Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Perak: A Failed State In The Making

The term failed state is a term coined by journalists, political analysts and commentators to say of a state that has failed in basic conditions and the responsibilities of a sovereign government. The Fund for Peace has characterizes a failed state as:
The past event that occurred in Perak shows highlights the monopoly of legitimate use of physical force. The inability of the Federal government to respond to international newspaper reports that points Najib Razak and Rosmah to the murder of Altantuya and the constant denial of claims by other international parties despite clear facts of mistakes committed by Malaysia can give a tell-tale of the nation heading towards the failed state status.

The NGO by the name of Fund for Peace has a Failed State Index, measuring a nation in 12 categories in which each category is given a score from 1 to 10. There are four ranks of the index, which are:

1. Sustainable
2. Moderate
3. Warning
4. Alert

In the last three years, from 2006 to 2008, Malaysia still remained in the Warning status. A very interesting fact though that on the contrary, Mongolia remained in the Moderate status for the last three years!

The twelve factors /criterias that were taken into account for the index of a state is as follows:

Social indicators

  1. Demographic pressures: including the pressures deriving from high population density relative to food supply and other life-sustaining resources. The pressure from a population's settlement patterns and physical settings, including border disputes, ownership or occupancy of land, access to transportation outlets, control of religious or historical sites, and proximity to environmental hazards.
  2. Massive movement of refugees and internally displaced peoples: forced uprooting of large communities as a result of random or targeted violence and/or repression, causing food shortages, disease, lack of clean water, land competition, and turmoil that can spiral into larger humanitarian and security problems, both within and between countries.[6]
  3. Legacy of vengeance-seeking group grievance: based on recent or past injustices, which could date back centuries. Including atrocities committed with impunity against communal groups and/or specific groups singled out by state authorities, or by dominant groups, for persecution or repression. Institutionalized political exclusion. Public scapegoating of groups believed to have acquired wealth, status or power as evidenced in the emergence of "hate" radio, pamphleteering and stereotypical or nationalistic political rhetoric.[7]
  4. Chronic and sustained human flight: both the "brain drain" of professionals, intellectuals and political dissidents and voluntary emigration of "the middle class." Growth of exile/expat communities are also used as part of this indicator.

Economic indicators

  1. Uneven economic development along group lines: determined by group-based inequality, or perceived inequality, in education, jobs, and economic status. Also measured by group-based poverty levels, infant mortality rates, education levels.
  2. Sharp and/or severe economic decline: measured by a progressive economic decline of the society as a whole (using: per capita income, GNP, debt, child mortality rates, poverty levels, business failures.) A sudden drop in commodity prices, trade revenue, foreign investment or debt payments. Collapse or devaluation of the national currency and a growth of hidden economies, including the drug trade, smuggling, and capital flight. Failure of the state to pay salaries of government employees and armed forces or to meet other financial obligations to its citizens, such as pension payments.

