6) “You cannot bring change without being in a political party” – when you say this, you readily recognize that under the current political system and thought, any meaningful political change is possible ONLY when you are within a political party. Therein lies the crux of the problem. This also gives rise to several aspects that must be analyzed thoroughly (cannot be done here). Of course, we all familiar with the benefits of a political party, the main factor being the advantage of organization.
At the outset, let me say that the biggest fallacy propagated by the politicians is this: political change can only be brought about by political parties and politicians. Developments in political history will testify that this is indeed a fallacy. Changes in political thought and system occurs primarily OUTSIDE the political parties and subsequently due to popular adherence to the new thought, political parties adopt the thoughts. The change comes from thinkers and reformers supported by the thinking public.
Change within a party is almost impossible unless you have a RADICAL leader. The party system, in order to sustain itself has all sorts of mechanisms that will disallow you to depart from pre-set rules and modes of behaviour. There are many such mechanisms – patronage, party whip, permitted and organized parachuting to party positions, etc. Dissent is necessarily disallowed. If you check the Societies Act, you will see that political parties (decisions) are the only society that are exempted from review by the courts of law. All these mechanisms are designed to ensure that the party does not suffer a trauma from any radical change. This is one of the main reasons why you find that political parties self degenerate through time – they fail to be sensitive in advance to changes among the polity.
The major problem with the current party system is that it does not have and does not allow for a proper mechanism for leadership to evolve. This is self evident in this country where you find that leadership opportunities are mainly open to family members of the party leadership. It is almost as if in this country of more than 27 million Malaysians, leadership is incestuous! This is something that must be corrected so that true leadership from among the people can arise. Tun Dr Mahathir the son of a school teacher, a commoner was an exception in our political history.
Worse, the party system may throw up the worst possible candidate for leadership. A foreign example will be George Bush. Malaysians cannot forever wait for changes to come from the very West that we are so fond of condemning.
We have to put our thinking caps on and make efforts to bring about reforms in the political system and develop our political thought. This is not a job that politicians will embark on; they are reactionary by nature and not initiative driven towards change. We need to create a system that will bring about the best leadership possible – this must firstly occur from outside the political arena. This will also include changes to our existing laws.