The precipice of power


WHILE a good leader would know that the fastest and most effective way out for all of us in facing the pandemic is by empowering those closest to the problem (our health department), an impotent one would desperately attempt to concentrate political power as a false belief that this may save him from drowning in his own sea of ignorance and mismanagement.

This is the difference between ‘power to’ v ‘power over’.

The former is about problem solving and the latter is the source.

The former believes in distributing authority for more transparency, decentralisation and rapid intervention, while the latter only thinks about maintaining authority and ensuring his survival at the top.

The former oozes confidence, ensures a clear direction for the whole society, encourages a collaborative approach and delegates to the right people the power to tackle the problem head-on.

On the contrary, the latter seems misdirected, saves a small part of the society (his political faction) over many others and fails to even see the shores that he is supposed to sail us to, while himself bobbing up and down, drowning in self-centrism.

This desperate exercise of power (abuse) is really a testament to the end of power.

A cardinal symptom for a permanent terminal disease. One would hope that they understand the meaning of “husnul khatimah” – a good ending/exit.

It is also a stark reminder that power corrupts (the mind and soul) and absolute power corrupts them absolutely.

Nevertheless, while things are serious, it is never too late. Instead of power concentration, the better alternative would be to re-examine our Covid-19 response. It may not even mean that we would have to revamp/reset everything.

Iteratively solving the pain points would be satisfactory. That would be on the issues of trust, of picking the right collaborative team and of fortifying a people-centric approach.

We don’t need a darurat ordinance as a response to lack of leadership and cover-up of mismanagement. Solve the right problems or be done with it.

* Harith Roslizar reads The Malaysian Insight.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.


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