And stripped of all the fancy words, power in the constitution is vested with us.
Yes, us, the rakyat.
That power vested in us is exercised through the vote.
We pick representatives to sit in Parliament and the state assemblies to device national and state policies, pass necessary national and state laws and set up national and state bodies and agencies and government departments to give effect to and implement those policies.
We used to have one more vote, that is, the choice of local councillors, but that was taken away from us formally in the 70s’.
Now as those bodies, agencies and departments are created, so too, they are given powers with a view to carry through objectives set out within the framework of the policies that have been set.
And these powers that are conferred are further delegated by superiors within those bodies, agencies and departments, to their subordinates, again, to implement and enforce policies set and laws passed.
What we finally end up with is a wide network of bodies, agencies and departments and their officers, wielding an array of powers, to carry through policies and laws, approved of and passed by our representatives.
Those powers, when exercised, must be for the purpose and objective for which they were conferred, and no other.
This must be strictly adhered to.
Deviation from this rule, where power is exercised collateral to the purpose for which it was conferred, occasions an abuse of that power.
And you can think of many such possible instances in every day life.
Setting up road blocks by police or JPJ, ostensibly to nab road tax dodgers, but which, in reality, might be used to procure bribes.
Establishing a bureaucratic process for the application of business licences, and then utilising this established process to procure bribes.
Transferring a subordinate in a government department from one state to another because of personal differences with that subordinate.
On to the more serious and the more costly abuses of power.
Approving arms and weapons purchases, not because they are truly beneficial to the rakyat, but because some crony’s company and, indirectly, the approving auhtority, stands to receive a huge bounty in commissions.
Approving gaming and betting licences, not with a view to controlling gambling, but, again, to enrich those connected to the powers-that-be and, indirectly, the powers-that-be themselves.
Deleting immigration records, not as part of a legitimate spring cleaning exercise, but with a view to conceal a crime.
Cancelling TV broadcasts to suppress the truth of wrongdoing.
Use of the ISA to detain without trial, rather than to prosecute and risk exposing wrongdoing on the part of those in power.
The list is endless.
And it occurs everyday, impacting so many lives.
Who is to blame?
Those who wield that power?
What about those who gave that power to those who now wield the same?
How about us?
Are we to blame?