Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Amanah Agenda — part 1 — Sakmongkol AK47

July 24, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

JULY 24 — Last Friday, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah launched the setting up of another NGO. It is called Amanah. Its full name is Angkatan Amanah Merdeka. The name suggests that, independence and the wider meaning term, freedom, is a responsibility entrusted upon our shoulders.

It seems the main ingredients of an independent nation are being eroded and violated with irresponsible impunity. Our economy is slowly going to be run by powerful economic plutocracy. An elite group has taken over the planning and running of the country. We are simultaneously enthralled and goaded into believing that our economy can get better miraculously through stylish presentation using Microsoft PowerPoint authored by expensively paid consulting companies. Those people in Balakong, Sungai Besi and Jalan kelang Lama did not need power point presentations authored by McKinsey consultants. They didn’t have to pay Idris Jala for leveraging on McKinsey people either!

The economic elite are working hand in hand with the political elite of this country so that from democracy, we are moving toward Plutarchy. Plutarchy is the combination of plutocracy- the rule of the wealthy and oligarchy- the rule of the few. These people are no longer talking about development costs of millions- they are now talking about billions- the billion Ringgit MRT, the billion Ringgit River of Life Project, no billion- no talk. How is our country’s finances managed? Can we trust them?

Our founding fathers gave us a Westminster’s type of democracy and we accepted it. We accept wholeheartedly that the way to form a government is through peaceful means and that is through fair and clean general elections. It must also mean that combatants and contestant are accorded the same facilities and treatment en route to forming a government. We accepted also a constitutional monarchy whereby the Malay rulers accept unreservedly that this country belongs to the people. By that, the rulers accept that they are also subjected to the powers of the constitution, whereby, rulers are also governed by the rule of law and do not have unbridled and absolute discretionary powers. What has happened then? The tipping point came in the late 80s when one person hijacked the democratic heritage and enthralled the nation with the glitter of fast-tracked material advancements. Since then, this country has traveled only on one option- divisiveness. Our heralded and self-congratulatory development is generally paid by the erosion of the democratic ingredients that we spoke of above. We praised and patted ourselves by calling our leaders, fathers of this and that. These terms are alas, empty phrases aimed essentially at according ourselves the feel good feeling.

The aim of Bersih for example, was directed at one of these- which is, fundamental in a democracy is the way we choose our government. It must be done in a fair and clean manner. We have chosen a free market economy but nowadays, what is free, is the freedom by certain cliques in our country to plunder and gobble up the economy. Hence we no longer speak of millions and even 100 of millions but billions. The traffic congestion which is the bane of people in the Kelang valley can easily be solved cheaper by construction of elevated highways. But powerful economic oligarchs proposed to build an MRT whose final costs cannot be determined as yet.

I am not going to repeat its agenda, mission statement etc. these can be found in the concise booklets that were handed out on that day.

Let me cut to the chaff or cut to the chase what Amanah actually stands for. I attended the inaugural launch the other day. I had the chance to listen to the rather long welcoming speech by Kadir Sheikh Fadzir.

Now, Kadir has never struck me as a thoughtful and thinking person. He was the quintessential bon vivant with the bow tie. He would, I think be more at home dining at Lafite at Shangri-La rather than with the thrust and parry of raw politics. On that day however, he was talking sense. Perhaps the articulation was the product of a profound appreciation of the sorry state of affairs that has overtaken our country.

But that, my readers, will in another installment.

* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified

No comments:

Post a Comment