What went wrong in Zimbabwe; Narrow parliamentary vote jolts BN

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Zimbabwe's worthless currency - Photograph: Benedict Lopez

It was a dramatic week on the foreign and local fronts. Chris Chong surveys our analyses behind the news.

Recently, we all read the news concerning Robert Mugabe, who resigned as President of Zimbabwe.

Mugabe served as President since the country’s independence in 1980. Under his presidency, Zimbabwe experienced economic decline from being a nation abdundant with mineral resources, which could have brought prosperity to its people, to an economy mired with corruption and inefficiency.

Benedict Lopez traces what went wrong with the Mugabe presidency and the events that led to his resignation. He concluded with the lessons that could be drawn from Zimbabwe.

On the home front, the recent hikes in the prices of petrol and essential household goods witnessed a surprising turn of event in Parliament, where the BN government just scraped through by a 52-51 margin when the opposition called for a vote on the Supply Bill 2018.

Anil Netto discusses the rising cost of living for Malaysian consumers and the impact it might have in the upcoming general election, which must be called soon.

Finally, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) is concerned about two recent deaths in custody in the naval detention centre at Sitiawan Perak. The post-morten showed both deceased suffered blunt force trauma. This contradicts the Royal Malaysian Navy’s press statement of 30 September 2017 which claims that the initial investigation revealed that there were no signs of injury on either of the deceased.

Both deceased represent the 10th and 11th cases of deaths in custody in 2017. Suaram welcomes the police investigation into these cases and the acceptance that deaths in custory should be investigated as murder. The groups also calls for past cases to be re-examined and investigated as murder in line with the past recommendations by civil society. See also Prema Devaraj’s article “Custodial death: Police behaviour ‘reprehensible and unconstitutional’”.

READ MORE:  Tubuh segera suruhanjaya siasatan diraja bagi salah laku pilihan raya umum 2018 (BM/Eng)

The clock is ticking and the general election is just around the corner. As concerned Malaysians we need to seriously consider and evaluate what needs to be done to right the many wrongs in our country. For example, we need institutional and policy changes to ensure better separation of powers.

Right now, the executive – the prime minister, in particular – enjoys tremendous and often absolute power. We need to review and change this, and the only possible way is through the electoral system. Let us all use our votes wisely.

Chris Chong
Co-editor, Aliran newletter
24 November 2017

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