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Monday, June 17, 2013

From The Ideal State Of Plato To Unity Government OR Euphoria Government In Malaysia


Plato's conception of the ideal state is an interesting attempt to sort out citizens into three distinct social classes. These blueprints for the new society were designed to be instated in three "waves". Three waves to wash away the corruption, and bring in the new ideals and principals. 

The first of these consists of a new ruling class of Guardians; to be established with only Philosopher-Kings. Plato defined the philosopher as an individual who has a great love of knowledge, and believed that knowledge was the key to a successful ruler; he said that either kings should become philosophers or philosophers should become kings. Plato states that the ruling class, or guardians, should possess the virtue of wisdom. 

There is deep speculation within the country about moves afoot to form a national unity government to make Malaysia united and stronger.

Najib is still prime minister, only because there is currently no other creditable and popular figure who could take the mantle of leadership away from him.

The result on election night disappointed so many people, where denial and claims of massive cheating showed that many refused to accept the result. This has left the country just as divided as it was before the election. Nothing was settled and politicking rather than governance is dominating the national narrative.

Today’s political situation is of concern to many of Malaysia’s top echelon of businesspeople, politicians, civil servants, and even members of the Royal Families. There is a strong feeling amongst the country’s elite that Malaysia needs good governance rather than politicking. Many are very sympathetic to the concept of a national unity government

For these people, a unity government would restore moderate policies and narrative, and keep ‘ultra-ism’ in check. Some within UMNO, see the possibility of a national unity government as a means to maintain UMNO’s long term survival, as the party to many Malays is an icon of political history and development. 

From PKR party, there are many, particularly those ex-UMNO members that see the party’s participation in a national unity government would give it the legitimacy it needs to survive in the long term past the persona of Anwar Ibrahim. 

PAS has been reluctantly romanced by UMNO many times over the years, but the party may favorably consider the concept of a national unity government under certain conditions.

Two speculative scenarios exist. One involving PM Najib himself and the other with a move by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah or Ku Li.

The first option would involve PM Najib making a move to bring in parties from the Pakatan Rakyat into the government, as has been spasmodically mooted over the last few years. Such a move would probably ensure UMNO with a much brighter future electorally. If completed smoothly, would sure up Najib’s position as President of UMNO in the coming October elections. 

Such a move would also allow Najib to change the narrative from the ‘ultraist’ direction it is going, to a more moderate and inclusive one. Such an achievement could elevate Najib in status, which might create a very positive legacy for him.

The Tengku Razaleigh option has been gathering much speculation over the last few days, and there is a difference in the stories circulating as to whether Ku Li may make a bid for the UMNO party presidency, or seek to move a no confidence motion in the Prime Minister during the first day of Parliament sitting. His discussions with members of parliament from both sides fuels speculation about the latter. 

Ku Li is reported to be meeting political leaders in Sabah and Sarawak who are disillusioned with Najib for not appointing them to the Federal cabinet. Moreover they feel let down with the solid performance that they achieved in support of the BN with little reward to Sabah and Sarawak. Finally they have concerns about how a weakened BN will be able to govern effectively. Although there is much wishful thinking about this scenario, such a dramatic seizure of power doesn’t seem to be Ku Li’s modus operandi.

So what are the realistic chances that a national unity government could occur sometime in the near future?

A meeting between Najib and Anwar Ibrahim, although denied by Anwar, was reported to have taken place at the Istana Presiden Indonesia in Jakarta last Saturday. It can only be speculated upon what was discussed, Najib’s bid to stop the two top posts within UMNO being contested by election was met with great animosity by pro-Mahathir bloggers. Likewise the authorities clamping down on the 505 rallies might put some pressure on Anwar to consider a national unity government.

The logistics of organizing any form of national unity government which could survive the whole parliamentary term would be horrendous. Allocating ministries among DAP, PAS, and PKR, developing policies, and creating a working cabinet among previous adversaries is a tall order. However if this could be achieved a certain amount of political stability would be achieved and the centre of political gravity would return to the peninsula, something many want.

A national unity government might give the people of Malaysia the feeling that some of their aspirations have been met.

Things start to get much more complex from the Pakatan Rakyat side. The spiritual leader of PAS Nik Aziz has been against negotiations with UMNO, but now after standing down as the Chief Minister of Kelantan, his continued influence within the party is unknown. There are those within PAS who see negotiations with UMNO as a good thing for Malay and Muslim unity.

The DAP have gone so far without compromise and stalwarts within the party would likely oppose any such moves. But then many also said that the DAP would not last long within PR. The DAP has surprisingly lasted, even with the unfriendly rhetoric that arises from time to time from its coalition partners.

Many close to Anwar Ibrahim often comment about his strong personal drive and determination to become PM, and a national unity government may exclude him of that chance. However those within PKR who believe that the party is more than a vehicle for Anwar to achieve his own political ambitions may be more conducive to the possibility of negotiations, especially given the fact that many PKR members are in actual fact ex-UMNO members. 

Malaysia’s political future must have UMNO within its calculations. UMNO has strong enough support by those who belief in its heritage, the party cannot be ignored. For those who see politics as the art of the pragmatic and possible, power sharing may be the avenue to change that so many Malaysians desire.

Although a national unity government has so much to give Malaysia, and so many people view this as a real hope for the future, there are too many forces against this reality. But the reality today may be that any potential national unity government is only a fairy tale, albeit one shared by many.

Perhaps we could have an euphoria government where a state of happiness and well-being at least psychiatry an exggerated state of happiness, with no foundation in truth or reality.

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