Friday, March 19, 2010

BN's unquiet desperation in Parliament

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation, observed the naturalist Henry David Thoreau.

Tweak Thoreau's aphorism and you have a good description these days of the government's attitude to Anwar Ibrahim: most of it shows an unquiet desperation towards him.

His most recent pronouncement in Parliament may be the subject of an inquiry that could result in his suspension from that august body.

A week ago, some speeches he made in Penang were the subject of police reports that could see him hauled to court for sedition perhaps, among other possible charges.

anwar ibrahim and najibAnwar had claimed in Parliament on Wednesday that the Najib administration's '1Malaysia' concept, believed to be an idea spawned by the public relations consultancy, Apco Worldwide, is a carbon copy of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's 'One Israel' policy.

The problem with our political discourse is that it suffers from too much respect for self-interest. The upshot: instead of thoughtful critique we get knee jerk reactions.

Actually, the 'One Israel' policy and its supposed analogue, the '1Malaysia' initiative, are good concepts if their ambition be matched by execution.

Whoever their authors they ought to be congratulated for creative imagination.

The first concept would have turned Israel away from settlements construction on conquered land and their inexorable annexation towards negotiations and possibly peace with the Palestinians.

Najib must step up to the plate

The '1Malaysia' concept, if there be congruence between objective and execution, could rescue the government of Najib Razak from certain oblivion.

The boil of self-interest infecting the Malaysian body politic has to be lanced.

That would require the Najib administration to drop its harassment of Anwar in particular and Pakatan Rakyat in general; and for the opposition leader to evaluate the government's policies on their worth and not their patrimony.

Whose stepping up to the plate would be the more difficult?

Prime Minister Najib's of course. The logic of his administration's reformatory thrust, encompassed by its catchphrase 'People first, performance now', would inevitably lead to disbarment of its scandal-tainted drum major.

No greater love has a prime minister for his reforms than he lay down his career for its success.

But even a supreme act of self-sacrifice would not guarantee 1Malaysia's survival as policy and practice, given what is heard of doubts over it within Umno.

Thus if transcendence be required, Umno and its leader's challenge is the more daunting.

Thus far they appear to be responding to the challenge through knee jerk harassment than through borrowing a leaf from the very people in charge of Najib's public relations strategy.

Pity Apco's apparent savvy is not contagious.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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