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14 theSun | FRIDAY FEBRUARY 6 2009

speak up!

thesun says

Way to go!
EVERYDAY hundreds of police reports because the police confirmed there
Crossing over to a new politics
THE riveting events of accomplish this: some
are made. Even if they do not involve was no discrepancy in the expenditure very few weapons a backbencher
a criminal element, police reports are in the accounts. this week will form a Abiding methods are undoubt- has against the diktat of his party
viewed as the solution for all the woes
of the people. Against this background,
Was the letter written because
the accuser and the accused are
permanent part of the
continuing narrative Times edly more unscrupulous
and deceitful than oth-
– and we have all seen how fed-
eral-level party machinery can be
it is understandable that police stations politicians? Would Joe Public be ac- of Malaysian political by Tunku ‘Abidin ers, but what is certain is invoked to overrule the opinions
are forced to be one-stop centres for corded the same “privilege” or is it change. The country Muhriz that in a free democracy, of state or local politicians who
problems, even disputes over contracts, only restricted to a select few? If it is awaits the judgment of underhand tactics are are closer to the people. Voters
agreements and relationships. a precedent, it is good to acknowledge His Royal Highness the likely to be punished by will judge whether or not the
The problem is not self-made either. that the police are responding to the Sultan of Perak, the lawyers are the electorate. weapon was wrongly invoked
The law requires every police officer to needs of the people. This will surely beavering away through the laws The consequences of defection in Perak when the time comes,
accept a report, but whether to proceed go a long way in repairing the damage and precedents to determine the will fall most significantly on for unless and until we reform
on the same is the sole prerogative of to the good name of the force which possible outcomes, while the the defectors themselves. If their our electoral system to make it
the police. With voluminous and mul- has been tainted by a handful of black politicians await impatiently a de- constituents feel that the defec- explicit that voters choose parties
titude of reports, the police force can sheep. cision they know could have seri- tion of their representative was and not candidates, crossovers
never be expected to personally inform Having said that, the police chose ous nationwide repercussions. All in their interests – for example if should remain an option.
every complainant on the outcome of to remain silent and non-committal on are united in agreeing that much the party’s policies deviated from Clearly it is destructive to
his or her report. But two days ago, the principal accusation – the removal depends on the head of state, and manifesto pledges, or if there was democracy if a perception arises
some interesting developments took of almost RM10 million from the Balkis all are confident that the judgment too much bickering within that that the privilege of government
place which could change the manner account. If it had indeed been removed of Perak’s thirty-fourth sultan, in party for promises to be delivered can be bought, as is being al-
in which the police carry out their du- illegally or fraudulently, it would amount the midst of celebrating his silver – defectors will probably be leged here. But judging by the
ties. In a rare gesture, the police in a to criminal breach of trust. What is jubilee, will be in the long-term rewarded with increased majori- angry reaction from the public
letter to the complainant confirmed more significant is that the police (in interests of his silver kingdom. ties. But if their constituents feel to crossovers as a tactic to gain
that there were no discrepancies in their letter) omitted commenting on There are many actors at work defections occurred for the wrong government, the encouragement
the expenditure of Wives of Selangor this allegation giving the impression in this thespian display, and many reasons, their political future will of crossovers from the centre will
Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and that they have yet to exonerate the possible motives have been iden- surely be forestalled. be unsustainable, and ironically
Charity Organisation (Balkis). perpetrators of the alleged fraud. But tified, on which most observers Of course, there might still there may be a long-term benefit
This is an interesting development by doing so, they are also sending out a will by now have formed strong be ways for politicians to work to this: if elected representatives
because the common grouse is that message that the investigation is being opinions. The desire for political around this, or for them to retire want to switch sides in the future
complainants are never told of the out- done on a piece-meal basis. It is fer- parties to maintain power is an from politics having abused power they are going to have to justify
come of investigations or if the com- vently hoped that this serious matter entirely natural phenomenon in while in office. Thus the only ideal it to their constituents extremely
plaint had been investigated. The letter is addressed and appropriate action is democracies, and so it is unsur- solution to such abuse is to have persuasively or risk incurring
signed by an assistant superintendent taken and that the complainant is kept prising that they will go to some principled politicians. That is a their wrath. In other words, they
of police on behalf of the federal informed on the progress into this very length to ensure their legislators’ situation that will take years of are going to have to win the ar-
commercial crime chief is significant important issue. loyalty and to entice others to join education and reform to cultivate: gument before they can win the
them. There are many ways to the profession of politician must vote, and these arguments will
first be seen as a desirable one for increasingly centre on the quality
principled young Malaysians to of policy and delivery of services,

Respect the choice of the majority aspire to, and they must be taught
the importance of check and
balance institutions (as indeed
as the notion of switching for the
sake of power alone becomes an
shortcuts and favouring the position of better too. Prospective business people all Malaysians must) if they are The other possible ben-
fence-sitters when it comes to respect- have become more adventurous, and to respect their boundaries and efit to this tumultuous chapter
ing the rules. more willing to take chances. But most honour their oaths as legislators of Malaysian democracy is the
Being new to government, it is important of all, there are more people – oaths in which they promise to strengthening of federalism. Both
natural for the PR to have made some who are attracted to business because serve their apolitical head of state coalitions are fighting extremely
IN PERAK, both the leaders and the mistakes. We, however, cannot fail to they perceive better ethics and higher and his people, and emphatically hard for the state, and in order to
people must remember that Pakatan notice that they not only talked about observance of the rules. This is the right not a political party. keep Perakians happy they will
Rakyat was the choice of the majority change; they also made some. Some attitude to conduct business success- In the meantime, the defec- have to demonstrate that they
of voters in the last elections. Events areas of Ipoh are more beautiful now fully in the future. tions of the week have vitalised can perform profoundly better
brought about by doubtful decisions and cleaner too. In the residential area My opinion is that PR has done those who insist that we need than the other. In order to do this,
from individuals of each party cannot where I live, rubbish collection has well enough so far and should not be an anti-hopping law, something the state government, regardless
alter this reality. been prompt and effective. Almost no divested untimely of the legal mandate that I have argued against in this of the party in power, may well
When they lost power, the BN rubbish is left strewn on the street now of the people. column in the past. Such legisla- demand more autonomy and
became aware of their shortcomings as used to happen previously. People However, in the event that PR is de- tion may prevent what might be freedom from Putrajaya.
and started to talk about change. But themselves seem to want to take better nied the right to continue governing the seen as unprincipled defections in
from their words and actions during care of their properties and are more state, a fresh election must be called the short-term, but the long-term
the past eleven months, we have seen open to suggestions and advice. They and the ones to decide must be, once effects could be more damaging Tunku ’Abidin Muhriz heads the
that they are as set in their old way of are freer to express their ideas and again, the people. than the benefits. Apart from defy- Project to Advance Democratic
thinking. Their recent purported gains know that they stand a greater chance ing a previous ruling that freedom Institutions at the Malaysia Think
in the Perak State Assembly are a of being listened to. MBA of association is a constitutional Tank ( Com-
confirmation of the BN’s affection for Business seems to be doing slightly Ipoh right, it would remove one of the ments: