Conflicts of Interests

I have just read different takes on the events that transpired at the recent PKR retreat – where there was some shuffling of heads in Selangor and the Federal Territories. The article from TheStar claims that the PKR leadership feud has taken a turn for the worse with the Selangor Menteri Besar quitting as party state chief. However, the alternative news seems to have a different take on the matter, claiming that the Menteri Besar suggested that they separate party and state.

Alright. It’s both spin. Regardless of which, the important thing to note is that the MB will now only helm the state, while leaving party matters to Azmin Ali. The FT party matters will be given over to Zaid Ibrahim instead.

Personally, I think that separating party and state is a good thing to do. If the same person is in charge of everything, there will definitely be issues. Personal interest, party interest and state interests may not always be aligned but if one man is in charge, they will always be aligned – without any conflicts of interest since they all serve the same interest only.

To me, this should be a model adopted by all states – separating the political powers from state powers. In fact, I might even suggest that it might be something to consider for our future at the federal level. Our present model of parliament makes the UMNO president our de-facto Prime Minister. However, this need not necessarily be the case and we might want to consider direct elections in the future. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

So, while I think that the problem brewed for too long, I think that the steps taken were the correct ones. In fact, this was something that should have been done from the very beginning – separation of powers. Tan Sri Khalid should not have been in charge of party matters. Leave the running of the state to the technocrats and leave the running of the party to the politicians.

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Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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