MALAYSIA’S democracy is in disarray. Party-hopping is widespread, and betrayals and coups have become the standard for forming new governments.
All of this is detrimental to the country’s stability and economic prosperity.
But what is the remedy to this thorny problem?
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad expressed strong opinions on Malaysia’s political predicament, stating that he believes it is past time for the country to adopt a two-party system.
He is referring to the United States, where the two major parties are constantly at odds in the senate and congressional elections, as well as presidential elections.
For him, this is the ideal answer since the United States has demonstrated to the rest of the world that political stability and economic power result from the consolidation of politics into two mainstream democratic forces.
Another political stalwart, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, on the other hand, believes Malaysia’s political issues will be solved if the monarchy is granted more power.
He believes that party politics, which he admits is now in a topsy-turvy state of affairs, must be reset.
He claims that Malaysia cannot continue with the type of democracy that we have, recommending a hybrid of a more powerful Monarch and a Prime Minister with some powers.
Otherwise, he claims, Malaysia will be trapped with a hung Parliament, as it is now.
The solution, he adds, is to have elections, but only once a new agreement has been ironed out on how the parties will align and what democratic system the country will follow.
Nonetheless, Dr Mahathir claims that another part of the problem is the existence of a high number of Malay parties.
He claims the fragmentation of the Malay vote will not help solve the difficulties confronting the country’s democracy.
He supports the two-party system in this regard. Both parties should, in his opinion, represent all races. But for that to happen, the Malays must develop some kind of political unity.
Regarding the current regime’s reign, he believes that this Government is battling for no other reason than to enrich the governing coalition.
They, referring to the Government, will not solve any problems, certainly not the democratic problems they helped create.
For both ageing leaders who once fought bitterly over UMNO’s future, democracy remains the answer to the country’s prosperity.
They disagree on which democratic road to adopting, but the solutions proposed could have a long-term impact on the country’s political future. – Nov 18, 2021 – First published in FocusMalaysia.my
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