Friday, April 10, 2009

Cabinet lineup a mockery of democracy

Har Wai Mun | Apr 10, 09 5:13pm

Looking at the recent political developments and the new cabinet lineup, democracy in Malaysia is heading down the drain. Online encyclopedia Wikipedia defines ‘democracy’ as a form of government in which power is held indirectly by citizens in a free electoral system.

There are two principles of democracy. The first principle is that all members of society (citizens) have equal access to power.

The second is that all members (citizens) enjoy universally-recognised freedoms and liberties. Have these two principles been upheld in Malaysia?

Firstly, there are three ministers and six deputy ministers appointed not by them winning elections but through the ‘back door’. Does this imply that Barisan Nasional (BN) does not have capable members of Parliament to do the job?

Perhaps, the new prime minister sees extraordinary talent or wisdom in these senators that justify their appointment. If that is the case, as when Abdullah Badawi appointed Zaid Ibrahim, it is justifiable and should be applauded.

However, questions are raised over those who were losers and were rejected by voters in the 12th general election. Bear in mind that it should be the people that elect the government. When they are rejected by the people, why should they be in the cabinet?

This is a mockery of our electoral system. It is also a robbery of power from the people, hence violating the abovementioned first principle of democracy.

Furthermore, the failure to appoint newly-elected Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who is also a member of Parliament, is a mockery of the Umno elections too.

Secondly, a separate portfolio to ‘oversee national unity’ is a disgrace to the people. Does the government see Malaysians voting for Pakatan Rakyat as an act of ‘non-unity’ thus the urgent need to ‘oversee’ it so that it would not happen again?

Would it not be better to create a ‘Unity Affairs Division’ in each of the BN component parties as well to take care of their members’ ‘unity’?

Third, the appointment of Hishammuddin Hussien as Home Affairs minister is a big shock, which could backfire on BN too.

Not to belittle his ability, but given his record of supporting the draconian ISA and keris showboating, this appointment did not goes well with the second principle of democracy nor national unity.

Perhaps, this is Malaysia, the ‘Boleh-land’. Nevertheless, do not forget Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s infamous phrase of ‘work with me, not work for me’.

Despite being the most liberal and performance-oriented prime minister, his Umno mates no longer chose to work with him.

Hence, if the new prime minister and his cabinet try to practice ‘Own People First, Showboating Performance Now’, be warned that people power could still overcome whatever political suppression to restore the principles of democracy.

This for every subsequent by-election until the next general election.