Saturday, May 16, 2009

BN-PR talks,hope for solution to Perak crisis?

Listening to the people a sign of strength

In an interesting but encouraging turn of events we finally seem to see some light for an amicable solution to the Perak crisis that has paralyzed not just the silver state but the nation as a whole. The willingness of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to have talks with the Pakatan Rakyat is indeed a positive sign that must be a sigh of relief for many. It is further encouraging that the Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has also agreed to the talks without any pre-conditions.

Malaysians in general hope such a meeting of the BN and PR leaders will materialize soon to enhance democracy and the government institutions in Perak. It would also augur well for the democracy in the country that has been generally perceived to be on the decline in recent times.

Both the BN and PR leaders should realise that whatever decisions they take should be for the well being of the people of Perak and not to strengthen their own political positions. They must therefore be willing to compromise for an amicable solution to the crisis. The cooperation between them should be based on the spirit of mutual respect and adherence to the law whereby the final winner must undoubtedly the rakyat not any particular individual or party.

It is of utmost importance that both parties must agree to uphold and respect the constitution and the rule of law at all times as failure to do so is the cause of the ongoing crisis. The state and all government institutions too must abide by the law and act impartially and unemotionally if they are genuine in wanting to overcome the political impasse. Taking sides in the conflict by the various public institutions is not only wrong but will only complicate further the already complex situation.

Najib has promised major changes and reforms since taking office. All his efforts to reform and revamp the system and may be meaningless if he does not solve the Perak crisis in a legitimate way acceptable to the people. Involving the courts and the rulers is not only a waste of their time but unnecessary as they get tainted in the process.

If the Prime Minister can bring the constitutional crisis in Perak to end in the way the people want and in accordance with our nation’s constitutional and democratic principles, he will have all to gain as by doing so he will be able to win the hearts of the people. On the contrary any delay in submitting to the wishes of the people will only erode the trust and confidence of the people in the BN government.

The public debate on Perak crisis has provided an in-depth knowledge and understanding for Malaysians on their democratic rights, the doctrine of separation of powers, the status of a house speaker and the constitution procedures in the appointment of the head of a government. The crisis has made the people wiser and politically more mature.

This is mainly due to the advances in the cyber-media, emergence of vibrant and investigative bloggers and journalists, and a new breed of young politicians who have risen above the racial divide to work together as Malaysians. With greater wisdom and maturity, the voters’ demand for political credibility, respect to rule of law, natural justice and good governance is going to increase with time. Every leader however high ranking and even the rulers are not going to be spared from public scrutiny. Malaysians are not going to be passive but are going to insist to be part of the decision-making process.

To the people the solution to this crisis is simple; return to them the right re-elect the government of their choice. This has been opined by legal and political experts, veteran politicians, Suhakam and even by members of certain component parties in BN. With such a united call for re-election, it will be unwise to ignore the feelings of the masses.

Sadly in today’s confrontational politics, submitting to the demands of the people is seen as a sign of weakness. On the contrary listening and acting in accordance with the will of the people is a sign of strength that must not be underestimated. History has shown that in any showdown with the people, despite all the odds stacked against them, the people will always win in the end, their will finally prevails.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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