Wednesday, 3 June 2009

What Crisis?

The recent revelation of expenses claims abuses by politicians in the UK became a catalyst to a political quagmire: a host of high profile ministers have resigned, preempting Prime Minister Gordon Brown's attempted cabinet reshuffle. The Guardian, in no unclear terms, has even called him to step down, or rather, asked his party to 'cut him off'.

All this seems to indicate that PM Brown is facing a crisis of leadership and confidence both within his own Labour party and amongst the hoi polloi, even as Britons go to the polls tomorrow for the European Parliament and local council elections.

The claims abuse revelation was by no means the first of PM Brown's many political scandals and embarrassments; problems within his government were openly reported and commented on long before the claims abuses came to light, but perhaps it was the very last straw which broke the public's back. The backlash that came Brown's way could not have been unexpected by anyone (living there). The people spoke, loudly and angrily: they will not accept such behaviour even as they are hard up and see their country's economy in tatters.

The expenses scandal has now (rightly) been called a 'crisis' by the British press, really more due to its devastating aftermath than anything. It made me wonder, if something similarly embarrassing came to light to the Malaysian public, how would we react? Would there be such a vehement outcry against those who participated in the wrongdoing? Would ministers resign? Would there arise questions and debates pertaining to national leadership and party reform? Would we even call it a crisis?

Maybe I'm being pessimistic, but I highly doubt anything nearly that crushing would arise. While the abuses made in the UK are by no means negligible nor forgivable, they are, in my opinion, small in relation to the widespread and blatant corruption and abuses by our authorities and politicians on practically every level of government. I do not think we would be shocked. We would be angry, yes, but not angry enough to create a political quandary as the people of Britain have. We would not call it a crisis. We would call it 'business as usual'.

Now...back to my business. :(


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