We all know that corruption is a form of disease in a government and economy. As I learn more about the imperfect real world, I accept that there is no way that one can totally stop corruption. It does not however mean that the people should not strive to eliminate, or at least, minimize it from causing damage to the country.
I recently came across an interesting section of the article by Clive Crook published in Bloomberg View, which is highlighted below:
Liberal western politics, which are largely based on democracy, do involve 'fruitless politicking, too-frequent changes of government, populist incompetence and excessive attention to short term'. Democratic governance is in itself imperfect. The aforesaid problems are just a few of the problems associated with democracy. Nonetheless, it is arguably a system of governance that provides the most 'checks and balances'.
Authoritarianism is not in itself bad. Should the authoritarian leader or government be 'enlighted and meritocratic', a country can still be governed well and corrupt practises minimized. However, the lack of 'checks and balances' means an authoritarian who is less 'enlighted and meritocratic' can behave in an uncontrollable manner. Personal interest may override the welfare of the nation. Corrupt practices may go on unchecked. The country's wealth may inevitably be plundered for the benefits of the authoritarian, family members and cronies. The wish of the people will go largely ignored for the benefits of the few elitists.
A good system of 'checks and balances' is still the best bet to prevent any form of extremism and corruption in governance. The need for 'checks and balances' is paramount for a good governance. Effective 'checks and balances' keep the leaders on their toes and accountable for their acts and omissions.
Democratic system is able to provide a peaceful change of the ruling regime in a government at the wish of the people. In a democratic election, the oppositions or dissenters can replace the ruling regime should the regime be disregarding the well being of the country and its people. Without a mechanism for a peaceful change of government, violence may erupt and loss of lives may happen before a change of government is possible. Inability to peacefully change a government in a timely manner will prolong the existence of a ruling regime, matters not how corrupt or abusive it may be. In the real world, the existence of effective opposition parties in a democratic country 'is not unpatriotic but indispensable'.
The availability of 'checks and balances' and 'peaceful change of government' in a democracy means that the people living in a functional democracy are in relatively better hands.
Malaysia is now the oldest democracy in the world with a single regime rule. Barisan Nasional (BN), which is dominated by United Malay National Organisation (UMNO), has been in power for the last 58 years. The opposition coalition managed to win 52% popularity vote but BN won the general election in 2013 with 60% parliamentary seats to form the government. The opposition in Malaysia emphatically points out that BN has remained in power due to gerrymandering, abuse of power, distortion and oppression. There has been widespread reports of corruption and illegal fund flows in Malaysia.
Do you think Malaysians are in good hands?