A concerned Malaysian writes about Malaysian affairs. "You are the Change you Seek" Barack Obama

Sunday, March 16, 2008

After the March 8th Earthquake, Some Aftershocks....

If one considers the election results as an earthquake, the events that followed can be likened to aftershocks as Malaysians grappled with the earth-shaking event. Some Malaysians were really bewildered as no one here has experienced an earthquake of such magnitude and some were unable to cope.

First the BR coalition had difficulties hammering out the composition of the state governments in Perak and Selangor, where there was also some "documents cleansing" as the old team wanted to tidy up the offices.

Now even the BN government has difficulties to appoint the MB of its choosing as the respective Rulers want to be given their rights to decide on who should be the MB. We seldom heard of such objections before and so perhaps there has been unhappiness too among the rulers especially since TDM curbed the powers and influence during his tenure of office.

Overall I think this is all good to expand the democratic space in Malaysia. Power brokers are also clamouring for the Prime Minister to step down and pass the reins to the next-in-succession as if one political party has been given the divine right to choose who becomes the Prime Minister.

Ideally it would be good if the PM is selected by all voters just like in the USA but that is quite a radical change and perhaps may only occur in another 50 years. I believe our model now is one where the person that commands the support of the majority of newly-elected MPs is deemed to become the PM.

Now we all know that seat boundaries are fixed so that Sabah and especially Sarawak have many more seats than the Peninsula with respect to the population and so West Malaysians have been marginalised as far as the "one-man,one vote goes" (except for Putrajaya where one man is equal to 12 votes!)

I suggest the following changes be implemented for the next GE.

1.A caretaker PM is appointed - someone who is not contesting in the elections.
2.After the elections, the MBs are appointed by the MPs elected to the state assemblies and the respective heads of states. BN Central or BR Central should only play advisory roles to the rulers if they ask.
3.After the state governments, Parliament is convened and the MPs of all parties will meet to nominate the MP for the PM's post who commands the majority support and I suggest the pledge should be for a minimum of 3 years.

That is one method to enable states to enjoy more democracy and reduce the stiflying control of central government that is really quite unhealthy for democracy to flourish.

It is good that the present government has started major projects in Kelantan as after all the federal government is the government for all states and not just BN controlled states.
There must be a mind-set change and federal projects should cease from displaying the usual "Another BN Government Project" signs.

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