Straight after Prime Minister Najib got sworn in, Tun Mahathir rejoined UMNO, the ruling party in Malaysia. As an outsider, and having read about Tun M's resignation from UMNO and his constant attacks on Badawi, Najib's predecessor, one can't help but conclude that Tun M had an active and pro-active part in forcing Badawi to resign prematurely.
Among the reasons cited for Badawi's incompetence, the most striking was that of corruption and his enriching of his family through his son-in-law, Khairy. But didn't Tun M also practise his patronage system when he was in power, helping to dole out government contracts to his trusted aides and supporters?
Already my business friends in Malaysia are talking about the changing of guards in Malaysia and starting to recall long lost contacts - aligned with the Tun M clans but sidelined when Badawi came to power.
I believe what the Chinese say about "crows are all black in this world". Have you seen a white crow in your life? Have you come across a "clean" and objective politician or minister in Malaysia who will award a government contract to the most competent with the "best value for money to the Malaysian people" tender bid? Where do the funds for UMNO's campaigning come from?
They don't seem to have much of a choice I don't think. Even the Americans - touted as the most democratic nation in the eyes of the Western world - have to take heed when dealing with donors of their political campaigns. Look at what happened to the awarding of security contracts to private firms for Iraq etc. It's not proven; but somehow the fishiness smells in each and every living room of discerning folks there. Maybe that's why Obama was voted in.
Through all these ramblings, I really have no solution as to how politicians can resolve their "chicken and egg" scenarios in this part of the world or in the affluent Western worlds. I just feel like politicians invent their benchmarks along the way. And what fits them best is what they will promote - maybe even pass into law - and us common folks are looked after with the occasional doling out of benefits or tax breaks or populist initiatives. Look at what's happening to the trillions of dollars spent in the USA now to get the economy back on track while making the voters happy (somewhat).
Crows are black, no matter which sky you're looking up on.