Malaysia hasn't seen and experienced leadership and governance in over 20 years.
So, what are governments for exactly?
Are they there to create turmoil among the population by using religion and race to divide, rule and manipulate their own people in order for them (the government of the day) to stay in power?
Are they there to drain the public purse and national treasury through deliberate mismanagement and abuse of its executive powers to benefit its leaders, families and cronies?
This only happens in faraway land like Africa, Haiti and countries ruled by despots and dictators.
Or are they there to stifle dissent and limit civil liberties of their own people in order for the government of the day to continue to abuse the trust placed upon it by the people to govern them in a responsible and open manner?
Burma and Sudan maybe.
Is it the government’s intention to ensure that all the functionaries under its control – police, the army, treasury and various government departments and the judiciary – serve no other interest but their own?
In North Korea possibly.
All the above and possibly more is now happening in a country near you.
In fact, it is happening in the country that you are now living in.
Welcome to the way of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government of Malaysia as we have known it for the past 20 over years.
Malaysia no longer has a people-centric government that serves the people. What it has is a government that ensures that the families and friends of those in power become rich beyond their wildest dreams.
What Malaysians have is a government that uses the Internal Securities Act (ISA), the Official Secrets Act (OSA), the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) and other legislations it has enacted to ensure that it remains rich and in power.
This is the way our country has been governed for the most part in the last 20 over years under former prime ministers Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and now Najib Tun Razak.
We are all familiar with how it is done so there really is no need for me to go into the details of corruption, abuse of executive power, duplicity, arrogance and plunder.
Let us try to understand why this is happening and why we are letting this happen.
It started in earnest with Mahathir. Mahathir’s power as prime minister was given to do good for the people and the country he led. But how did he use this power that he was given?
He decided we needed a new airport, bigger and better than Subang. So, he built KLIA.
Mahathir chose to plunder
In no time, we had a sparkling new airport at Sepang – and with the airport came the highway and rail link to Kuala Lumpur and the Sepang Race Track. So far so good.
Then we were told that the country needed a new administrative centre at Putrajaya.
So oil palm estates were got rid off and in its place Putrajaya emerged.
And then came KLCC – the tallest twin towers in the world at its moment of completion.
Surely a matter of pride and joy to each and everyone of us?
KLIA, Putrajaya and KLCC – anyone of these projects could have been Mahathir’s lasting legacy to the time that he was prime minister of our country.
He could have chosen to do good in the planning, construction and commissioning of any of these projects. But what did Mahathir chose to do?
At every step of the way he chose to use the people’s money not only to build these projects but also to enrich his cronies and those within Umno and Barisan Nasional.
The details of these abuses have been discussed ad nausem for too long a time but the accounting of it all is still to come.
For now we still wait but the time has now come for this and other abuses by Mahathir to be accounted for. Najib lacks substance
Compared to Mahathir, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi or Pak Lah was a novice but the work done by Khairy Jamaluddin (KJ), his son-in-law, more than made up for what Pak Lah himself did not do.
Just as Anwar Ibrahim is de facto head of PKR, so was KJ de facto head of Umno and BN – if not the country.
His litany of abuses and arrogance in doing what the prime minister himself should be doing is now legendary but only in the audacity of his thinking that he, not Pak Lah, was the prime minister of Malaysia.
I know KJ and I think the pity of it all is that he did hold so much promise and potential but he was too far ahead of himself in thinking that he, not the prime minister, governed Malaysia then.
Mahathir fuelled the demise of his own legacy through his own lust and abuse of power.
Pak Lah was in over his head as prime minister but he certainly had KJ to thank, for his eventual fall from grace.
And now we have Najib.
While Mahathir was raw power without regard for the nuances of good manners and respectful behaviour expected of those with good breeding and unimpeachable pedigree, Najib was the very personification of urbane sophistication.
We normally see in those with his pedigree, but that was all that he had.
What Najib lacks is depth and substance.
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.