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How to change behaviour of our politicians

COMMENT | Ooi Kee Beng, the executive director of the Penang Institute, is something of a titan among Malaysian public intellectuals. Of all his many achievements, my personal favourite is the choice of URL for his website - truly brilliant: www.wikibeng.com.

He recently wrote an article entitled 'Limiting the political class should be the ultimate goal for reformists'. By the second paragraph, I was excitedly looking forward to comments on problems that I agree are at the heart of what ails us as a nation.

By the end of it, I was not entirely sure the article ultimately delivered as much as it could. Being not as qualified as Ooi, it took me a while to reach the end - the language being a little more turgid than I am used to.

Innocent jab aside, I think buried beneath some very complex concepts, Ooi touches on some important points, to which I would presume to add my two cents.

I think the first important point Ooi makes is that Malaysia’s core political problems are cross-partisan. I agree with his assessment that our problem is a politico-cultural one.

The fancy term aside, I would surmise this as such: that there exists a Malaysian political culture, which is practised on both sides of the aisle. I have always hated cynicism, so I obviously would never agree with the oft-heard statement that "all politicians are the same".

That said, it would be naive to ignore certain truths - among them, that many (not all) politicians share certain traits, especially in Malaysia.... 

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