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Saturday, 7 February 2009

Perak oh Perak

The Perak Fiasco from the comfort of my armchair.

Hazidi Abdul Hamid

The Perak political fiasco fills the air around me: the radio, television, the conversations I overhear, the conversations I enter and even on the short (and not so short) messages on my handphone. I had refused to take sides or to even get involved in this idiocy but when even my children are asking questions about the issue and talking about it; I believe I have an obligation to say something, even if it is only for my children to read.

The question I am forced to ask because my children asked me about them. When my children asked me questions about this, I thought perhaps our schools are not as bad as some say they are. Here we have two children, one fourteen and the other twelve, who actually know about political events in their country.

Is it an ethical thing to do? in the simpler words that I used with my kids, “is it a good thing to form a government in this manner?”

My answer: Of course it is not a good thing. However, in politics, good and bad are often regarded as irrelevant issues; it is the results that are more important for those who are in the field. The point of politics is to gain power so as to enable you and your group or party or faction to dictate how the government is run. Thus anything that allows them to achieve this end is, in contexts like these, “good”. So a bad thing is now a good thing for politicians because it allows them to gain power and power allows them to dictate the government, and this in turn allows them to do “good”: here defined as things running the way they want things to run.

So, which side are the “good” guys? I don’t think we can say that either side is good because both sides have condoned the same thing: hijacking a government through defection of members within the previous government. Please recall that after the previous election, the Opposition announced that they will take over the government when they claim that thirty or so members of the Ruling government will be defecting to their side. This means that they approve of the act of hijacking a government. This means that they believe that a member of parliament (or any similar body) need not vacate his or her seat if he or she leaves the political party that he or she had represented and gained him or her the seat. Now, when the tables have turned, the Opposition is clamouring to the public and the courts saying that it is illegal and unconstitutional and whatever else, but how can that be when they were the ones who approved of the method in the first place.

My conclusion:

1. It is an irksome thing to do and to take advantage of, but both sides seem to approve of it is only those of us who have some political moral but are not in politics that are left to disapprove of the act.

2. It appears that those who are involved in politics, as I have always believed, on both sides seem to adhere to the principle “the end justifies the means”

I wonder if the Opposition representatives in the parliament now have a different view of the anti-hopping law recently tabled?

Is it a wise for the BN to rejoice in the takeover?

I think it was our former Prime Minister who recently commented that the individuals at the centre of this fiasco are “tainted” individuals: I believe he was referring to the reports that two of them are facing court cases, one introduced the sport of speed-hopping and one seems disgruntled with the other party which means that the defection is on personal grounds and not grounds of personal beliefs or conviction to the ideology of the other group. I believe a government is like a building and you want to build your building on firm ground: these do not seem like “firm ground” to me. What if, believing that our courts are unaffected by political wills, these two are found guilty and consequently lose their seats? More importantly, what if the votes go to the PR when the re-election is done? Will the third person then hop again? Will the fourth have a change of heart? Will we see crowds of people in front of the Perak Palace yet again?

What about the King?

I am a Malay (okay it can be a little more complicated than that but that’s a different issue) and consequently I subscribe to the institution of the Malay Rulers. Naturally I am pissed when people challenge the power a Malay King, particularly if that person is a non-Malay. What makes me more irate is when there are Malays supporting the move.

I believe these Malays who are supporting this Kafr should take a look at Australia’s history to see what happens to a people who have lost political power in the land of their forefathers.

I think I will stop writing about this point here because my sentiments towards institution of the Malay Kings will lead me to blabber far longer than I would want to.

On top of that there are the laws and the constitution both of which I need to read up on because I am not too sure what these texts say. So I reserve my comments till then. At the moment all I have are reports of what these individuals with vested interests say: not sound basis on which to make any judgement.

What about the people?

I think it is only natural for the people of Perak to be unhappy, at the very least. Put yourself in their place, you go out to vote and you came up with a government. Okay, to many, it was not the government that they wanted but, hey, it’s a democracy. What you want now is for that government to get on with the job of governing the state to the best of their ability. After all, life goes on for you too, you have families to feed, bills to pay and pets to... well, pet. And what do you get? A situation that is playing itself out like a badly scripted political drama and acted by talent-challenged thespians. Give these people another ballot paper and they will probably use it to vent their anger. The problem is, who will the target of their anger be? Will it be the people you tell them are the source of their predicament or will it be the people for whom they had initially voted: it could go both ways, still.

Is there corruption involved?

Is there corruption? Come on! We are talking about politics here. How many of us believe there is no corruption of any kind involved? The problem is not what we believe; the problem is what we can prove. More importantly, what we can prove and make tenable beyond the ability of highly paid lawyers to twist, obscure, inveigle and obfuscate.

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