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Archive for January 8th, 2011

Another leadership tussle in PKR-this time over the position of the Sarawak Chief position-which is only a month after a re-appointment after the party poll, and within 6  month of a state election. The public who are supporters of the party would be excused to feel disappointed at such power struggle which happened behind the party’s closed doors.Who ever it is who may emerge as the winner the loser is the party because the power struggle at this juncture make little sense to the people outside. Why is the party keep making people feel that it is shooting itself in the foot? There is a view which look at human behaviour from a `system’ perspective. The point of a good system is not to stop power struggles-but to channel it to the party and the public’s benefits.

When leadership struggles happen there are many reasons-chief of which is that there are people who are dissatisfied at the present leadership. Challenging the leadership is not the only way to deal with it-it is the end of a process to debate about the issues concerned. The debate is concluded by a vote of confidence on the incumbent. That is what it should be if democracy is the only game in town. However just like the BN parties especially UMNO, the top leader of PKR actually personally choose the state chief and the major appointed position holders, along with the candidates for parliament, state and, if there are council elections, also council candidates! Practically the top leader need to know thousands of people well enough to make these important appointments on a well-considered basis. If not then the top leader will have to depend on a lot of his trusted lieutenants/`lobbyists’ to provide the information he needs on the candidates-jumping over the local members who may know much better than the top leader and his lieutenants on who make a better leader/candidate in their respective area!

So under current top-leader’s monopoly of appointment power the winner, including the incumbent’ is suspected of being the favourite of the top leader and not the state membership. So the arena for leadership struggle is not the state party election, but the campaign/lobbies to the top leader-by SMS’es or any other means. The local membership at large are kept in the dark in a party that officially champion democracy.

Looking at the numerous failures in making good choices viz the prevalence of froggy leaders in the party, it is advisable for PKR to start the democratisation from within the party-starting by devolving the over-concentrated power of appointment of the top leader! Then may be there will be less leadership tussles in various states where state elections will decide conclusively who have the confidence and mandate of the state members. Look like the party need to go further than merely holding direct elections on the top posts to reach the distant destination of `democracy-polis’. BN’s rule by the party chief’s dictate does not work in BN-neither does it work in PR when transplanted.  As real examples of alternative /more democratic operation: there are countries/parties where the local candidates/chiefs are chosen by primary elections in the respective constituencies-and the winners cannot be changed even by the top leaders or anyone else!

January 8, 2011

Anwar in quandary over Baru Bian’s post

Hornbill Unleashed 

Keruah Usit

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The dominance of political parties in Malaysian political life is a curse in some way because the failures of politics (making of bad public policies or party leadership tussels)will all be heaped on them. Compare this to other regional countries which had successfully democratised themselves they all have strong, vibrant and independent social movements with wide participation eg Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia. The causes for political parties’ dominance are many-no less the parties’ concerted effort to infiltrate and undermine sprouting independent social movemetns and NGOs-where both ruling and opposition parties are guilty. A PR party even suggest that the strength of the party and the strength of the NGOs are a zero-sum game-totally ignoring the reality in regional neighbours where they can have both! Needless to say that political party is most reliant on recruiting NGO leaders and activists into its ranks to make up for its relative unattractiveness to talents/leadership material. Worse this view ignore the vital, supplementary and different roles of NGOs/social movements in articulating views more on a more cause-oriented, principled, people-centric basis and in monitoring the performance of all parties-be it ruling or Opposition. When the political parties managed to eclipse the social movements in the country-the deficit in giving articulation to the people’s sentiment breed cynicism and defeatism-which over time convince the ordinary folks/voters to stay away from politics-especially the party politics, even to the extent that cause them to lose avenues to address their problems.

When political parties are left to their own devices their negative self-interested tendencies may take over to seal a not-too-rosy image of politics and politicians. It is no wonder that politicians score poorly in public image anywhere in the world-more so in Malaysia! In the absence of mechanism to refer to and be guided by public sentiments politicians can do the worst things to outrage the public especially when they think they can get away with it eg when their opponent party is also indulging in such antics eg forced evictions, non-declaration of assets by top position holders in the governments, lack of transparency and participation in administration etc.  A new deal between parties and social movements need to be created to revive both sides to play a mutually symbiotic democratic `games’, all for the benefit of the people!

Dwindling confidence in Political parties
FMT

The loss of public confidence in political parties was no surprise, said PKR-Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit 2010 democracy index, Malaysia had dipped three places to 71st out of 167 countries.

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Is the radio shutting up for its own reasons or others'?

A notice is put up in Radio Free Sarawak web site to say that the Radio will stop its comments till a decision about its future is made. That means that for the moment the Radio is muted as far as its comments and interviews are concerned. It is not known why that is the case and there is no benefits to speculate either. The listerners should just be patient while what ever caused the muting of the radio is resolved.The shutting of the radio’s commentaries will be felt as a sad lose by the many on-line listeners for sure. Meanwhile the Sarawak politicians who had been criticised by the radio must feel a sign of deep relief if they don’t believe in the freedom of speech in the first place. (For those who believe they must defend the rights of their critics to speak out!)

The following is the latest content preceeding the shutting up of the radio:

Update

Broadcasted on January 8, 2011

Radio Free Sarawak will be playing music and suspending comment until decisions about our future are completed.  Keep listening and tuning in for now and we will bring you the news when we have it.

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