|We demand development and democracy|
| We demand development and democracy |
Friday, 02 October 2009 23:33
Francis Loh observes that more and more Malaysians are demanding both development and democracy. The deepening of democracy in Malaysia requires the consolidation of a two-coalition political system.
On 21 August 2009, a ‘Forum Perdana’ was held in the Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang, Penang, to honour Teoh Beng Hock, who was found dead after having been interrogated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for more than 10 hours (beginning from 5.00pm on 15 July to 3.45am the next day). Teoh, a political aide to Ean Yong Hian Wah, a Selangor State Exco member, was found on the fifth-floor rooftop of Plaza Masalam, which also houses the Selangor MACC, nine floors above.
MACC's credibility at stake
Malaysians are asking why the MACC is chasing after DAP and PKR elected assembly members in Selangor over alleged misuse of quite ‘mosquito’ amounts of constituency development funds. The explanation offered by the MACC’s deputy commissioner is that complaints have been filed against these PR politicians. If that be the case, what then has happened to the complaints that were filed by PR politicians and other concerned Malaysians in 2008 against previous BN assembly members for the same kind of offences? In one instance, a BN assemblyman had spent almost RM500,000 in Selangor state allocations in 44 days just prior to the 2008 election!
Complaints were also filed against the former assembly members of Kampung Tunku, Kajang and Taman Medan. A media item on 29 July 2009 further reported two cases of suspected fraud uncovered in two Village Development and Security Committees (JKKK) by the Selangor executive councilor in charge of the JKKKs. He had filed reports against the two erring JKKKs several months ago. Yet, in contrast to its investigations into the PR assembly members, the MACC does not appear to be acting with the same lightning speed on these earlier cases involving BN politicians.
It is not surprising that Malaysians have focused on issues of development rather than on democratising our politics; after all a global economic crisis is looming. President Obama, the EEC leaders and Prime Minister Aso Taro of Japan have all focused attention on the economic crisis too.
While these are pertinent criticisms, it is important to keep in mind the larger political picture as well. In fact, political constraints had circumscribed the development capacity of the PR state governments. In defence of the PR state governments, three explanations might be offered.
Instead, one of the major undertakings of the PR governments appears to be trying to expose the BN skeletons that have been hidden in the closets over the past 50 years. As mentioned earlier, the Selangor state government has been unearthing skeletons, examples of which include the following:
Dr Francis Loh is Professor of Politics in Universiti Sains Malaysia and Secretary of Aliran.Stay connected, current and committed to justice. We deliver the truth right to your doorstep every month for only RM30 a year -- which is far less than your newspaper bill each month. All you have to do is click here.
Justice was never won without personal sacrifice - whether measured in time volunteered, energy devoted to a cause, or financial support generously given. We need your support in our struggle for justice. Your contribution no matter how small will be like a droplet that builds up into a wave of change. Click here if you would like to contribute financially.