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Tell Me More...

Below are few more questions received through the email that has been forwarded to me from the same group of people as in my previous post. I find some of the points are rather interesting to discuss as the views comes from those who see Malaysia from abroad.

1. How can the government in waiting prove itself? Show us the shadow cabinet and show us that it can govern. Take the shadow ministries in the UK – they make it a point to be critical of government policies, and more importantly, they take steps to keep us informed re the changes they would implement, or how they would respond to situations if they were in power. A brilliant example is the way in which Vince Cable, in his role as the Lib Dem’s shadow chancellor, responded to the Northern Rock crisis. Give future PR ministers a portfolio each, show us their vision.
I take this suggestion positively and do not consider it as a way of trying to show up the PR. It is really a great idea. However hampered by the following:-

• The BN’s cabinet itself was formed days after the appointment of the PM. Why? He had to see who won and what the options available to him. I do not remember a shadow cabinet by the BN prior to the elections.
• The same applies to the PR. We have to wait and see who else is joining and what they wish to see. The Sabahans and Sarawakians too may want cabinet posts which if we find the posts and the candidates suitable, why not? So in other words, we can’t decide on the team until we know the team members. This should take a few days after the appointment of the PM as was the case with the BN too.
• On the Shadow Cabinet, please note that the practice in the UK and Australia is that the members of the Shadow Cabinet have locus standi or legal standing. They are officially recognized and can access to most of the information of the Ministries which they shadow for. They then have sufficient information to make a substantive comment on various policies. Here in Malaysia we have very limited access to much of the information. As such our comments will be more at general policies rather than the details.
• With all due respect, the Malaysian population may not yet be at the level of the UK population vis-à-vis political consciousness. Please see answer to question 3.

2. PR has also been given the mandate to govern 5 states for the next 4 years at least. A lot can be done in that time. Show us the changes that they will want to implement. Show us cohesion. Show us the implementation of the rhetoric. Will there be a common economic and social policy across the states? Will contracts be awarded on a purely transparent basis, on a basis of meritocracy regardless of ethnicity? Will all those in sitting be happy to declare their finances in its entirety? Will the states start sponsoring students regardless of ethnicity? Anyone can promise the heavens, it’s the delivery that is the difficult bit.
• The changes are being implemented. The Selangor State Government has embarked on many policies with a clear vision. It wants to ‘Rakyatkan Ekonomi Negeri Selangor’. However this is possible in Selangor only as Selangor has sufficient economic strength. Unfortunately the economies of the other states are not as strong although they have similar ideals. Much of the taxes go to the Federal Government but at the very least we can optimize at the State level by ensuring no ‘ketirisan’ or ‘leakages’.
• Yes, contracts will be awarded on a transparent basis at the state level and with no political interference. Ethnicity is a reality which we will have to live with for a while longer until we are able to make some major adjustments, particularly at the Federal level. You can see what happened on the UiTM issue. However, even the ‘only for Bumiputra’ tenders will be managed in a transparent and professional manner with no room for cronyism. It is the practice of cronyism which led to the failure of the NEP in part.
• Yes and this is being done. The exco-members are all declaring their assets.
• I am not aware of any State sponsored students except for those sponsored by the religious authority from the collection of zakat. This is only for the Muslims and for religious studies. However if there are then I have no objection to sponsoring those who excel, irrespective of ethnicity as they are assets to the State. At the same time this is not to say that affirmative action policies are to be dispensed of completely. This will need a re-look and will be handled in a transparent manner. Please see also my response to the Malaysian Doctor and her article on why she voted for the BN here.

3. Nobody knows what Anwar has in store for the country except the man himself.
• Do we know what Dollah Badawi has in store for the country? I think it is unanimous that Anwar, together with Pakatan leaders want a cleaner and more responsible government. The leaders must realize that their posts are a responsibility held in trust and must be accountable to the people. We must make a move towards this direction and educate our people of their rights. The country will only stand to benefit if the people are themselves more politically conscious of what a true representative government is all about. At the very least this will be a process of political education for the benefit of all and sundry.
• UMNO keeps the Malays in particular very feudal in nature. Leaders are always honored even if they are the most unscrupulous individuals on the face of the earth. Leadership is seen to be a right and can be used in any way one desires. Even if a scandal occurs, the Malays think that it is normal. “Pemimpin, biasalah. Kalau kamu pemimpin pun kamu buat yang sama”. Then there are of course the cover ups.
• In the case of the PR at the very least within the party there will be a high level of ‘check and balance’. As I said before, Anwar can only lead us to where we want to go. PAS and DAP are equally indispensable to the PR to stay in power. The problem with BN was that UMNO was all too powerful and as the saying goes……"Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely" quoted from the man who knows firsthand, Tun M.

