By Tunku Zain Al-'Abidin Muhriz
This booklet includes articles chosen commonly from the author's column, Abiding instances, in theSun, Malaysia, in addition to people with Tengku Zatashah Idris, Syed Haizam Jamalullail, Sharyn Shufiyan and Quek Sue Yian. released among March 2008 and August 2010, they have been written within the interval after Tunku Zain's go back from the USA and as much as the Proclamation of the eleventh Yang di-Pertuan Besar. From calling for the assessments and balances so the most important to the powerful functioning of a democratic society to be reinforced, to reminding all members in a democratic society in their rights and tasks, the author writes in language that's effortless to learn and with a wry experience of humour.
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This can go right down to how rubbish and recycling are collected or what bulbs streetlights use, thus encouraging competition in policy ideas as well as between providers of services. A culture of elections also helps to maintain a healthy awareness of our rights. An interesting point raised at last weekend’s forum was the fact that currently, patronage within parties is intense because no space exists for individuals to prove themselves to the electorate prior to state or federal elections. Local councils would provide that space, enabling novice politicians to acquire hands-on experience before moving up the ladder.
These articles, written in a straightforward, easy-to-read fashion, accurately reflect the author’s deep-seated passion for democratic principles and values, an unusual concern for a prince born into a privileged life. As we get to know him better through these brilliantly crafted literary gems, we will all agree that Tunku ’Abidin is a highly principled young man who will assuredly play a constructive role in the development of a New Malaysia for all. I wish Abiding Times every success. YBM Senator Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Former Special Adviser on Ethics to the Secretary-General of the United Nations June 2010 FOREWORD BY TENGKU RAZALEIGH HAMZAH At the launch of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), I noted that Tunku ’Abidin had outlined ‘an extraordinary project which combined a commitment to constitutional democracy with an awareness of its historical context’.
They acted as forums, enabling citizens (very often, young people) to participate in the policymaking process, forcing political parties to listen: perhaps the recent petrol price hike (and indeed the response) would have been less shambolic if we had more influential think tanks here. Instead, policy in Malaysia is often made behind closed doors with little engagement with the public. But one of the hallmarks of an advanced democracy is that all citizens can think, argue, make mistakes, change their minds and debate all over again—without getting hurt, incarcerated or killed—so that both government and opposition respond to the debates taking place.