Technocrats without political legitimacy can't save Malaysia

Ivy Kwek

28 2月 2020, 6:49 早上

Updated a year ago


LETTER | In the past six days, Malaysia has been thrown into political turmoil. We have witnessed a shocking turn of events and more than one side has claimed that their opponent is doing a power grab, and they are the real saviours of Malaysia.

Amidst the chaos and unclear motives, shifting sands, a suggestion emerged to appoint a government of technocrats, who are supposedly able to steer Malaysia with non-partisan interest.

Is it true that technocrats have no selfish motives? Can we really trust them to uphold the best interest of the people, above party politics?

No matter how qualified or untainted they are, technocrats also have his/her own bias. Under normal circumstances, politicians are elected by the people through the electoral process and will be held accountable by the electorate. If they are appointed directly into cabinet, they will essentially be controlled by one man and serve his interest.

A unity government as per the rendition of Dr Mahathir Mohamad will not sit well within our political system and goes against our fundamental principle of parliamentary democracy.

Technocrats are a great choice when they are chosen by the people. Otherwise, they are just professional henchmen to do one man's bidding. They are also great when we have a strong check and balance system.

A small dosage of technocrats can be a good thing for the country. In the past, many technocrats have been co-opted into government to provide professional advice. 

There are avenues where their voices can be heard, such as appointments into the Senate or government-linked companies or through a participatory consultation process with the government.

Technocrats alone, however, can't save Malaysia. For Malaysia to thrive, we need to first fix our broken institutions and strengthen our parliamentary democracy. 

Some politicians might have failed us, but we must not lose faith in the political process.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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