Turkish government purges its system (is Malaysia doing the same?)
By Zan Azlee
Maybe it’s just me, but I have rarely seen a coup attempt anywhere in the world fail. The one that happened in Turkey last month is the first I have seen.
A military coup happened (twice!) in Thailand and they succeeded. A coup (twice too!) happened in Egypt and they were successful too.
I’m sure many already understand in general the context surrounding Turkey and the attempted coup. Lots have been written and reported about it in the past few weeks.
In a nutshell, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan leads a conservative Islamist government. He has strong support from middle Turkey but not so from the liberal urbanites.
For the past few years, there have been many protests and demonstrations, mainly in Istanbul and Ankara, calling for his resignation or just objecting to his policies.
In fact, I had even travelled to Turkey in 2013 to shoot a series of documentaries about the demonstrations that were held regularly at the time.
I would like to pull some comparisons between Turkey and Malaysia. Of course, there has never been an attempted coup in Malaysia and I doubt there will ever be.
The comparisons that I would like to make is in the way both governments manage and handle the citizens and manage their grip on power.
To date, Erdogan’s establishment has done a massive purge of the system from those he feels were behind or even sympathetic towards the coup attempt.
According to a New York Times report:
- 9,000 police officers have been fired
- 21,000 private school teachers suspended
- 10,012 soldiers detained
- 2,745 members of the judiciary suspended
- 21,700 ministry of education officials fired
- 1,500 university deans forced to resign
- 100 media outlets shut down
- 1,500 ministry of finance officials suspended
It is as if Erdogan now has valid and legit reasons to crackdown and impose a hard-handed rule over the country because of the coup attempt.
Now let’s be clear that a coup d’etat is almost always an illegal. The only clear and legal way for a democracy to change government is through elections. Or resignations.
So, Erdogan really does have valid and legit reasons for his actions.
Now let’s look at Malaysia.
Prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been facing huge controversies relating the to 1MDB corruption scandal that has gotten worldwide attention.
And everyone is familiar with the record breaking, unprecedented legal suit filed by the United State’s Department of Justice to seize all assets related to the 1MDB case.
And everyone is familiar with how Najib has declined to address the issue in any significant way, denying any wrongdoing and purging the system of those who were critical of him.
Cabinet ministers and senior government officials have been sacked and forced to resign way back since last year.
And now, there are even laws that have been bulldozed into effect, namely the National Security Council (NSC) Act, that can allow Najib to have full and uncontested power in certain situations.
Does he have legit and valid reasons for his actions? Well, nothing he is doing is illegal and the establishment definitely has every right to do what they are doing.
As prime minister, he does have the authority to sack or reshuffle the Cabinet. The NSC Act went into effect rightfully according to the system.
But whether his actions are right ethically and morally, that is a different question. And also whether the people will take it in willingly or not.