Political indicators

  1. Criminalization and/or delegitimisation of the state: endemic corruption or profiteering by ruling elites and resistance to transparency, accountability and political representation. Includes any widespread loss of popular confidence in state institutions and processes.
  2. Progressive deterioration of public services: a disappearance of basic state functions that serve the people, including failure to protect citizens from terrorism and violence and to provide essential services, such as health, education, sanitation, public transportation. Also using the state apparatus for agencies that serve the ruling elites, such as the security forces, presidential staff, central bank, diplomatic service, customs and collection agencies.
  3. Widespread violation of human rights: an emergence of authoritarian, dictatorial or military rule in which constitutional and democratic institutions and processes are suspended or manipulated. Outbreaks of politically inspired (as opposed to criminal) violence against innocent civilians. A rising number of political prisoners or dissidents who are denied due process consistent with international norms and practices. Any widespread abuse of legal, political and social rights, including those of individuals, groups or cultural institutions (e.g., harassment of the press, politicization of the judiciary, internal use of military for political ends, public repression of political opponents, religious or cultural persecution.)
  4. Security apparatus as ‘state within a state’: an emergence of elite or praetorian guards that operate with impunity. Emergence of state-sponsored or state-supported private militias that terrorize political opponents, suspected "enemies," or civilians seen to be sympathetic to the opposition. An "army within an army" that serves the interests of the dominant military or political clique. Emergence of rival militias, guerilla forces or private armies in an armed struggle or protracted violent campaigns against state security forces.
  5. Rise of factionalised elites: a fragmentation of ruling elites and state institutions along group lines. Use of aggressive nationalistic rhetoric by ruling elites, especially destructive forms of communal irredentism (e.g., "Greater Serbia") or communal solidarity (e.g., "ethnic cleansing", "defending the faith").
  6. Intervention of other states or external factors: military or Para-military engagement in the internal affairs of the state at risk by outside armies, states, identity groups or entities that affect the internal balance of power or resolution of the conflict. Intervention by donors, especially if there is a tendency towards over-dependence on foreign aid or peacekeeping missions.
Sadly, out of the 12 factors, there are many cases in Malaysia that falls into any of the 12 events. But in overall, most of the failed conditions fall under social and political circumstances. If we take the factors above an applied into the Malaysian context, this is what you would see here.

#3 - Although it is not that severe as in those African countries, there a few instances in Malaysia that would fall under here. For instance, many, particularly the liberal-minded and democracy advocate groups consider the Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy) concept that is championed by certain elite Malay groups as a discrimination against other races. Others would be made to believed (via lies) that the other races are a threat against them, and must be defended at all costs. Remember the statement made by the BPMM in Ipoh a few months ago? There are some who criticize their own kind are accused as black sheep or traitor to the race. The truth is that thing does not exist, but just a mere state of dementia and delusion of the mind.

#4 - Yes, if you take Singapore as the yardstick, the capita income there is $32K USD per year, compare to $6K per year in Malaysia. With that high capita income, people would definitely ply their skills and trade there. When some people accuse those who work outside as turning against the country, it's wrong. Not because of don't like the country, but they make a better living there with the money that is offered. Yes, money is king nowadays.

#7, #9-12 - You have seen what happened sequence by sequence of how innocent people got arrested for nothing that day, what's the sham like in the state Assembly hall. I do not need to elaborate things over and over again, but whatever happened on May 7 2009 bears Perak a failed state in the making.

Yes, Perak now still remains rooted to square one, in limbo, after only less than 7 hours. It's a good understanding as everyone do that Barisan Nasional is pretty unwilling to let go of what they got via illegal and crude means via the stay of execution filed by Zambry (Pangkor Pele). I've already seen this coming through. No less than a few hours after the High Court declared Nizar as the legal Menteri Besar, Barisan Nasional, particularly UMNO goes hoo haa over this matter. If you see from a racist's point of view, the points that could come out is that Nizar is a Chinese agent, and secondly the non-Malays taking back the state - against the Ketuanan Melayu concept. Frankly, I find that the outcome has pissed of fcertain people who walked the corridors of power, not to mention Big Mama. That's why Najib later said that 'they will appeal' against the High Court's decision' (The Star 11/5)

Najib's refusal to snap elections seems to anger more people in Perak (only seen in Malaysiakini) because that means to most of them is that Barisan Nasional is unwilling to let go despite losing a soccer game against the people in a big margin. Even if they decided to offer a olive branch later on, chances are that will not sway the people's preference for them for what happened in February and last Thursday will etched in the minds of the people in decades to come.

Despite repeated calls for Sultan Azlan to dissolve the assembly, I reiterate that it will be hard because whatever decision that he could take will affect the royal family seriously after the blackmail early February by BN against a king.

Sadly, the current federal government has eventually will become what US is branded as - a superpower that long claimed the right to reshape other nations (in this case states), toppling governments (the state government) and democratic instituitions that they advocate gets into a severe crisis instead of getting better.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You are welcome to post in any comments that do not trouble readers of the blog.

Providing an ID is recommended. If some reason you wish to use an Anonymous name, please leave a name below your comments. From now on, comments with no names will not be considered for moderation.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...