According to several sources, the Prime Minister’s feet gave way at a function at Lumut. He however has denied such allegation:

LUMUT, May 13 (Bernama ) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi denied rumours spread in the internet that he collapsed while attending a people feast and officating Dataran Hadhari at Teluk Batik, Lumut at noon. [PM Denied Rumours Spread In Internet That He Collapsed. Bernama. May 13 2007]

The Sensintrovert claims that RTM confirmed that the PM fainted. TV3 aired something on it but it is not clear on whether the PM actually fainted. Regardless, I wish the allegation remains as mere allegation because the PM and his counterpart from Singapore are meeting at Langkawi later this week. The last thing we need is a weak leader to talk on matters of national interests to the Singaporean. If it is true that he lost his consciousness even for a moment, I sincerely wish him speedy recovery. But what if the PM resigned today for health reason? Or for any reason for that matter?

Just as when former PM Mahathir Mohamed resigned several years ago, I am uncertain who should be the next PM. Mahathir was the only PM that I knew for all of my life back then and the uncertainty revolving around Malaysian political succession was piercing. Even when Abdullah administration first came to power, the uncertainty was still unshakable. The only time there was certainty was before the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim second highest executive position in the country.

This kind of uncertainty arises because the flawed political system our country practices. The practice of gerrymandering prevents organic representation from taking place. Misused of public money, masqueraded as development spending clouds uninformed poorly educated voters’ decision. As if that are not enough, disrespect on individual rights further discourages free flow of information that would allow voters to make informed decision when needs be, especially during election times. All that makes selection of leaders harder than it should be.

Organic political system operates from the bottom. Leaders derive their legitimacy from the people. Such model however is handicapped by imperfections mentioned earlier and that gives a chance for power to be played inorganically. Decisions from the top, while appropriate from time to time given the right context, is unhealthy if practiced frequently. For many libertarians, the fact that such origin of power goes against the idea of spontaneous order is not lost.

At the very extreme, power play from the top could be characterized as dictatorship. While it is common in Malaysia, Malaysia does not fall into a class of autocratic nations such as Myanmar, Thailand, Pakistan, etc. But as far as selection of leadership is concerned, hint of authoritarianism is observable. The current PM himself was appointed by his predecessor rather than being elected by Malaysians from Kedah to Sarawak, from Sabah to Johor.

The inorganic power origin makes creation leaders limited to circles favored by those at the top. Give it time and slowly, a culture of subservient, the fear to criticize leaders is born. In the end, the incumbent number one has a say on everything. Any sign of challenge is dealt with illiberal ways and a perception of no option later proliferates the society. This is especially so when the leaders’ power is not derived from the people. When that is true, there is no need for the leaders to seek consent from the people, similar to Friedman’s First Law of Petropolitics:

What I find particularly useful about Ross’s analysis is his list of the precise mechanisms by which excessive oil wealth impedes democracy. First, he argues, there is the “taxation effect.” Oil-rich governments tend to use their revenues to “relieve social pressures that might otherwise lead to demands for greater accountability” from, or representation in, the governing authority. I like to put it this way: The motto of the American Revolution was “no taxation without representation.” The motto of the petrolist authoritarian is “no representation without taxation.” Oil-backed regimes that do not have to tax their people in order to survive, because they can simply drill an oil well, also do not have to listen to their people or represent their wishes. [Thomas L. Friedman. First Law of Petropolitics. Foreign Policy. May 2006]

Even if such system practices meritocracy, it is only practiced in a limited manner, limited to favored circles. Leaders are inorganically grown and do not have the necessarily qualifications as typically seen in the industrialized world. There is a dearth of high quality leaders exactly because the system does not create too many high quality leaders. We cannot choose when there is no option.

With a better system that pays respect to individual rights — libertarian values — leaders could be organically grown, which only those among the best would be elected to hold power. Choices would be aplenty as each section of the society elects their own leaders, able to practice their individual rights, unsuppressed by illberal powers.

With a better system, one would not have a problem to answer, if our PM resigns today, who would succeed him. In a better system, choices, if not immediately apparent, it would be soon enough. That system is liberal democracy.

2 Responses to “[1216] Of a case for organically grown leaders”

  1. on 13 May 2007 at 23:38 howsy

    In the 8pm RTM1 news, the newscaster said exactly what this Bernama news said. Nobody knows the extent of fainting till now.

    Tapi kalau tiada angin bertiup, manakan pohon bergoncang? ;-)

  2. […] am fan of organic politics and therefore, I believe political power has to be primarily derived from the ground up whenever it concerns the make-up of a society. In other words, the state, or any entity that shares […]

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