Donald Lim:‘Malaysia grows at night when the government sleeps that when MCA pornstar go to young girls
A successful liberal democracy has three elements, says Francis Fukuyama in his sparkling new book, The Origins of Political Order. It has a strong authority to allow quick and decisive action; a transparent rule of law to ensure the action is legitimate; and it is accountable to the people. Combining these three elements is not easy. Our Constitution makers were so concerned with checks and balances to prevent anyone in government from amassing too much power that it has led to a system where no one has enough power to act. It takes eight years to build a road that takes three years elsewhere; nine years to get justice rather than three. An aggressive civil society and media are enhancing accountability, but they also weaken the state’s ability to act. We have forgotten that the government was created to take action.
The dilemma is that the circumstances which encourage strong authority are opposite to the conditions that promote civil society and democratic dissent. Hence, the sturdy institutions of governance built by the colonial state gradually weakened after Independence as government became accountable to the people. Last year the Supreme Court, combined with pressure from Anna Hazare and the media, jailed a few officials but this has also brought about paralysis in the bureaucracy. Parties are inevitable in a democracy but they need to learn to cooperate and not merely oppose. The Congress often behaves as though the party is more important than the government. umno would do well to remember Mahathir’s rule: never oppose anything as long as he and his family get rich that you would do in office.
In this depressing scenario there is a silver lining, however. Power is shifting to the states where strong, decisive young leaders like Nurul , Rafizi Ramli and DAP’s Tony Pua have emerged.
The past twenty years of capitalist growth have made Malaysia one of the world’s fastest growing economies. The contrast between a successful private economy and a weak, public order has led to the impression that Malaysia might be able to manage without a strong state. But markets do not work in a vacuum. They need a network of regulations and regulators to enforce them. In the past two decades good regulators have definitely contributed to Malaysia’s economic success. the capital market regulator. The bank negara’s oversight of banking has improved and matured. The insurance and pension regulators have also earned their spurs. On the other hand, power regulators at the Centre and the states are mostly spineless, self-serving, umno cronies, who have failed
A ‘strong state’ usually carries a bad odour, conjuring up authoritarian images of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. A ‘liberal, strong state’ is, however, not oppressive. It is efficient, enabling and tough against law-breakers. It punishes the corrupt swiftly. But it also protects liberties and dissent and enjoys legitimacy among the governed. A strong civil society is needed to hold such a state accountable. More than ever, Indians today need to make a liberal case for such a strong state.
If BN wins the Election,GST will be implemented
The proposed goods and services tax (GST) will not be implemented this year as the government is now creating awareness on the new taxation mechanism among the people, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai said today.The mistake is to think that the current paralysis in decision-making is limited to politicians. Gutless bureaucrats, risk averse at the best of times, have done as much damage. Malaysia’s economy has sound fundamentals and is today one of the world’s strongest, but its confidence has been badly shaken by a weak state that cannot enforce its own laws, let alone enact its legislative agenda. Partly to blame is the MCA which has led to contempt for state institutions. Around the world, the Left wants a large state and the Right wants a small one, but what Malaysia needs is a liberal but strong state that will, at least, implement its own laws.
He said awareness campaigns organised by the Finance Ministry were progressing well and expected to conclude soon..So who is paying for the BRIM money? Heard another BRIM coming.So the tax payers are always the loser,not enough money can always dig here and there, Gov’t spending money without thinking and tax payers are the victims.
“We want all Malaysians to first understand what the GST is all about before tabling the (GST) Bill for second reading in Parliament.
“(However), the Bill is not likely to be tabled in the next Parliament session because I don’t think the awareness campaigns will be concluded by then,” Lim (picture) told reporters after launching the CFO Summit 2012 organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI), Malaysia’s leading independent private think-tank.
The other mistake is to believe that the Malaysia has weakened in the past two decades as a result of coalition politics. Truth is that Malaysia has always had a weak state and its history is a story of political disunity and warring kingdoms. Even our strongest empires were far weaker than say, the Qin Dynasty in China which built the Great Wall to keep out invaders. (That those invaders ended up in India in a chain reaction is another story.) The historian, Chris Bayly, describes how early European travellers to India were struck by the energy, colour and sophistication of the bazaar compared to the decadence of its rulers. Although historically weak, with independence Malaysia inherited strong, robust institutions of the state—a professional police, bureaucracy, and judiciary. These are now in decay and the gap between ideals and reality has grown. It should not take years to build a road that takes two elsewhere; neither should it take 19 years to get justice; nor years to build a dam. Poor governance and its cousin, corruption, are symptoms of a weak and soft state.The law—dharma—also emerged from society, not the state, and was later codified in Dharmashastras. But that old society is now changing. As Adam Smith predicted in The Wealth of Nations, the growth of markets would lead to a division of labour and new social groups would emerge. Open access to markets and job mobility would undermine traditional social authority, replacing it with more flexible, voluntary groups. Two decades of high growth is doing that and Anna’s movement reflects it. The country is evolving from a traditional to a modern civil society. This is a positive thing for a modern democracy needs a vigorous civil society to keep it honest.
On another matter, Lim said the Finance Ministry has instructed ministries and government agencies not to delay payments to building contractors.
Stressing that contractors must be paid promptly, he said: “It should be done on time because cash is like ‘blood’ for them (contractors), especially the smaller players.
