Is growth boon or bane? Can change be but a double-edged sword? Nicholas Chan examines this question in the light of urban development in Penang.
COPENHAGEN, Dec 19 (IPS) – The climate change summit proved to be a “spectacular failure even according to its own terms,” but civil society had “some successes,” such as the inclusion of certain issues on the climate agenda, and making the voice of the South heard loud and clear.
Civil society groups also came up with a final statement in which they rejected“purely market-oriented and technology-centred false and dangerous solutions,” such as “nuclear energy, agro-fuels, carbon capture and storage, Clean Development Mechanisms, biochar, genetically ‘climate-readied’ crops, geoengineering, and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).”
There had been speculation that the new cabinet would be smaller than the previous one. Well, it’s smaller in the sense there are 28 ministers now compared to the previous 32. But it is bigger in another sense. There is an increase in the number of deputy ministers: there are now 40 compared to 38 in the previous administration.
In the Jerit “Cycle for Change” campaign, Rani Rasiah describes how a group of young Malaysians stunningly overcame the odds to highlight the concerns of the working class and marginalised groups. Among the cyclists’ demands were calls for the abolition of oppressive laws and for better protection of workers including a minimum wage.
Change does not take 400 years to happen. In countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and others, change has been on the boil for some time now and there is ample evidence that the old crumbling structures of governments and institutionalised power are falling apart, observes Aliran member Farish Noor. Will Malaysians have to wait 400 years before they see a woman as Prime Minister? Or a Malaysian-minded Prime Minister who breaks away from the outdated structures of racialised politics?
The goal must be
the adoption of a low-consumption, low-growth, high-equity development
model that results in an improvement in people’s welfare, a better
quality of life for all, and greater democratic control of production, says Walden Bello. Unfortunately, the elites of the North and the South will not likely agree to such
a comprehensive response. The farthest they are likely to go is for
techno-fixes and a market-based cap-and-trade system.
that it is increasingly clear that Malaysia may have a change of
government sooner than many Malaysians themselves had expected, it is
imperative that Malaysians accept and understand the need for change, writes Farish Noor.
Political change is as natural as breathing and sleeping, and is
nothing more than a mere normative aspect of modern democratic
Many are searching for clarity in a
materialistic world confused by permissiveness, blatant consumerism,
unbridled consumption and casino-market economics on one side while
poverty, violence and hate stare at us on the other. We can make a
difference – and collectively, if enough undertake this commitment;
then a critical mass could provide the tipping point for new
possibilities, says K Haridas. We have nevertheless to start with ourselves and what
better time than now.