Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mongolia unimpressed by Najib's "1Malaysia"


Living in the shadow of Najib’s 1 Malaysia

Tunku Aziz | Malaysian Insider | 26 Sept 2009

SEPT 26 — I was in Seoul last Monday to participate in the World Forum for Democratisation in Asia (Third Biennial Conference) on “Sustaining Democratisation in Asia: Challenges of Economic and Social Justice” with some 200 delegates from Asia and the United States.

The conference brought together people from diverse backgrounds and of all ages, to seek ways of strengthening, and arresting the rapidly declining state of democracy in their countries. These men and women, all with impeccable credentials as human rights advocates, shared many of the same democratic values that have inspired human beings through the ages, all over the world, to make great personal sacrifices against humanly impossible odds in the name of justice and freedom from the tyranny of state-sanctioned human rights abuses, such as we are subjected to in Malaysia regularly.

I spoke on the panel on “Citizen Participation and Political Accountability.” In the audience were participants from Indonesia, the US, India, Cambodia, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia and Mongolia, among others.


I thought I was doing well, having made some rather important points on the need for citizens to take charge of their own destiny as freedom was far too important to be left to the tender mercies of politicians, many of whom were charlatans at best and untrustworthy to boot. I mentioned as an example how citizens’ active participation in the March 2008 general election in my country had succeeded in changing, albeit ever so slightly, the 50-year corrupt political landscape, a feat that was nothing short of miraculous given the corrupt and repressive environment against which they were fighting to change.

I must confess that I was somewhat surprised that interest in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “baggage” had extended beyond the shores of Malaysia. Blame the borderless cyber technology for this unwelcome attention. Before I could finish my final remark, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the personable Yale- and Princeton-educated Ms. Oyungerel Tsedevdamba, advisor to the President of Mongolia. She wanted to know, in the nicest possible way, why Malaysian citizens had voted for a person of Najib’s known reputation to assume the highest political office, and, she continued, was it true that in the Altantuya Shaariibuu trial, the Malaysian judiciary was acting improperly to protect Najib?

We do not, of course, have direct prime ministerial elections in Malaysia. I explained that the prime minister was elected by his party; Umno. It says more about the integrity of the party than perhaps the person it elected to high office. Now, I am not unused to being asked all kinds of questions in my years of public speaking, both at home and abroad, but this, about the murder trial of Altantuya threw me off balance.

Ms Tsedevdamba was putting the proverbial cat among the pigeons. It caused a real flutter in my dovecot, no pun intended. My character and integrity would be put under close scrutiny, effectively on trial, and as in any trial, telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth would, I thought, be the best policy.

I am fiercely patriotic, proud of our many achievements in a number of important areas, but like many of you I often hang my head in utter shame and humiliation when I see the cynical manipulation of democratic principles by a government that seems to have lost its moral capital by developing an unethical and immoral political behaviour into a fine art form. To them who govern this country, the end would seem to justify the means.


In this respect, it is useful to remind ourselves what Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, when he was Prime Minister, used to proclaim, without a tinge of embarrassment, that we were a democracy because we held regular elections. It was not important to the emasculator (or perhaps constrictor is a more appropriate word in his case) of human rights that they might not always have been free and fair. What Dr Mahathir and his Umno friends have never appreciated, or deliberately failed to acknowledge, is the fact that democracy is not just about elections. It is what happens between elections that really is the point at issue...

[Read the full story here.]

Tunku Aziz, one of the prime movers in setting up Transparency International Malaysia, in happier times was regarded by Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi as "one man (who) was able to harness his personal passion and deep commitment to the values of ethics and integrity, give it a larger purpose and meaning, and turn it into a force to transform society for the better." Why then was he left out of the MACC Advisory Group? He is regarded as being too outspoken for comfort and, therefore, difficult to handle.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

where is our daughter Aminah ah !!??

stormsea7 said...

...I am not sure to whether laugh at the picture or be sadden by the simple truth...