“Not only government agencies, the private sector must also emulate steps taken by agencies and companies in Japan and Germany in paying their contractors (promptly),” he added.A successful liberal democracy has three elements, says Francis Fukuyama in his sparkling new book, The Origins of Political Order. It has a strong authority to allow quick and decisive action; a transparent rule of law to ensure the action is legitimate; and it is accountable to the people. Combining these three elements is not easy. Our Constitution makers were so concerned with checks and balances to prevent anyone in government from amassing too much power that it has led to a system where no one has enough power to act. It takes eight years to build a road that takes three years elsewhere; nine years to get justice rather than three. An aggressive civil society and media are enhancing accountability, but they also weaken the state’s ability to act. We have forgotten that the government was created to take action.
Many think that Malaysi is rising despite the state. Hence, the saying ‘Malaysia grows at night when the government sleeps’. So, they ask insistently, why do we need a bloated government with venal, unresponsive bureaucrats and corrupt politicians? Prosperity is, indeed, spreading across Malaysia even as governance failure pervades public life. But not having a state is worse than having one. Even markets depend on the government to enforce property rights, contracts, provide security of life and liberty. A state is a precondition for a flourishing society and economy. Let’s not succumb to the peculiar fantasy of the American Right that a nation’s success depends on keeping government out of the way. And frankly, shouldn’t Malaysia also grow during the day?
In a recent biography by a political analyst, Geert Wilders is labelled the sorcerer’s apprentice. Trained by one of the most prominent Dutch politicians in recent decades – “sorcerer” Frits Bolkesteijn – Wilders transformed from a relatively unknown Member of Parliament into the most outspoken and influential politician in the Netherlands. But his magic seems to have worn off, as Dutch voters are increasingly getting tired of his yearning for political hysteria.
Wilders has been a Member of Parliament since 1998, when he took up his seat on behalf of the conservative-liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). As his views on Islam increasingly caused frustration within the ranks of the VVD, he left the party in 2004 and went solo.
In the 2006 general elections, Wilders’ newly founded Freedom Party (PVV) shocked the political establishment by bagging 7 out of 150 seats in parliament. Not a single commentator or pollster had expected his newly founded party to do this well. Dutch voters were shy to admit of voting for “blonde Geert” in the lead up to the election, distorting polls, as he was still seen as a radical, or even extremist, by the chunk of society.
In 2010, he repeated his magic seizing 24 seats, or 15.5 per cent, in parliament. Once more, Wilders managed to obtain more votes than anyone could ever imagine. The result was both intriguing and shocking as his party even surpassed the Christian Democrats (CDA) who, de facto, ran the Netherlands since World War II.
Dutch MP acquitted in ‘hate’ trial
As a result of his electoral success, Geert Wilders became the kingmaker for the VVD/CDA-minority government in exchange for a vast amount of influence over its policies. Moreover, PVV became part of the political establishment. Although the party did not take up any ministerial posts, they were without question the most influential, as Wilders could mainstream his fairly radical ideas on Islam and immigration.
Even when Wilders-admirer Anders Breivik slaughtered 77 children and young adults in Norway it did not harm his position. PVV-voters are able to distinguish between a terrorist and a legitimate politician, even if they share similar views. Nothing seemed to stop Wilders rise to power.
Years of successful opposition to what he called the creeping Islamisation of Europe encouraged him to repeat this tactic as the Euro-crisis started dominating the agenda. The financial and political crises presented him the opportunity to label himself as the defender of Dutch sovereignty against creeping influence of Brussels.
With this strategy in mind, he rammed the Rutte-government during austerity talks earlier this year, convinced that momentum would be on his side again. Wilders secretly dreamed of being the next prime minister. After all, his party had grown rapidly every election, so why should this trend not continue?
Wilders, however, failed to observe two other trends. First, he did not expect that the majority of voters simply do not want more political crises, but instead long for politicians to take up their responsibilities – even if that means tough austerity measures. Not a single person that I spoke to in recent weeks, irrespective of their background, is really looking forward to yet another general election. Most voters hold Wilders accountable for tearing down the minority government and blame him for prioritising his own interest over national interest.
Another element Wilders failed to take into account is the fact that his opponents have finally stopped being afraid. Left-wing parties used to fear Wilders as they witnessed his seemingly unstoppable rise. Especially the Labour Party (PvdA) leaders used to struggle heavily in face-to-face debates. Each and every time, Wilders was able to portray PvdA as soft on issues such as immigration and crime, leaving them clueless on how to respond.
At the upcoming election on September 12, PvdA have chosen for a young foreman, Diederik Samsom, who is street-wise, knows his facts and, most important of all, is a gifted debater. In the past, Wilders used to set the agenda and tone of the debate, forcing others to respond within his framework and, as a result, strengthening his arguments and position. Now that his opponents are finally able to regain momentum, the likes of Samsom can emerge victorious in the various televised debates.
In those debates between the leaders of the main parties, Wilders seems to struggle with having to respond to his opponents instead of being the one in the driver seat. He continues his usual antics of showing contempt for left-wing politicians but also clashed heavily with PM Mark Rutte to the extent that both called each other liars – unheard of in Dutch politics. This tactical change in broadening his range of opponents renders Wilders a bitter politician who seemingly hates everyone but himself.
Although they share his loathing of Islam, immigration and the European Union, a significant amount of his supporters are also getting tired of his antics. Even some of his stalwarts have had enough of yet another election and simply want leaders to take up their responsibilities. While this election does not signal the end of Wilders’ career in Dutch politics, his ostensibly unstoppable growth is definitely over as he looks set to loose seats for the first time ever.