Hornbill Unleashed

October 27, 2011

A council of the people for the people

Filed under: Alternatives,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , ,


It is illogical that the fate of the country should lie in the hands of a coterie of mostly self-seeking politicians.

For which inconveniences, the doctrine of Italy, and practice of France, in some kings’ times, hath introduced cabinet counsels; a remedy worse than the disease. – Francis Bacon

Malaysia aspires to be the best democracy in the world and the best way to achieve it is to do away with the Cabinet where only a few heads decide the fate of the country. Times have changed and new eras called for fresh thinking and creative ideas. The Cabinet is a political creature modelled after the Westminster system. It took roots in the 16th century at a time when kings called the shots in Europe. The monarchs would listen to advice given in a private room or Cabinet. It was even said the practice was not a product of British thought but was imported from Italy and France and thus this “dubious foreign habit” was viewed with suspicion in London. But the Mother of Parliament gave birth to so many colonies which readily accepted this alien habit. Malaysia, once dominated by the white masters, also swallowed the Westminster pill.

Over the years, the Malaysian Cabinet has expanded and many believed all those ministers elected by the people would fight for the people. What the Cabinet says eventually becomes law for the ministers are the ones who determined the policies of the government and set out the direction for the country to move forward. All the decisions are collectively made and no one minister can break away from the rank and speak his mind. If a mega project is discussed in the Cabinet and approved by all the “Yes” ministers, it becomes a fait accompli. If anything goes wrong, no one minister can be blamed. If one minister were to disagree, the rule of the majority holds sway and the dissident can quit or stay put and smile for the camera. There could be heroes and villains bashing each other in the “private room” but the outside world will never know.

Our Cabinet, like all others, operates under a veil of secrecy. All information is confidential and anyone who leaks it is in deep trouble. This air of mystery and detachment makes the ministers look so special, officious, self-important. They carry the weight of the country on their shoulders but then they do not reveal the bad decisions they have made until something goes awry and the matter comes to court, where the beans will be spilled. Indeed, there is no transparency in the conduct of the Cabinet when transparency and accountabililty are being assiduously promoted. The government preaches lofty principles to the people but the Cabinet hides behind its privileged status and makes “war” on the people. While the people fight to retain their rights to their land, the Cabinet surreptitiously gives the go-ahead to grab their land. While refugees are generally not welcomed, the Cabinet sprung a surprise when it signed a pact (now dead) with a foreign country to bring asylum seekers to our shores. All the ministers elected to public office have made the country a private affair: nobody must know the true intention of the government.

Narrow interests

It makes sense then when a Gerakan Youth member recently floated the idea that a Barisan Nasional council be set up and made superior to the Cabinet. The reasoning is simple: BN is a joint government and therefore all the component parties must have a say in running the country. The government does not belong to Umno, MCA, MIC or Gerakan. It belongs to the people who, through their elected representatives, should be mooting proposals and channelling their views on various issues that affect them. Why should one minister decide on a matter of national importance? Why should only ministers monopolise the decision-making process when a BN council can look at the overall picture and be a better judge of policies? Members of the BN council need not be ministers. They can be Members of Parliament or leaders who hold positions in their parties. All decisions made will be based on consensual agreement and not on the whims and fancies of a particular minister. It may even turn out that members of the BN council may have better ideas than the ministers who often pander to racial prejudice or serve the narrow interests of their constituents or are too arrogant and insensitive to listen to the pleas of the people.

Ministers are powerful figures. When a minister speaks up in the Cabinet, he speaks for his community. He acquires a hero status when he is the sole representative of his ethnic group. But when another minister makes a decision that affects the interests of all races, the hero can only watch helplessly or sulk in the corner. He can only move in his own territory and cannot launch any cross-border raids. Some ministers may even enjoy a wider berth and may introduce policies that will upset the ethnic balance – and the injustice can cause grievous harm to democracy. A multi-ethnic country like Malaysia does not need a Cabinet which reeks of intrigue, duplicity, chicanery. It is illogical that the fate of the country should lie in the hands of a coterie of mostly self-seeking politicians. It’s time we opened the doors wider and allow more heads to run the show.


  1. They are our “LEECH-ER”, blood suckers, not Leaders.

    Comment by RC — October 30, 2011 @ 12:25 AM | Reply

  2. Majority of Malaysian, especially Sarawakian are lazy to think critically . They are mostly God fearing and government fearing bunch of people. They have been trained/brainwashed to obey the laws, police, repesct the elders. The police, MACC, army in Sarawak are just private guard dogs for Tiab’s wealth. They are not here to protect the citizens.
    Sarawakian are like zombies.They make a few complaints, then head off to makan , shopping at the new malls and they forgot everything else.
    Why are Mahathir, Najib and Tiab so powerful….well just look in the mirror..We “created” them.
    These are clowns and fools and we should vote them out. We are the government maker !

    Comment by GPM — October 29, 2011 @ 11:56 PM | Reply

  3. By democratic & transparent standards, Mahathir, Najib & Taib should have been in jail many years ago! End of the story!
    NZ’s parliamentarian Taito Philip Field is now in jail for corruption in the region of a few thousand dollars.

    Comment by Alan Newman, NZ — October 29, 2011 @ 10:26 PM | Reply

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