4. With regard to the current economic climate- Is it not essential for us to know the direction in which our country will be heading? Talk about making lives easier for the rakyat with measures such as the reduction of oil price, so is it not worth knowing the wider economic ramifications of such acts? If politicians do not appreciate economic concepts, how can they be expected to lead the country in terms of managing fiscal and monetary policies? How will they know which ones are worth implementing, which ones are worth more careful consideration? I don’t think flipping of coins is very helpful.
• Obviously this is important. What is also important is for us to see the economic ramifications to the rakyat when one increases the price of oil by 40% overnight. The fact of the matter is that we can optimize on many fronts and this optimization at the very least will be to the benefit of the rakyat.
• The fiscal and monetary policies will not be decided by Anwar alone in his back yard. Obviously the government officers from the economic planning unit will be utilized, their views sought as well as those prominent intellectuals and practitioners from the private and public sectors. Our experience in Selangor has exposed that many educated and trained government officers who gave responsible advice to the state government were just told to shut-up by the previous administration as the previous administration had other priorities in mind.

5. We do not know PR’s economic ideology. One does not have to be an economist to be able to grasp the fundamentals of such ideologies, as concepts can be more important than numbers. All the leaders have their own ideologies – the economic policies of Brown have been different from that of Bush, and if/when David Cameron comes into power, we know what the New Tories will want to bring about. Did we not do some sort of project into healthcare in the States and Ireland etc? Surely you must be aware that the healthcare policies (which include economic theory) of the Democrats and the Republicans are quite different, especially if Hillary Clinton has some say in it?
• Well, the PR has no specific economic ideology to which it is ideologically committed to. PKR, DAP and PAS would obviously have different ideologies if we really want to talk about it. It will do what it believes is best for the people but is of course pro-investment, pro-competition and pro-growth. At the same time it will emphasize on distribution and the establishment of services for the needy. PR does not want anyone to feel left out of the development process.
• At the moment there is gross injustice in that the selected few take all the benefits and the rakyat continue to pay through their noses for basic amenities.
• I believe a clearer picture of the policies will come into being when we sit at the Federal level and discuss it.

5. Forgive my ignorance, but what is the Islamic economic model as described by Ibn Khaldun? I am only aware of his labour theory of value. Do enlighten me. Is the model only BASED on Islamic principles and not necessarily encompass all of the required aspects of Islam, thus introducing the concept of fallibility? Is it being followed in its entirety by PR? If not, what aspects of OFFICIAL PR policy is a direct result of this model? And is the model an Islamic model.
• Fallibility is an Islamic concept. The only infallible entities in Islamic theology are God and His Prophet. Even with respect to the Prophet infallibility is in absolute terms only meaning in matters pertaining to the religion and his sincerity and love for humanity. In a well known incident involving the Prophet (May Peace and the blessings of God be upon him), the Prophet had queried the date palm growers on their practice of pruning the tree prior to fruition. The date palm growers for that year did not prune the tree and this lead to a bad harvest. The Prophet upon being told exclaimed that he had not intended it as an instruction but was only curious and added that on matters of their specialization, they are better informed!
• As such the Islamic ‘model’ so to say forms a general guide line. It tells us of the objectives such as being just in the economic dealings, distribution of wealth, protection and defense of the poor and the such. It acknowledges private ownership and free competition with modulation by the state. It forbids economic repression and thus out laws usury. The form which it takes may vary from time to time but maintains its similarities by maintaining the principles specified. It is obvious that in a fundamentally agricultural economy, the form would differ from those of an industrialized economy. This therefore means it is not a ‘tv dinner’ needing only to be micro-waved! A lot of thought has to be put into it and this human intervention therefore makes it fallible.
• That’s why even the greatest of Muslim jurists in Islams long history refused to allow their own interpretation to be enforced and all other interpretations banned(Imam Malik and his historic refusal to the Caliph of his time is a well known case in point). They realize this element of fallibility is ever-existing in their works. Unfortunately many wish to simplify, as always, and give the impression that everything is ready and we just implement. They who say this are just lazy and wish for God to do all the thinking for them.
• As for PR, no it is not an Islamic entity per say but it is not anti-Islam either. The Ibn Khaldun model is a model and can be referred to as PR develops its own policies based on consultation between its members. At the moment various approaches are being used at the different states based on their abilities and what they have at their disposal.

Wallahu ‘Alam


Anonymous said…
Question 3:Nobody knows what Anwar has in store for the country except the man himself.

Khalid answer: "Do we know what Dollah Badawi has in store for the country?"

My answer: "I dont think that even Dolah Badawi himself knows what he has in store for the country" :)

Cool answers YB, keep it up!!!
Anonymous said…
The posted questions are pertinent, relevant and appropriate.

Unfortunately your answers are mainly defensive. For example you describe that PR in the five states has already do this and that, but you have not come with any convincing argument to say that those efforts are much better than what's already in place or; how those efforts would benefit the people/country in the long run.

Thus far, what is offered by PR is open statement; i.e, we would remove corruption bla, bla, but you have not come up with a strategic plan to fight corruption.

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WaLlahu 'Alam   KHALID SAMAD