Opinion

You can’t teach an old politician new tricks

Zan Azlee

Zan Azlee is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, New Media practitioner and lecturer. He runs Fat Bidin Media www.fatbidin.com

What happens when an elected representative does something in office that is against the wishes of his electorate?

To be more specific, what if he does something without consulting his constituency and is mainly for his own personal benefit?

Well, in most cases around the world, this would be unethical and the elected representative would come under heated pressure and probably lose in the next election.

But in Malaysia, it happens to be quite all right. Because, you see, in this country, elected leaders are one step higher than normal people.

What they say is like gospel for everybody. Don't believe me? Then check out our newspapers. It is filled with elected leaders saying this and that as advise for the people.

Take for example, the new Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Ahmad Hamidi, who recently said that the Sedition Act should not be abolished.

He says this with full aplomb as if his judgement is the right one and should be the decision best for the country.

In truth, the Sedition Act is as archaic as the ISA and a sack of fosillised mammoth bones that is about to turn into petroleum and then processed by Petronas.

At the moment, the Sedition Act cover is just too wide and vague that it allows the authorities a lot of leeway for manipulation. So, it deserves at least an update.

Even the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, announced much earlier (many times, even) that the act would be abolished.

And it is not just Ahmad Zahid who is against the abolition of the Act. Many other BN leaders are too. So, I guess this just shows that many leaders are still too entrenched in old politics.

This old politics is the one that makes them think they do not have to answer to anyone and that they were elected through divine intervention.

An elected representative needs to listen to what the public wants because they need to realise that it is this public that holds the fate of their political career.

As it is, the popular vote has already been lost by the Barisan Nasional. They cannot afford to further alienate this segment of the population.

It does not take a genius political analyst to deduce that the Malaysian public wants an immediate change. If it is not a change of the guards, then at least a change within.

Malaysians are smart and getting smarter, and likewise, they want smart people to represent them too. This is only natural.

So to stay on top, politicians these days cannot be same old guards who are not of the same intellectual capabilities as the rest of Malaysia.

Gone are the days when democracy was supposed to be ‘Malaysian style’. It is no longer top down where those who have been elected write the rules.

Democracy is democracy no matter where it is practised, and what it means is that the people decide and write the rules.

Those who have been elected are only there to serve that purpose, which is to represent those who elected them, with their best interests at heart.

And then, boom! What does Ahmad Zahid decide to do again? He, along with his deputy, Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, goes all god-like again!

They decide to go against the decision of a panel of distinguished law professionals consisting of chief justices, lord presidents, lawyers, academics, journalists and thinkers.

According to these two who seem to know the law better, setting up an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) is unconstitutional.

Oh well, as they say, you really can’t teach an old politician new tricks. Or something like that, right? - July 12, 2013.

 

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.


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