Monday, February 20, 2017

the fear of changing leaders…...

I'm not a follower of world politics keeping a close look at leadership changes in various countries. But I've observed so many changes of leadership in many countries. Leaders come and go, voluntarily or by force, accompanied by many traumatic experience. But life goes on, often much better. It's where the current leadership refuses to go that untold problems and unhappiness arise.

Malaysia is one country where the leadership often overstays its welcome. The first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, had to be removed after the occurrence of the 13th May incident in 1967. Tun Razak who took over, was greatly loved by all but succumbed to ill-health as did his successor, Tun Hussein Onn. Tun Mahathir served the longest i.e. for 22 years as PM and though he was well respected as an effective, forward-looking and a no-nonsense leader, staying too long in office breeds charges of despotism and even megalomania. But he negated all by relinquishing the post unexpectedly and voluntarily, to allow a younger man to take over.

In just a few years we realised that popularity alone cannot make a good an effective Prime Minister and Datuk Seri (now Tun)Abdullah Badawai was replaced. Datuk Seri Najib, the son of our greatly-loved Tun Razak took over …and he made Malaysia what she is today. Far better or greater than it was before or worse off, it's up to ones judgement.. He was considered to be the most appropriate man to take over when Tun Abdullah stepped down. But now he has become a most controversial PM and many demanded his resignation. But it doesn't happen. Why?

The obvious answer is that there is no outstanding and readily acceptable leader to take over, beside the fear of a leadership change. Unlike the changes made before, this time around there is no heir-apparent who can be anointed quickly and without any fear of an outright rejection by the people . Every possible nominee to take over as head of the ruling party in power (i.e. UMN0-Barisan) and becomes the PM, has a stigma or a shortcoming of some sort, made obvious by the refusal of the current leader to step down. He expects total loyalty from his Ministers and supporters, even if they lack intelligence. Those who disagree with policy stands and decisions are quickly shown the door.

He now has all the handles of power in his grip, the power to select whoever he likes to hold important public offices, and he has all the money to buy the allegiance of the rakyat needing government's aid to survive. So, the opposition party leaders and his arc enemies can do whatever they like, say whatever they want. It won't hurt him. If it does, the source can be quickly removed in ways within the legal framework of his administration. Can he be removed through the next General Election. Well, the election machinery is under his control and if the ruling party looses there can be chaos and the an emergency rule can be proclaimed with the military taking over under the control of a caretaker government, the current government.

What then can Malaysians do to break away from this bind? They must face the choice: continue with the present scenario or accept a change of leadership without any fear of the consequence. Change the leadership first then shoulder whatever responsibilities involved to face the problems that arise. The fear of a change itself is the greatest fear for us to step in a new direction. The Trump Administration as ushered in by the Americans can be taken as an example. Otherwise, just be happy with what you have. Staging a move against the elected government will be inviting the havoc that many countries such as Syria is undergoing.

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