Why I support Nurul Izzah

Nurul Izzah Anwar is one of the youngest MPs elected into Parliament and one of the giant killers of 2008. Her alter ego in the contest was none other than the Cowgate Minister; who lost badly but retained her deposit and was appointed into cabinet through the Senate becaue of her Wanita Umno position.

However, the Umno Youth chief was not equally respected. Maybe there is not enough respect for the younger generation within Umno hierarchy.

I met Nurul in Parliament for the first time when we (some NGOs) took a Nigerian imam and a pastor to meet the MPs, including the backdoor appointee and Gerakan president, Koh Tsu Koon.

The next time was when I attended a fund-raising dinner for her, after a very good friend and RMC Old Putera invited me to join his table for the fund-raising dinner. I contributed to her campaign, as much as I could spare.

I really wanted to hear her speak to understand if she had substance, more than just good looks and a famous family name. She thoroughly impressed me, not only with her eloquence but also with her maturity of thought.

Anyway, someone recently mailed me her speech at a recent fund-raising dinner, and I must say that I now have three reasons why I will support Nurul Izzah to be returned to Parliament and why I will advise my other RMC colleague not to stand against her.

I have but three good reasons. Before the last general election, I had also written my three reasons why I could not vote for any MCA representative in my constituency! I do the same in support of Nurul Izzah this time.

First and foremost; she has a Malaysian heart and speaks her mind truly and honestly about how to become more Malaysian. Her command of both the Malay and English languages is excellent.

No branding or brandishing

In short, she is Malaysian first, without any branding or brandishing or apology. Out of the desires of her heart, her mouth speaks! She speaks very eloquently, clearly and speaks with both head and heart; and is truly honest, sincere and appears to reflect no double-speak.

Secondly, within her first term of Parliament she has figured out the tricks of the Parliament and how to deal with our systemic failure in good governance by turning the rules the other way around.

She said that she will table three Private Member’s Bills in the coming sitting of Parliament. In one term as a Member of Parliament, she has figured out how we can reinstate the Rule of Law in Malaysia and strive for better governance. The three Bills she articulated address each of three poor governance issues pointedly and poignantly. That is a strategic mind; which I did not even have at her age!

The first Bill is what I truly love. It was her audacious statement that she wants to see the amendments to the Article 121 of the Federal Constitution reinstated to its original form.

I always wondered who or which MP would have the courage of conviction to ask and push for this reversal of the obvious basis of the abuse of power and the rule of law in Malaysia.

These misguided amendments created and caused 80 percent of the problems related to the abuse of the executive power within different institutions and jurisdictions of good governance.

In my preferred model of Responsible Good Governance, there are at least seven basic prerequisite institutions of good governance in any system, within some kind of democratic intent. There are the obvious first three; the Legislative (or Parliament), the Executive (cabinet) and the Judiciary (inclusive of the Attorney-General’s Chambers).

However, in my model I have argued that the public service (all those recognised under the constitution and defined as public servants) constitutes the fourth arm of good governance. For a more comprehensive argument along these lines, please read To Run a Constitution: The Legitimacy of an Administrative State, by John A Rohr. Public servants under our rule of law are not elected but carry a lot of delegated authority of the law.

The fifth estate of good governance is the media and all its technologically driven allies that seek the truth of information for the public interest.

The sixth is what is often called non-governmental organisations or NGOs, but which I prefer to call not-for-profit organisations or public interest organisations, which often represent particular issues and concerns related to good governance.

Making Petronas accountable to the people

The seventh is my catch-all phrase to include all else; which can be labelled as civil society or citizenry, or ordinary members of any nation or requisite constituency of views. These include all and any non-organised and marginalised members for whom usually the NGOs or others speak up for or represent!

The second Bill she promised is a revision of the Petroleum Development Act to make Petronas even more accountable to the people and Parliament, rather than be allowed to operate as a slush fund for the prime minister to do anything he wants without accountability and adequate transparency!

For one example, I would like to know how many Petronas petrol stations are given to non-Malay bumiputera of Sabah or Sarawak or the Orang Asli?

Her third Bill would be to abolish the Printing Presses and Publications Act to allow mass media journalists to assume the role of responsible agents of truth reporting. In fact, the National Union of Journalists recently took a position on this matter and most journalists signed an undertaking to be committed to free and fair reporting.

But that can never happen, as long as the media organisations need to renew their permits annually and with the likes of groups like Perkasa and Jati dictating what and how media groups should be run; only because they are Umno-linked cronies who have connections with the Home Affairs Ministry and the minister and the licences.

My third and final reason of support is that she belongs to what I call the Bangsa Malaysia generation of Vision 2020. She is a true blue Anak Bangsa Malaysia. He father is a Merdeka personality born before Malaya and she was born after 1963; after Malaysia was formed! I think that with this information generation is now at full throttle; and, all of us above 45 years must seek to step down and let the below 40s to begin to run this country for all our good.

My son, Jeshua, who just finished From Five and is awaiting his results, one day shot out to me as we were arguing something and he said, “Dad we can solve half the problems of the world, if all the older people step down and let us younger people show the way!”

I do believe him; although I would still advise that they must still allow us to remain advisers, giving our views without fear or favour! My retort to him still is: “Let us see if there is another side to the Joseph Kony story and sales-pitch, as currently sold by this younger generation compatriots!”

Malaysia must move into the newer era of good governance: we need change and allow a new norm; oldies like us cannot always dictate the modus operandi of the future and complex world. Personal character and moral audacity of individuals define the future of leadership.

Therefore, I can easily say I am prepared to allow Nurul Izzah to be my MP; if she stands in my constituency!

May God bless Malaysia!

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