It’s the system that turns good leaders bad

Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz | November 28, 2012
Free Malaysia Today

Malaysians think that by changing the present set of bad people with good ones everything will be all right, but nothing is farther from the truth.


People do not want to believe that if you have an intrinsically bad system, you are good at the beginning, but you are eventually going to degenerate.

But people don’t want to accept this.

Let’s assume Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is a good person (he probably is) but the system which sustains him is bad. It will eventually cause him to turn bad.

So it isn’t enough to transform society by changing the people leading it, but the system that structures our society must be changed too.

That is our (Pakatan Rakyat’s ) agenda now. Not just changing of guards, but changing the system that structures our society.

Just as a free market requires a libertarian system or liberal democracy, so do good people at the top who can stay good but only if we have a good system of government.

The leader who respects the opinions of the people he leads stays a good leader but only if the system sustains him so.

But Najib can’t stay a good leader because Umno structures the world around us in a bad way.

Najib’s New Economic Model (NEM) in reality is just an extension of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s way of renouncing the NEP and choosing to jump-start Malay economics by picking and choosing winners.

He, at that point, chose mostly devils he knew and enriched them.

Najib is now continuing to do the same by his market-driven affirmative action that forms his NEM.

Dangerous thinking

Author Fredrik Hayek makes an interesting point in his book, “The Road to Serfdom”. He explains why the worst get to the top.

If we interpret his observation against modern terms, it is that people are willing to suspend reality in exchange for a sanitised world.

Hayek opines that it is dangerous to think that “good men can overcome a bad system”. It is simply wrong thinking.

Malaysia unfortunately appears to be in that situation.

We adjust ourselves and accommodate totalitarian tendencies believing that such a system or political arrangement is not at fault.

We think that by changing the present set of bad people with good and decent people, everything is all right.

But nothing is farther from the truth.

The agenda the opposition seeks is not only changing the bad people on top, but reforming the structure of this country.

If we don’t put the correct structure in place, even when good men lead, they will soon be overwhelmed by the system.

The writer is a former Umno state assemblyman but has since joined DAP. He is a FMT columnist.

  1. #1 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 - 9:34 am

    Couldnt agree more.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 - 10:05 am

    THIS guy is true blue original Malay Nationalist – the kind Tunku would have been proud of.

    If the opposition fails to make this GE about Mahathir, I would be very dissapointed. He clearly already has no choice but to play a prominent role in the coming campaigns and play right into PAS and DAP’s hand..

    Really, PR has to remind the Malaysian of what Tunku said about Mahathir and his kind (mereka cuba menjaja lampu baru untuk mendapat lampu ajaib lama)

  3. #3 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 - 10:11 am

    Pakatan will inherit a really bad Operating System, a system created by ‘devils’.

    What will it do then? Can it get rid of all the worms, parasites, malwares, trojans, viruses that is already entrenched within?

    • #4 by cemerlang on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 - 11:14 am

      Just like the Emperors back those days with his team of eunuch advisors. Well if you think of the system like a computer system, you will have to reboot it, you will have to terminate all the virus, you will have to clear the whole system and put back the correct data.

  4. #5 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 - 12:14 pm

    You are right. So we have to change the “system” by criticising it. But the moment you do so the “worms, parasites, malwares, trojans, viruses” (in Sheriff singh’s words) dependent on “the system” for their selfish sustenance come out in force to attack by lodging police reports/complaints and making media staements that you have committed the offence of sedition if not treason to question settled issues. The relevant authorities also dependent on “the system” for their selfish sustenance come out in complicity to punish you by harrassment of investigation if not arrest using powers under the Criminal Justice sub system. What is essentially an expression of honest opinion motivated at promoting society’s and national good has been manipulated to be typecast as a criminal offence. Your only recourse is to run to the arbiters – the judiciary system. You are punished round 1 to have to raise moneys to cover legal costs; then the case takes long while (years) to settle in the meanwhile mentally you are tortured. Then when it comes to day of hearing you may not assured that you will be vindicated because you may just get an arbiter who also depends on “the system” for sustenance. Aren’t you not knowing the head against a brick wall? Meanwhile the paramount leader who can address this rot in system is exonerated by excuse that although he’s good leader but he turns bad in adaptation because otherwise system removes him. Like that what’s solution???

