Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Democracy - Are you for REAL?

In Singapore and Malaysia, or most ill-democratic countries in the world, opposition parties are fighting on the moral high ground of Democratic principles. 

However, for any political parties that fought on such Democratic principles, they must first TRULY EMBRACE and PRACTICE such Democratic principles themselves. Else it would really be hypocritical for such parties to talk and sing high about Democratic principles while internally, they do not welcome or even scorn at Democratic practices and contests within. 

For a start, political leaders should expect healthy contests from fellow comrades and not try to demonize any challenge to their positions. It is also a good time to gauge on their own support level among party cadres. If you don't get satisfactory vote count, it means that you will have to work harder to gain their support.

In Democracy, there will be healthy contests and definitely, win and lose. It is quite a normal process. But it is unhealthy to treat every leadership challenge as sinister plot of moles or otherwise. Most parties in Singapore install the cadre system to protect themselves from "infiltration" by political opponents. However, the flip side of such cadre system is that it tends to lead to "inbreeding". This is because only the CEC members or just the key leaders of CEC could approve promotion of cadre membership and obviously, as human nature dictates, the CEC members will only approve those who are in support of them. This will ensure uninterrupted support and election of the few individuals into CEC. This is unhealthy as it hinders diversity and promote group thinking within.

In fact, I have always tried to change the present ill-democratic practices and constitutions of the party, to balance the values of democracy vs safeguards of infiltration.The power of appointment of cadre membership should not lie solely on the few CEC members only but rather, the whole Congress of party cadres should have the right to move motions to appoint any members to be cadre members. As long as 50% of the Congress voted in support for such appointment, the promotion of the respective members to cadre status should take effect immediately. 

The other safeguard I have proposed to change is that any MPs of the party should only be sacked or removed by the Congress of cadre members, with the means of calling for Extraordinary Party Congress to decide on such important matters. MPs are key assets of the party and they should not be subjected to the power of the few in the CEC and removed due to politicking. Such safeguard should be installed to prevent unwarranted sacking of MPs by the CEC. If any MPs have made grave mistakes, he or she should be "trial and judged" by the Party Congress of cadre members. He or she should be given the chance to put up defence of such sacking.

On the other hand, we cannot just blush off healthy contests and challenges as "instigation" or attempts of "moles working" just like that. If you are good, you won't be worried about challenges. If you are mediocre, be prepared to lose and step down for better player. That's real Democracy for you.

Goh Meng Seng

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