Egypt is now governed by an interim military government that is headed by Defence Minister Field Marshall Mohamed Tantawi. He pledged to hand over the country to a democratically elected government, but short of detailing a time frame for the handover. A six months period for the hand over is demanded by the protestors, but I think this time frame is not possible.
The priority of the interim government seemed to “focus on restoring security, restructuring the police force and instituting economic reforms and welfare”. The state constitution has been suspended and a new constitution is being formulated. Some members of Mubarak’s cabinet are still active within the interim government and the demand by the protestors is to see that all ministers of the Mubarak’s regime leave.
As of now little is known as to the effectiveness of the interim government, and the course it shall take to bring back some semblance of civility and security. With regards to the state’s economy, it is unclear as to the measures taken to revive it.
Egypt’s Emergency law that has been in place throughout the entire period of Mubarak’s rule, and was a cause of the people’s protest is to be lifted, but with a caveat i.e. “as soon as the current condition of protest is terminated”.
Any change of government that is the result of a force resignation or takeover would normally follow a ‘witch hunt’ against those known to be corrupt and had abused their position while in power. As of now, three former ministers are under arrest and will be investigated for corruption and other abuses. Several others have been barred from leaving the country. I do not know whether Mubarak and members of his family will also face prosecution for alleged corruption and other criminal charges. I believe they will.
In terms of foreign policy, the interim government had affirmed that it shall honour all treaties concluded during the Mubarak’s regime, especially those affecting the US and Israel. Mubarak was known to have acted like a stooge to the US, because the former’s dependence on financial aid from the US, including the supply of military hardware. Israel thinks that for as long as Egypt remains dependent upon US for financial support, Israel is assured of its security. It was also reported that the US government has allocated US150 million to Egypt to finance rehabilitation of the country that had suffered substantial dislocation and destruction during the 18 days of public protest.
Now the question in the minds of many is whether our country will ever experience a similar tragedy as the Egyptians. My guess is that we may not see this happening in the immediate future, but it will certainly happen if the government continues to ignore the causes that had led to the civil unrest in Egypt. The causes are obvious i.e. rampant corruption, repressive laws and laws that are seen to be selective, abuse of power by the police and government officials, rising poverty level, rising costs of living and a high unemployment rate.
One cannot deny the fact that the causes mentioned above are to be found within our society today, nor can one claim that Malaysians are not like Egyptians; hence it is unlikely that Malaysians will rise against the government. Put them on a hunger trail or just ignore the causes mentioned above and I can assure you that this will spark a people’s unrest. Therefore, the assumption that a people’s uprising in Malaysia will not happen, needs serious rethinking.
And if ever a similar tragedy is to occur in this country, and if the government is finally forced to hand over the reins of government to the military, will our military leaders today be ready to assume the responsibility to govern during the interim period? I would just leave this question to be answered by our current military leaders, and to tickle their thoughts at such a possibility, and what all need to be done if the military is forced by circumstances to govern one day.
I do not know how the government and in particular the military will react to what I have mentioned above, but I believe it is better that the military ready itself, rather than be caught without knowing what to do. I think the Public Order Manual (POMAN) that was used in the 50’s/60’s is no longer applicable today. Anyway, POMAN has nothing to do with teaching the military to govern.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION