Sunday, April 05, 2009

Pak Lah- a symbol of moderation and tolerance

Tribute to Pak Lah

After more than a of year of uncertainties finally Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had stepped down as Prime Minister. Despite calls by various quarters to continue as PM and with widespread rumors that he may change his mind at the last minute, Pak Lah kept his word till the end which demonstrates his integrity and honesty, attributes rarely seen these days especially among politicians.

In fact the many admirable age-old qualities of Pak Lah make him more of a decent man and a lesser politician in today's world which may partly explain his short stint as Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Umno and Barisan Nasional(BN). In a world that measures success by material gains and power it may be timely to pay tribute to this man for his humility, simplicity and unwillingness to hurt the feelings of others including his enemies.

Pak Lah came to power with a landslide mandate unprecedented in the nation's history but over a short period of 5 years he was forced to relinquish the post because of his so-called “failures”. It was the virtues of humanity in him that led him to be seen as weak, indecisive and ineffective as a leader who was taken advantage by his political opponents that led to BN’s losses in the last general elections.

Despite the repeated and harshest criticisms, often unrealistic and unfair, from his predecessor, Pak Lah kept his cool and never for once retaliated although he had the power and means to do so. He also took criticisms from the opposition with an open mind. This shows his magnanimity to take criticisms and forgive even his adversaries. Similarly his recent meeting with the Opposition Leader which was described as coincidental was a sign of goodwill and tolerance for his opponents which are an asset for democracy.

His gentlemanly handling of the election losses in 2008 was remarkable that contributed to the peace and tranquility that followed. It would be frightening to imagine what would have happened if not for his willingness to accept the people's verdict with an open heart without anger and spite. He did not resort to vengeful means to thwart the progress of the opposition or silence dissent. If fact he can be credited for the possible evolution of a two-party system of democracy that would provide a better check and balance governance. Such a system would greatly benefit the people in the long run and is what we should all strive for.

Pak Lah's repeated assertions that he was the Prime Minister for all Malaysians should be emulated by all our leaders. It is time to discard the practice where a particular leader represents only his own community. Why can’t we adopt a new Malaysian outlook where a leader regardless of his ethnicity represents the interests of all races? It should become the new Malaysian political agenda where the people are identified not by their ethnicity but rather by their citizenry. It is the only way forward for greater peace, progress and prosperity in a highly competitive and materialistic global world.

Some has described the tenure of his premiership as a period of missed opportunities. This may be true to some extent as he was not bold enough to push through with his reforms with force due to resistance from within his own party. Many who loved him hoped he was more forceful and combative but would it be fair to expect a normal human to be perfect?

Pak Lah might not have brought great structural and material developments to the country to earn the backing of his political colleagues but by his virtues and the opening of a greater democratic space, he has certainly won a place in the hearts of ordinary Malaysians of all races. They would really miss his gentlemanly hand in the local political arena that is becoming increasingly more aggressive, hostile and vengeful.

Dr.Chris Anthony


Anonymous said...

yup, pak lah is good. because of him DSAI get a lot of space and opportunities to gain support from the people. if he is still in power, i am sure DSAI will be PM sooner. so sad he has to go

By azrinh, 12-Apr-2009

Anonymous said...

When he started as PM I had a lot of hope that he would transform Malaysia from a near dictatorial state to a more liberal one. However, he lacked the power and the will to carry out what he said.

This is, unfortunately, what he is, a nice guy who could not use his power for change! He lacked the brutality of others in power, but had he used it, he would not be different from others who use power to secure their position!

Now he is gone, let us remember him for what he is and I would like to just wish him all the best in retirement and also a thank you for whatever positive things he did in his reign.

God blessings.
By victorchew46, 13-Apr-2009

Anonymous said...

He has been very successful in making me switch to other channels during his speeches. We don't need a nice, gentlemanly old man. We need a leader and he failed.

ECONOMY is always number 1.
By ardyl, 13-Apr-2009

Anonymous said...

he was a good man.. but good men dont belong in politics.

By kaleiselvi71, 13-Apr-2009

Dr.Chris Anthony said...

Yup, maybe...he is gone because a lot of his own "kind” in UMNO was digging a grave for him without his knowledge. Another downfall was to get KJ into picture as he caused more damages. The more longer he stays, the more trouble he will face, especially with the other old man TDM. Maybe they might skin him alive!

Agreed with ardyl…We need leaders who are very enterprising and our ECONOMY is very important in order for us to survive and live a decent life.

By super_structure, 13-Apr-2009

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