Rotating parties for better governance | Selangor Times
Issue 118


Rotating parties for better governance
Writer: Azmi Sharom
Published: Fri, 14 Dec 2012

IN my last article I wrote about the importance of changing the system of local government that we have. By that I meant we should reintroduce local government elections as well as overhaul the Local Government Act in order to ensure a more transparent and accountable local authority.

There are also other institutional changes which are desperately needed in this country.

Keeping to local governments, the law which exempts them from any legal action being taken against them is also something which has to be looked at.

For example, the Ampang local government was immune to any legal action for supposed negligence in the decision making which led to the Highland Towers tragedy.

But, in case I appear to be harping on too much on local government, let us spread our sights a bit further.

The Election Commission used to be an independent body and its members had the security of tenure similar to those on the Bench. That was changed in the 60s however. What was also changed was the power of the EC to draw the boundaries for the electoral constituencies.

Now the EC commissioners are there at His Majesty’s pleasure and the power to delineate constituencies lie in the hands of Parliament. This means that the independence of the EC is questionable as they can be fired at will and whoever has the majority in Parliament will undoubtedly draw the electoral boundaries to suit them and not to ensure a fair representation of the people in this country.

There are many other examples of course but I shall not go into them here. Needless to say the system of governance we have now is built around the concept of patronage.

Those in authority owe their position to a master. This leads to a feudal mentality as well as the ever present suspicion that work is done not on a professional level with the interest of the nation at heart, but instead it is done to serve a political patron.

This systemic malaise that we have can of course be changed by anyone with legislative power and the requisite will to do something about it. But is it possible to find anyone or any group with the nobility of spirit and strong sense of fairness to do so; especially if the status quo suits their own purposes.

The answer is sadly in the negative, which is why changes in government are crucial.

When one is on the other side, then one suddenly longs for neutral government machinery and a level playing field. Take Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for example; the paragon of Southeast Asian authoritarianism. When Tun Abdullah Badawi was in power and Dr Mahathir was simply an old age pensioner who was not in favour with the current administration, he found himself blocked out of the mainstream media.

Suddenly the man who was in charge during Operasi Lalang which saw the shutting down and subsequent cowing of the print media, was lamenting about the lack of freedom of expression. He had to resort to writing a blog to get his, oh so numerous, gems of wisdom across.

Of course now that the reins of power have passed, you don’t see him lamenting any more as he has all the platforms that an octogenarian can possibly want.

My point is that political parties must be kicked in and out of power because this will have a positive effect on the mundane government of machinery; the civil service, the various commissions, the judiciary, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, local government and numerous other public institutions.

As long as any one political party feels that they will govern forever, this change will not occur.



 Selangor Times



Also by Azmi Sharom:

Ethics, morals needed more than ever

SOMETIMES reading the news makes one rush to the bathroom for a long hot shower. 


We live in warped logic

DON’T get it. I just don’t get it.

Greater professionalism in police

Peaceful is as peaceful does

1AI was sitting in Merdeka Stadium on Saturday with a couple of friends, watching the venerable old lady of independence fill up with people, I playfully wondered if  photographers from the mainstream media had been there earlier to take a photo of an empty stadium to be used as “evidence” that no one turned up.

Importance of local government elections

THE Batu Caves condominium project has raised some interesting talking points. The most obvious of these, the one taken up by the many comments I have read on the internet, is the sheer bald faced cheek of the BN government.

Can bully boy tactics win?

Oh what a glorious night! Twenty-three years of humiliation, with nothing but self-deprecating humour to comfort oneself, finally laid to rest on that one glorious night.

New wine, old wineskin

It is telling that during the Suhakam inquiry into the Bersih 3.0 rally a police officer revealed when questioned that he did not know that the right to assemble was constitutionally guaranteed for the people of this country.

Really, you can’t make it up

Rais Yatim should be given a present from people like myself who write current affairs articles. 

Scripts for Tinseltown

Hollywood, having run out of ideas, has turned to Malaysia for inspiration. Below are two potential blockbuster movies which draw their plots from the pages of Malaysia’s newspapers.

And so it begins...

The scare tactics that are so beloved by the ruling coalition. We have seen it before of course. Like an evil babysitter, the BN has constantly thrilled at telling horror stories to keep us in our place.

Only the uncaring will not care

If the government is not quaking in their boots after last weekend, then they must be in total denial.

Informed, not phony, reasons work better

There have been two consistent arguments used by the Barisan to persuade the electorate to vote for them. The first and more popular claim is that we should vote for them because they have experience.

Nation of idiots in the making

We are on the brink of becoming a nation of idiots.

When silence implies consent

Hope Springs eternal

THIS year, the most amazing political event to have occurred in the world could very arguably be the Arab Spring. Popular uprisings all over the Middle East have seen dictatorships fall like ten-pins in the centre of of a camel race. The process continues still.


Lack of respect for the Constitution

It’s quite apt that it was during a mass circumcision ceremony that Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz made his announcement that Section 27 of the Police Act 1967 is going to be removed. We, the people of Malaysia, just like the poor little nippers at that ceremony, are going to be rid of something.











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