Power play at Tricia Yeoh’s book launch
With the federal government shooting itself in the foot again with yet another bumbling power play by cowboy town politicians, the gathering of Selangor leaders, friends and supporters at the launch of Tricia Yeoh’s book yesterday provided a refreshing contrast of honest, down-to-earth thoughts and talk.
There was lucidity leavened with levity at the Central Market Annexe, where the book launch and a forum on decentralisation was held.
And Putrajaya’s recent antics, in exercising an exclusively federal power on education in a punitive manner against a state government, served well to highlight the forum’s theme on the need for clear thinking on the exercise of power, the sharing of power and the competition of policy ideas.
Those in Putrajaya (or Putridjaya to some), however, seem capable capable only of producing crudity and crassness at one end, or mighty miseries at the other, with the occasional outbreak of plain talk.
Tricia Yeoh’s book States of Reform, a collection of her published columns on political reform and governance in Selangor and Penang, explores some aspects of the constant power play between the centre and the states, a result of the growth of a quasi unitary state as against a devolved federalism advocated by the DAP’s intellectual-in-chief Liew Chin Tong.
The panel discussion, with Ooi Kee Beng, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and Liew, explored various aspects of the concentration of power in Putrajaya, the precarious position of state governments squeezed between the federal behemoth and overweight local councils, and the deletrious effects of such an imbalance on the growth of a workable democracy that puts people first.
There was clarity, clear-headedness and common sense in much of what was discussed, as in many of Tricia’s articles, providing a tonic and antidote to Putrajaya’s afflictions of Foot-in-Mouth disease and its constant companion, Mouth-Faster-Than-Brain Syndrome.