It wouldn't do for a dynamic polity to deep-freeze its constituition in existential stasis given the multifarious socio-economic and political developments whirling around it. One of the hallmarks of the inspirational premiership of our one and only statesman, Tun Dr M, was his innately pragmatic capacity to visualise subtle evolutions and shifts in political and economic equations and his astute response to such transformations via his constitutional reforms while maintaining the core essence of the framework which made Malaysia what it is is today.
The crux of my proposed agenda that a potential malay-centric political party in the opposition can adopt is in a similar vein. Constitutional reforms designed to provide a modicum of civil liberties and provisions designed to curb extremist tendencies. 4 of my suggestions elicited comment, those pertaining to Proportional Representation/ Preferential Voting, Spending Limit /national debt caps, the reintroduction of Local Government elections and the abolishment of languages other than Bahasa Malaysia/Pribumi and English as instructional mediums.
The electoral proposal is actually an adaptation of either the German or Australian models. I am leaning towards the Aussie model and will explain in detail when I review this proposal in a different post. Suffice to say that the "first past the post" system ala the British parliamentary system needs a revamp. The question is whether it should be wholesale or partial?
The second proposal is actually borne of my core belief in fiscal conservatism and the prevailing trend in global circles to look at defict spending in a negative light.There are actually several frameworks that any such proposal can be modeled upon. Among them are Sarkozy's bluprint for constitutionally mandated balanced budgets, the European Union's Stability and Growth pact of 1997; the Hensarling-Campbell Spending Limit Amendment , Germany's 2009 'debt brake' initiative.Again this initiative will be better argued in a separate post suffice to intimate that being a subscriber to the maxim that public sector spending crowds out the private sector, I believe it is time for "flexible" constitutional controls be emplaced on the national exchequer.
The proposed reintroduction of local government elections should not be viewed negatively as it constitutes empowerment at grassroots level affording the relevant stakeholders more say over the local authority's administrative and development policies, budget policies, rates, local revenue structures etc. Given these concerns, it would be absurd if such elections were to be turned into referendums on national politics. Hence, sufficient legal safeguards will be inbuilt into the relevant legislation to ensure that any such elections remain strictly apolitical and local issues based.
My proposal to abolish the use of languages other than Bahasa MalaysiaPribumi and English for instructional purposes is essentially predicated on my firm conviction that national unity and social harmony is better effected through "Satu Sekolah untuk Semua' policy. By and large multiculturalism is on the retreat in even progressive democracies and Malaysia can ill afford the fractious ethnic wrangling triggered by the incessant quest for racial superiority that is being waged by a recalcitrant minority intent on leveraging on its control over the economy to attain political power. One potent antidote to this threat is to de-ethnify immigrants via the assimilation model. I firmly subscribe to the belief that such deethnification is attainable via immersion in indigenous norms and values while exogenous cultures and norms are systemically emasculated via limited access or denial to native tongues in the public sphere. Hence, the suggestion is proffered in national interests that must surely trump narrow sectarian selfishness.
I will be back with more constitutional/socio-political reforms before I proffer my views on the economy and education.