauh untuk dipanggil pilihan yang berwawasan dan berkebolehan

terima kasih bukit selambau dan bukit gantang