Rebuilding a "Broken" Rome will take more than a day!

'When the Prime Minister is not instantly hands on deck to speak up, he is lampooned as not a success.'

25 Apr 2024 03:33pm
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Photo credit: Pakatan Harapan FB
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Photo credit: Pakatan Harapan FB

A colonial hang over is a concept that is not easily understood by all. Yet it attests to two very sad and powerful effects, when not properly managed from the very beginning of the country's independence from the previous colonial master(s). Even the likes of superpowers, such as the United States (US), that was once the colony of the United Kingdom (UK) are not spared from the problem. The two effects are the belief in every country's own revolution as unparalleled and must be above and beyond the pale of the colonial government.

In the case of Malaysia, for that matter, the US, the polity had to adapt to the laws and customs of the UK from the very start. Not surprisingly, Sukarno saw Malaysia as a "colonial creation" that was open to immediate attack during the Konfrontasi in 1962-1965. Malaysia can be firm against foreign power but it cannot crack down immediately on the people who was longing for freedom and prosperity.

In the same context, the US embedded the right to bear arms as the second amendment in the bills of rights in 1786. To this very date, the US continues to suffer from an over abundance of powerful hands arms.

Secondly, there is also the expectation that everything must be done from the top. But the very essence of the Madani administration is that the civil society must participate in ensuring social harmony too. The very fact that an open and outrageous criticism that the PM of Malaysia has not succeeded barely after 16.5 months of his five year tenure in office implies the existence of a free and open environment to speak up. In the case of the US, it is a given that the NGOs and civil society must do the same to keep the spirit of the American Revolution alive.

But as can be seen from the failure of the US Congress and NGOs to agree from the start until at the six month mark after the Gaza Palestine genocide that Israel's policy of total and massive retaliation and destruction had crossed all manners and forms of the international humanitarian laws, leading to an on going famine in Gaza, the American NGOs themselves had failed.

Within the context of Malaysia, multi racial coalition to speak up against one of the worst tragedies to have evolve from the Middle East, which can lead to World War III, is a sign that Malaysians do not understand the national and international obligations thrust upon them. This is what one can infer from a post-colonial hangover. How does it work ? First a simple clarification of the medical and physiological phenomenal would be of utmost importance.

A hang over, in generic medical terms, refers to the after effects of heavy drinking from the previous day. Some of the most common symptoms would be headaches and a state of prolonged disorientation as the body/brain tries to purge itself from the excesses of prior inebriation in the entire blood system.

It is not a pleasant feeling and many if not all who suffer from such heavy drinking, whether sporadically or consistently, have always tried to look for some curative remedies to rid themselves of the hangover.

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When applied to a country or some collective social entity, a post colonial hangover among the leaders and laity of the said body politics, refers *once again to* understand the limits of power, indeed, the limits to place some constraints on them without causing the government to wobble.

To begin with, regardless of the political orientation of the critic of the Prime Minister or the office of the Prime Minister, there is that persistent tendency to ignore that the current administration is but a Coalition-Unity Administration in spite of the 2/3 majority in a chamber of 222 Members of Parliament.

Prior examples in the European Union's member states show that more than half of them cannot last more than one full term of their government's very first tenure when measured from the starting point of 1945.

The Coalition Government, in the context of the Western society, are actually extremely feeble and flaky. They can and do tend to crack very easily before the end of their tenure.

In the case of Anwar Ibrahim, on the night of November 19 2022, he could not on his own secure enough numbers despite a spirited campaign to lead the charge of the opposition to end the excesses of Umno/BN. Yet the results turned out that unless he worked with Umno/BN to gain the necessary minimum of 100 seats in hand, the rest of the government cannot be formed with the two states in Borneo.

Second in criticising the perceived “delays” of the present administration, the critic himself is unaware of the limits that had been imposed on it or any coalition government.

They do make main governing principles and medium to long term policies. It is a continuous work in progress. Yes, they make some compromises. Some may not like them, and many do not, but in the halls of power, compromise is part of how to stave the Unity-Coalition Government from coming apart. Remember, if the administration goes on the initial euphoria of governing, without due consideration, it may alienate the majority. That can be very counter productive especially when the opposition alliance will not leave any stones unturned to bring down the unity-coalition riding in the twin evils of identity politics of race and religion.

Indeed, when the administrative complete powers of the Prime Minister have been “equitable” from the very start, it stands to reason that every issue touching on religious and ethnic sensibilities can lead to a combustible debates. Participative democracy.

On the stocking-gate, unnecessarily and unwisely, peddled by the leader of Umno Youth, it was very clear that the matter should be handled by the internal hierarchy of UMNO/BN first. Yet Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi was not the target of public unhappiness.

It was the Prime Minister who had asked the Minister of Home Affairs Saifuddin Nasution and the police to handle the investigation that was deemed to have handled it in a more nuanced manner.

The usual lambast against the Prime Minister was and has always been: where was the Prime Minister?

Yet having taken a strong stance against the genocide of Gaza (rightly so), that the whole world now acknowledge is a massive war crime and genocide, still in motion, despite the UN Security Council binding ceasefire resolution, the Prime Minister has had to make sure that Malaysia's economic and other systems were not under any form of cyber attacks by the Unit 8200 of the ultra far right of the Apartheid Zionists Israel regime, to say the least.

Besides, unlike the Coalition government of the previous epochs, all the current ones in the world are swimming, indeed threading waters, in the surfeit of misinformation or "alternative facts."

When the Prime Minister is not instantly hands on deck to speak up, he is lampooned as not a success. Very simplistic. But little is said that the enforcement agencies were quick to know that this issue had indeed touched a sensitive nerve in the economic make up of the government.

A post-colonial hang over gives everyone the belief that they can draw a quick and summary conclusion of the administration. But truly the phrase Rome was not built in a day is without a doubt a maxim that everyone has to understand. What more when the Prime Minister inherited a very “broken” Rome, that requires stages of careful and inclusive rebuilding with diligent focus on outcome and impact to the MANY!

Dr Rais Hussin is the Founder of EMIR Research, a think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sinar Daily.