Good governance is vital


GOOD governance, be it in the political, commercial or public service realms, determines the continued success of a nation more so than the effects of economic turmoil or natural disasters. The risk of such elements impinging on a nation is best mitigated by a robust governance framework.

Unfortunately, corruption grew to unimaginable proportions and our education system is perceived to have deteriorated largely due to neglect of the English language and lack of emphasis on personal development. Ethics and integrity have been side lined in the pursuit of material wealth.

Economic success has not been matched by good governance resulting in wastage, inequitable wealth distribution and distortions of the free market with politically motivated subsidies. This has contributed to retarded growth in certain sectors and artificially depressed wage levels.

Interference in the judiciary, cronyism, nepotism, fanning of racial sentiments, investing in pet projects, systematic conflict of interest perpetuated through political appointments in government agencies/GLCs, silencing political opponents and critics are just the tip of the iceberg. Nothing destroys a nation faster than moral decay.

Underpinning good governance is the need to have leaders who will set the correct tone at the top. It is here that we have been short-changed. What lies ahead if there is political turmoil that feeds bigotry and alienation?

Politics today has taken on a new dimension. “Friendly fire” is a new norm when in the past open criticism and contradictory viewpoints were not tolerated. Yet, people forget that friendly fire on the battlefield leads to the loss of lives. In politics, harm is done and confusion over what lies ahead affects society.

“A leopard never changes its spots” is an old adage. As a nation facing multiple challenges, this is something we can ill afford. Yet the political posturing, theatrics, factionalism, victimisation and manoeuvring are going on unabated.

Young politicians with refreshingly higher standards of ethical values and integrity are disillusioned with the presence of the old guard in newly minted political parties. The old mindsets, values and themes differ little from those that had been removed through the electoral process and are venomous to Malaysia Baru.

The loss of new blood in the political arena due to “the deception and machinations of those who are far more interested in playing politics instead of focusing on helping the rakyat they purport to serve” reflects the harm created by past leaders repackaging themselves as “white knights” while still spewing the old rhetoric.

The talk is still about protecting the agenda of one race, as these politicians conveniently forget that by looking after the B40 (low income) group, their agenda will inevitably be operationalised. For too long, the B40 segment of society has been sidelined, leading to apprehension and suspicion. Focusing on its agenda brings with it unity and tolerance.

There is amnesia about the shortcomings of the dominant ruling party that held a two-third majority in Parliament. The leadership then failed to deliver, and by their inaction contributed to the corruption and systematic defilement of the governance framework emplaced following independence. That is why we are where we are today!

The days past cannot be recovered. The opportunities made available in the past remain in the past. They cannot be rebirthed. One does not have to regret the past or remain in a time warp!

As a nation, we have to refocus on upcoming opportunities and challenges. Political mishandlings, infighting and miscalculations will thwart our continued success.

Good governance centred on high moral and ethical standards is crucial in the days ahead. Our politicians need to rise to the occasion lest they be discarded unceremoniously into the trash can of Malaysian history.

WALTER SANDOSAM

Kuala Lumpur