Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Weak Government is not good for Multi-racial Malaysia


Posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at www.chedet.com on May 2, 2008 1:00 PM

I would like to thank all visitors to chedet.com. for their kind words and for welcoming me to the blogosphere. To be honest, I was indeed surprised by the overwhelming response to my weblog.

To my critics and detractors I welcome your comments, but I would appreciate that responses be focussed on the issue that I blog. This is to allow a healthy debate and to gauge points of view which differ from my own.

I apologise that due to the overwhelming traffic, I may not be able to respond to all comments and queries as much as I would like to. I will be selective and respond to points repeatedly raised by commentators in relation to what I've posted.

I shall also not respond, unless absolutely necessary, to issues that have been raised and answered by me in other forums, especially those pertaining to unsubstantiated allegations.
With regards to my first posting on the appointment of judges, most commentators disagreed with my comment that when Government works with the opposition it is a sign of weakness, and that I consider the opposition as the enemy.

Politically, the opposition is the enemy. Being forced to work with the opposition is not undemocratic but it shows up the weakness of the Government.

A weak government is not good for multi-racial Malaysia. It leads to unwarranted challenges against its authority. Governments cannot please everybody. If a Government cannot be firm and is forced to flip-flop there will be a lack of confidence which does not augur well for the smooth implementation of policies or project. Some people might already have noticed this.

A Government with little need for opposition support would be better able to disregard the sniping that all Governments must face. It should however take note of opposition views and respond where necessary.

In today's context, the Federal Government is unable to initiate necessary changes to the constitution and would be held to ransom every time.

One of the most important things about a two-thirds majority is that there would be hardly any threat of defection. Today we hear of this threat everyday. The leadership of the Barisan Nasional is like a cat on hot bricks. And cats on hot bricks cannot achieve anything.

Previous Federal Governments had never failed to obtain the two-thirds majority. As a measure of strength, a two-thirds majority allows a Government to do everything on its own and be totally independent.

But perhaps the proposed request for opposition support is made with sincerity in the spirit of democracy.

The question is why now? Why not when the Government had 90 percent majority after the General Election of 2004? Changes to the way judges are picked could have been done after the 2004 resounding victory.

I have always been of the opinion that this country must have a strong and independent Federal Government which can then serve the country and people without fear or favour.

But I have been on record in advocating a strong opposition. This is to ensure the Government does not stray from the right path, or abuse its authority.

The combination of a strong (two-thirds majority) Government and an Opposition with the capacity and willingness to check abuses by the Government would serve Malaysia well.

As to the Government's latest proposal to set up a judicial commission, is it because it now thinks it is a good thing or is it a desperate attempt to win back the support it has lost?

As for my criticisms of the leaders of the present Government, I believe I have every right to do so. Retiring from the Government simply means giving up authority and power. It does not mean I must abdicate my role as a citizen. I have every right to be concerned over the flip-flopping mismanagement of this country and that of the party I helped to revive in 1987.

The party does not belong to Dato Seri Abdullah alone. Nor is it meant to support him as leader even when he mishandled the elections and the country. The party does not belong to me either. It belongs to all its members. Presently the members are not permitted to be critical. They can merely say yes to what Dato Seri Abdullah says or does.

Since the opposition is also supporting Dato Seri Abdullah, if I do not criticise, then no one will. And without criticisms the Government and Dato Seri Abdullah can really go wrong.

(Reminder: I welcome criticisms and critical comments and I will publish them. However, I will not publish comments containing profanities and demeaning references to certain names. Anonymous postings will also not be published.)