By Tunku Zain Al-'Abidin Muhriz
This ebook includes articles chosen commonly from the author's column, Abiding occasions, in theSun, Malaysia, in addition to people with Tengku Zatashah Idris, Syed Haizam Jamalullail, Sharyn Shufiyan and Quek Sue Yian. released among March 2008 and August 2010, they have been written within the interval after Tunku Zain's go back from the USA and as much as the Proclamation of the eleventh Yang di-Pertuan Besar. From calling for the assessments and balances so an important to the potent functioning of a democratic society to be bolstered, to reminding all members in a democratic society in their rights and obligations, the author writes in language that's effortless to learn and with a wry feel of humour.
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This book, I am sure, will generate many more fans, young and old, who may be initially surprised at how much of what he says resonates with what they believe. Indeed, while some of their arguments might seem challenging or counterintuitive, Tunku ’Abidin and colleagues at IDEAS are certainly asking the right questions and casting the right doubts. Perhaps, in the future, they may face censure, ridicule or condemnation by the government of the day. It may throw them off balance and cause them to lose heart, but in them I see a determination and strategic foresight that will run rings around whatever is thrown in their path.
It is pointed out that elections are rare and it may be years before MPs can be punished, but trusting representatives to make decisions in our interest until the next election forms the basis of our democratic system. If that is to be changed, then we are in the realm of much wider reforms. There may well be cases where a candidate’s promises to constituents would be better performed by switching parties, and it should not be assumed that MPs only ever switch parties for suspicious reasons. An opportunity now exists to rise above such cynicism in politics; or are our elected representatives so feebleminded that a law should replace the strength of their convictions?
Although the opposition’s dream of breaking BN’s two-third majority has been realised, the first battle in the Dewan Rakyat may not be across the floor, but between the benches. If the time comes to vote on the passage of this bill, and backbenchers from all sides defy their party whips, voting instead to preserve their freedoms and independence, a first-class parliament will loom on the horizon regardless of which way the ships sail. 03 Towards a Politics of Ideas theSun, 5 June 2008 NOW that exhortations of change are the norm rather than the exception—indeed emanating from the cabinet itself—perhaps it is time for us to look at another ingredient of democracy which should be redefined in our mission to advance to the next stage of political sophistication: ideology.