  5. #6 by monsterball on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 - 1:21 pm

    Want first hand news from Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz…click to “Sakmongokol AK47” blog.
    SAK as he is fondly called is a writer of many interesting topics…..NO MODERATION!!
    Sometimes he uses vulgar words to express his angers… us.

  6. #7 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 - 3:31 pm

    Speak for yourself but we are all very polite, a bit angry maybe at times, but polite generally.

  7. #8 by drngsc on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 - 5:51 pm

    So sorry to hold a contrary view.
    To me, it looks like Malaysia, fortunate in many ways, is so unfortunate to have a group of leaders ( particularly with the 4th PM ) a set of very bad leaders.The service that we inherited from the British was basically good. Then came the devil called Mad-hat-thir. He really spoiled our leaders, mainly with threats and bribes, and the system. He also begin to create a system which is so corrupt that we now have no choice but to change the leaders so that we can begin to right the system. We have to save Malaysia from these UMNO / BN blokes. It is not too late.
    No leaders and systems are perfect. We need checks and balances. The Mad-hat-thir removed them all so that he can be omnipotent. We need to restore the checks and balances so that we can have a better system. If we fail, Malaysia becomes a corrupted kleptocracy.

    We must change the tenant at Putrajaya. GE 13 is coming. Let us save Malaysia from UMNO / BN. First to GE 13, then to Putrajaya. Failure is not an option.

    Change we must. Change we can. Change we will.

  8. #9 by monsterball on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 - 8:58 pm

    Politeness does not really make a man.
    Mahathir and Najib are extremely polite.
    I speak for millions who are through with politeness…dealing with rouges and thieves and murderers.

  9. #10 by cseng on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 - 10:30 pm

    In IT terminology is like, system corrupted, first thing to do is ALT+CTRL+DEL…you might lost all the data, but what choice do you have?

    In Medical terminology is like, cancer cell, you need chemotherapy… you might lost your life, but what choice do you have?

    Leaders and voters are part of system, system corrupted because leaders abuse it and voters allow it.

    If voters accept “better devils you know than angels you don’t”, then the devils system stays.

  10. #11 by Sallang on Thursday, 29 November 2012 - 12:11 am

    If you use a good quality vinegar to pickle your gherkins, you can use it over and over again. Change the gherkins.
    Likewise, if you have a good administrative system, you can change the people, many times, and the system will still be working perfect.
    In Malaysia, we have a questionable system, and therefore, rotten ‘pickles’.

  11. #12 by Noble House on Thursday, 29 November 2012 - 12:55 am

    Mahathir is a tyrannical dictator, an evil by design. He has the whole Umno in his palms and a closet filled with the skeletons of those who served under him. The more we learn about this man, the closer we are to see a resemblance of the ‘Fuhrer’ in him. This may well explains it :)-

    “The greatness of every mighty organization embodying an idea in this world lies in the religious fanaticism and intolerance with which, fanatically convinced of its own right, it intolerantly imposes its will against all others.” Adolf Hitler (1889-1945).

    “Hail Mahathir”?

  12. #13 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 29 November 2012 - 1:58 am

    “Das deutsche Volk hat keine Ahnung von dem Ausmaß, in dem sie müssen übertölpelt, um geführt werden.”

    “The German people have no idea of the extent to which they have to be gulled in order to be led.”

    “All Propaganda muss so beliebt und auf einem solchen intellektuellen Niveau, dass selbst der dümmste von denen gegen wen sie gerichtet ist wird es verstehen. Daher das intellektuelle Niveau der Propaganda muss niedriger sein, je größer die Zahl der Menschen, die sich durch sie beeinflusst werden. ”

    “All propaganda must be so popular and on such an intellectual level, that even the most stupid of those towards whom it is directed will understand it. Therefore, the intellectual level of the propaganda must be lower the larger the number of people who are to be influenced by it.”

    “Die beste politische Waffe ist die Waffe des Terrors Grausamkeit imponiert Männer können uns hassen Aber wir nicht für ihre Liebe zu fragen;…. Nur für ihre Angst”

    “The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don’t ask for their love; only for their fear.”

    from “Mein Kampf” by Adolf Hitler

    Heil Hitler ! Heil Mahathir too !

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