Sunday, March 16, 2008
Chance to shape a new political frontier
PETALING JAYA: Malaysians need to think out of the box following the changes resulting from the recent general election, said a well-known political scientist.
The election results that transcended racial and religious sentiments have opened up possibilities of a new construct, said Dr Farish Noor, a Senior Fellow of NTU Singapore's Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
“Being in the frontier, we have no map or compass.
“We need to be brave to imagine,” he said, adding there was a need to look beyond superstition in charting new territories.
“Can Umno consider the possibility of a president from a Kadazan, Bajau, Iban, Penan or Peranakan background, PAS a non-Malay Muslim president or DAP a Malay or Indian leader?” Dr Farish asked during the Post-elections analysis open dialogue organised by the Centre for Public Policy Studies yesterday.
“Are we forever to remain beholden to history and trapped by the circumstances of the past?
Or are we going to admit to ourselves that this nation-state of ours is an invented construct and as such is also open to deconstruction, revision, adaptation and subsequently evolution?”
While deconstructing Malaysia, new leaders would encounter such obstacles that need to be overcome, he said
Human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz said there was a need for civil society to be vigilant and hold the new state governments to higher standards of leadership.
The new leaders from the Opposition were generally young, while the Barisan Nasional had to be viewed constructively as a counter-balancing force because absolute power corrupts, he added.
Executive director of Sedar Institute Khoo Kay Peng said the relationship between the Federal Government and state governments would have to operate on a new dimension and that the former could not ignore the power held in five states.
Columnist Zainon Ahmad said the mainstream media had behaved disgracefully during the elections but would now have to reinvent itself to keep the people informed.
Let's give them credit where it's due.