Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama and Change

Najib calls for change but will there be change?

January 21, 2009 was a historic day for the people of the United States of America and to a certain extent to the people all over the world, in particular nations that profess to practice democracy. It was the day when Barack Obama became the 44th US president as the first black leader of the nation, shattering the American racial barriers.

In his much awaited inaugural speech he promised to free the country from its economic crisis and to restore the respect and credibility of his country among the nations of the world. The world especially the poorer nations are beginning to perceive that the US is becoming arrogant, inconsiderate and hegemonic. It refuses to listen to the world opinion and unilaterally bulldozers its views and decisions with little regards for the well being of poorer nations that are struggling to survive. It does not practice what it preaches with regards to democracy and human rights.

Obama did not deny the fact that the US is losing the respect and credibility that it used to enjoy among the world community decades ago. He did not hide the fact that his country is seriously affected by the economic crisis. He admitted all the shortcomings of his nation saying they are serious and many. Admitting that challenges he faces are real he however wowed to do his best to overcome them.

He called on his countrymen to pick themselves up, dust themselves off considering the complexity of the world today. Whether Obama can succeed remains to be seen in the coming weeks and months but he has set his foot on the right path by admitting his shortcomings and pledging to act to overcome them. and begin the work of remaking America saying be ready to lead once more. He promised to bring the change that will restore the respect and admiration of the world for America once more.

Americans and the people all the world have placed too much confidence on Obama to effect the changes that the US and the world are in dire need. His tasks are formidable

On the home front Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib has also called for change of Umno at all levels warning that it will perish if it fails to do so. His call comes in the wake of rejection of the BN by the people for the third time in ten months. It is a sternest warning to date and the members of his party must take it very seriously if they want Umno and BN to remain relevant.

“Change” has become a household word these days and since the last general elections everybody seems to be calling for change and it may be relevant for us to reflect what it really means for our nation. Change is when something becomes different or made to become different from what is presently in existence.

The changes that we initiate today should transform the nation to a state that reflects its past glory.Being in power for over 50 years, only the BN in particular Umno, is in a position to bring the change the nation really needs. Only by changing itself can it help all Malaysians to adopt a change of mindset and attitude in order to succeed in this highly competitive global world.

There is a need to adopt a mindset that accepts all citizens as Malaysians with equal educational and job opportunities based on merit. There must be a strongly conviction that corruption in any form and degree is morally wrong and must be fought vigorously. There is a need to change in attitude to respect and uphold the basic human rights of all citizens regardless of race, creed, social standing and political ideology. These include the right to assemble peacefully to voice dissent and the freedom of worship.

The new mindset must acknowledge that it is the right not a privilege for every citizen to be provided with quality and affordable healthcare, education, housing personal security. Poverty transcends race and religion and so must be its eradication. There is a need to accept that the civil service, judiciary and police must be independent and highly professional at all times and the rule of law must be upheld always at all costs.

The new leadership of Umno must acknowledge the serious economic, social, political and inter-ethnic problems the nation is facing and take the lead to change. They must initiate the steps to bring about these changes at all levels of Malaysian society. There has been too much talk of change but very little seriousness in wanting to really change. Change may be bitter for some but is inevitable and as the DPM says if we do not change we will perish.

The change promised by Obama may soon come to the US. Will the change to reform the nation as promised by our incoming Prime Minister ever materialise? Gauging by what is taking place it appears rather remote but with the extraordinary amount of resilience and perseverance of the rakyat there is no reason for that not to happen one day.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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