Open debate is necessary if we want change to continue and if we expect to make Malaysia a fully democratic state, writes Eymar Santa.
In the coming general election, vote the coalition that promises to usher in decentralisation, advises Francis Loh.
On 10 December, Human Rights Day, Penang Suaram issued a statement calling for the repeal of oppressive laws, the revival of local elections, an end to privatisation and the decentralisation of decision-making.
One of Najib’s reform initiatives aims at decentralisation in decision making and devolution of powers. But how will this be possible when, as Francis Loh observes, the BN federal government has been most disinterested in sharing power with the state and local levels of government?
Compared with those states in other countries using a federal-state system, the constituent states in Malaysia play relatively limited roles in relation to the centre. Francis Loh examines the factors that have contributed towards Malaysia’s centralised federalism.
As the posturings over federal-state relations intensify, BN Members of Parliament from Sabah and Sarawak have seized the opportunity to flex their electoral muscles. Despite their differences with one another, it is significant that the various BN Sabah component parties are speaking with a single voice on their set of demands. Francis Loh observes that Malaysia’s federalism is undergoing restructuring from a centralised system to a more decentralised model that could consolidate our democracy.
These are exciting times for Malaysia. Following the political tsunami, many analysts have discussed the new political landscape in the country. One crucial area, however, has not received enough attention: the changing dynamics of federal-state relations.
Francis Loh addresses this deficit with a cover story that traces the factors that have contributed towards Malaysia’s centralised federal system. This system is now under pressure with the new march towards decentralisation and good governance.