Saturday, January 21, 2017

Democracy, redefined: Najib's Umno today is of greater relevance

Why is there no political party in Malaysia willing to call a spade a spade? While decibels tend to rise to fever pitch in the abuse of entrusted power for private gain that passes for political debate no one, apparently, is willing to identify the core issues involved and devise solutions for them, even if that means looking away from the elephant in the room.Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani  said the key is not to predict the future, but to be prepared for it.

The survey by PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli's Invoke Centre for Policy Initiatives (I-CPI) painted a positive picture for Pakatan Harapan, but omitted certain realities, says suarakeadilanmalaysia

"He (Rafizi) talked about what they (Harapan) needed in order to win, but then there are the things he did not say, which is the status quo.

"It's omitting the elephant-sized reality that Pakatan Harapan cannot win over enough Malays to challenge BN,"
Najib's Umno today is of greater relevance in Malaysian politics than the former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was in its last decade of decline.UMNO has reincarnated itself in a resurgent umno baru .  Malaysia oil-dependent, corruption-infested economy may be troubled while demographic decline may yet consign the country one day to the margins of power; but Najib’s Malaysia today is of greater relevance in global politics With opportune interventions in the politics of the masterful manipulator of redefined democracy, through astute propaganda or other nefarious means, Najib seems on his way to cracking the Mahathir's plutocratic oligarchy

Reviving Umno a Malay empire through informal domination of the area once controlled by Mahathir . But his ideological enemy remains the same as that of Mahathirism: Liberal democracy. Instead of Mahathirism , Najib ideology for the masses is aggressive nationalism.

Globalisation in its current phase was supposed to break down national barriers. It still might, in the long run. But as of now it has produced a counter revolution of aggressive identity politics garbed in the form of resurgent nationalism. Putin is the leader of this trend but aggressive nationalism is the clarion call of emerging leaders, in power or aspiring, everywhere, from Donald Trump in America to Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines.Twenty five years ago, liberal democracy was not only secure in the world but ascendant. “Under the shrewd and relentless assault of a resurgent Russian authoritarian state all of this has come under strain,” writes political theorist Larry Diamond in a recent issue of The Atlantic. The emerging trend “puts the future of liberal democracy in the world squarely where Vladimir Putin wants it: in doubt and on the defensive.”
With Trump’s rise to the pinnacles of power, clouds of uncertainty obscure the future of world politics. How much influence will Putin exert over the American president? Will they together upend existing international relations? Will Europe follow Britain’s Brexit to opt for identity politics in coming elections? Will illiberal democracy become a norm? It’s all up in the air.
Last Tuesday, after it was known that a cover band for Bruce Springsteen had withdrawn, among several others, from performing at Trump’s inauguration, my coffee shop buddy Allan joked: “I feel sorry for Trump. I think I’ll put together a fake Beatles band to play for him.”
I smiled. “Good. Will you play ‘Yesterday’, when all our troubles seemed so far away…”?

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