Banker Nazir Abdul Razak and a group of 54 other prominent individuals have urged Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah and the Conference of Rulers to endorse the setting up of a non-partisan platform to propose reforms amidst the challenges faced by the country.
In a letter, Nazir said successive prime ministers have come into power promising substantial reforms, but these promises often give way to racial and religious overtones and little change is ultimately achieved.
In addition, he said parliamentarians often fail to address structural issues because they often prioritise short-term interests and their own election.
Therefore, he said, a deliberative platform – which he proposed should be named the “Better Malaysia Assembly” – would be a better approach to push reforms….
The assembly will deliberate on issues of nationhood and institutional reforms, including matters such as the electoral system, political funding, federal-state relations, role of institutions, affirmative action and education.
It would identify specific policies and legislative changes that are required, which Nazir estimated would take 18 to 24 months of deliberation behind closed doors to reach a consensus.
And how does Najib’s brother propose to implement these proposed reforms to be arrived at behind closed doors before being endorsed by royalty?
Should these self-appointed members of the establishment (who have dominated the country for the past 60 years and therefore own this mess) just issue these secretively negotiated solutions, dreamed up by the most privileged panjandrums of the nation, by Royal Decree and simply abolish the role of Parliament in the process?
It seems these are exactly the lines along which Najib’s brother happens to be thinking as he haughtily dismisses the suitability of elected representatives (i.e. politicians) to manage the nation.
Some cheek given that he comes from the family who has messed things up in recent years not least by over-centralising power, neutering the nation’s institutions and treating parliament like a class of children during the very limited period it has been allowed to sit.
The purpose of this steady erosion of democracy over very many years of UMNO party political dictatorship? The desire to loot without oversight by the elected representatives of the people, whom this major beneficiary of all that corruption now seeks to blame for the consequences of this destruction of democracy by his own greedy social elite.
With more crowning irony, Nazir seeks to use the record of the past two years as some kind of proof of the failings of parliamentary democracy. Yet it is exactly throughout this period that Parliament and democracy have been suspended by his establishment pals, leaving the country to be ruled by the King and his Counsel and puppet PMs.
The reforms that are needed in Malaysia are these:
a) a return to the rule of law – this needs no blue sky thinking on the part of Nazir Razak. The rules are there, you just need to start implementing them, instead of giving continual passes to privileged individuals like his brother and his gang of crooks.
b) The above needs a restoration of a parliament with teeth to punish the plutocratic oligarchs who have grabbed the levers of power to enrich themselves. (his own brother being the most glaring example)
c) To achieve this you must place the selection of the Speaker of Parliament back in the hands of the appropriate body i.e. Parliament not the PM.
The rest of the necessary reforms will follow from the above, if the meddling of corrupt establishment power-mongers can be kept at bay.
On the other hand, if the overbearing individuals who have controlled the country behind the scenes for decades, are put in charge via this proposed self-selected ’eminent persons group’ endorsed by royal figures, Malaysia will merely be looking at more of the same and worse.