By Tunku Zain Al-'Abidin Muhriz
This ebook includes articles chosen commonly from the author's column, Abiding occasions, in theSun, Malaysia, in addition to people with Tengku Zatashah Idris, Syed Haizam Jamalullail, Sharyn Shufiyan and Quek Sue Yian. released among March 2008 and August 2010, they have been written within the interval after Tunku Zain's go back from the U.S. and as much as the Proclamation of the eleventh Yang di-Pertuan Besar. From calling for the assessments and balances so an important to the powerful functioning of a democratic society to be reinforced, to reminding all contributors in a democratic society in their rights and tasks, the author writes in language that's effortless to learn and with a wry feel of humour.
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That meeting led to a second meeting in the backyard of his house near Westminster, where we broached the idea of setting up a classical liberal think tank. We continued our conversation on the topic by commenting on each other’s blogs (I had a blog at that time called Great Minds Think). It is unfortunate that some of these comments have been lost. It was not until Wan Mohd Firdaus Fuaad came into the picture in 2005 that the dream to set up a think tank became a reality. We started by registering Malaysia Think Tank London as a company in England.
In our ex-coloniser Britain and neighbour Indonesia, the ruling parties have been suffering defeats in local elections and it seems the world (at least outside America) is falling in love with Barack Obama. Democracy, like your aunt’s kuih lapis, is something you have to agree is a good thing. But there’s lots of variety in democracy. Political theorists draw upon history, etymology, religion and cultural tradition in attempt to create different models of democracy. Traditionally, Western scholars considered the experience of the Greeks, Romans, English and Americans but in recent years there’s been an uptake in arguments via other cultural or religious sources.
But the latter are useful check-and-balance institutions which can ask the Dewan Rakyat to think again. Of course, they aren’t the only ones. There’s the press, the judiciary and universities; but also concepts like federalism, civil society and student activism. How free they are and what they can do depends on how free parliament permits them to be. Strengthening parliament is, therefore, key to strengthening our other democratic institutions. Go and visit it one of these days—it’s easy to do.