Years ago when studying political science, Prof. Tannenbaum discussed the difference between a politician and a stateman. A politician is one trying to gain, maintain or promote his influence, power and position in a political party. A stateman has already established his position, is beyond ordinary politicking and power grabbing, and influences people through his wisdom, not through the party organs anymore.
How many of our senior and retired politicians can be categorized as statemen? It's unfortunate that we have lost some of our revered former leaders but we still have two ex-primier and several ex-ministers. They are in the best position to become statemen with the political and leadership experience they had behind them. How many can be categorically classified as a senior statemen now? If not all or not many who had occupied very high positions in the governance of the country before can be classified as such, why so?
I'm concerned with the kind of leadership or statemanship that Malaysia develops in its over 50 years of Independence.Is it of a calibre that can make us feel comfortable and proud or are we heading for a lacuna for such leadership that will lead to instability and disharmony? Are those eligible to be called statemen still politicking or advising and giving moral guidance to the current leaders to lead the nation to greatness and strength? What kind of an example are they setting for the future leaders?
This is just a thought. I've no answers. We can only search our conscience to come up with some answers that can be thrown around instead of being drowned by the political problems of the day.