Archive for July 22nd, 2008

UMNO-PAS “Malay Unity” talks

The Federal Government spent RM100 million for the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations last year. For what?

It should be to celebrate half-a-century of nationhood to build a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-lingual nation where our diversity is the strongest national asset and to chart out the path to achieve the Vision 2020 objective of a Bangsa Malaysia in the remaining 13 years.

But Malaysian nation-building has gone backwards and the Vision 2020 objective of a “Bangsa Malaysia” is increasingly frowned upon as a misplaced target.

The recent revelation by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that there has been three Umno-PAS talks to address issues of Muslim and Malay unity since the March 8, 2008 general election has raised to the fore the question why the pre-eminent issue bothering the Prime Minister is still that of Malay unity rather than Malaysian unity. Read the rest of this entry »


That Boring Yet Necessary thing called Governance

By Farish A. Noor

For two weeks now, this political scientist has been sidetracked from his work on transnational religio-political movements by the controversy that has erupted in Malaysia as a result of the accusations of sodomy levelled against former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. This is not the first time I have been way-laid in the line of duty; for scandals, controversies and conspiracy theories have the rather nasty habit of popping up when you least expect it in the Asian region.

Now this comes as an unwelcome change for me as I have spent half my life in Europe and the last seven years in Germany. Allow me to make a very simple (and admittedly general) comparison here: Politics in Germany, like much of Western Europe, tends to be dull, dull, dull. Politicians have less colourful lives than their Asian counterparts and it would be the event of the century if a senior German politician was caught with his pants down or accused of sodomy of all things.

Indeed, one of the outstanding features of German politics – particularly on the level of local governance – is how dreadfully boring it is. It also happens to be painfully serious, and as someone who has seen local government at work in Germany I can tell you that it can put even the most imaginative among us to sleep in nary a second. Read the rest of this entry »