Where are the second-liners? — Lutfi Hakim

JULY 4 — We are in the fortunate position of having many qualified and experienced people in positions of power today. 

They not only have the requisite educational and professional experience, but have cut their teeth in the lean and cut-throat world of Malaysian opposition party politics.

Not to mention the heavy-handed way the previous government treated its opposition, where jail-time, law suits, and loss of opportunities are mere facts of the perjuangan, as the more romantic souls would put it.

But now that these heavyweights are ministers and heads of government organisations, who else is left?

Who are the second-liners that will take up the mantle of perjuangan, and pick up where they left off. It will not be easy filling these big shoes, and it will be a challenge to find intelligent, conscientious , and committed individuals who can be as, if not more, critical on issues and government decisions.

But that work must begin, even if it means disrupting established party hierarchies.

Mechanisms like term limits and diversity measures must be introduced in political parties, and adhered to, to ensure that blood is constantly circulated and fresh.

Tasks must be effectively delegated, especially from those who are now expected to deliver on their ministerial portfolios, and the ones picking up the slack must be allowed the resources and space to do their jobs effectively.

Access to avenues for mass communication, whether its party newsletters or mass media, have to be widened so that the next generation of leaders, who don’t necessarily have to be young, can be known by the people they seek to represent.

It goes without saying that these suggestions are aimed at reducing the concentration of power in the hands of established, now establishment, figures.

This is admittedly not something that Malaysian leaders are used to, but it is a new political culture that must be fostered if we are not to backslide towards patronage politics.

Don’t we already have an opposition? We still have Rafizi no?

That’s all true, and if the present government is satisfied with just consolidating their position and not effect deep structural reform, then the lack of second-liners isn’t much of a problem.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail