We all know what a lobby is. But in the U.S. lobby refers largely to people specialising in influencing the Government through their contacts with the Congressmen and Senators and members of the Government including the President. We don’t have lobbyistsin Malaysia. They would be considered as cronies of the Government.
In the U.S. the lobbyists are paid to work for certain interests. The Cuban lobby at one time lobbied successfully for the U.S. Government to purchase sugar from Cuba. There was also a lobby firm which was hired by Malaysia to influence the U.S. Government not to undermine the tin, rubber and palm oil markets. We were not very successful.
But the most powerful lobby in the U.S. is the AIPAC (America Israel Public Affairs Committee). It can reach the President, all members of the American Government and all Congressmen and Senators as well as their staff at any time. This lobby which was responsible for U.S. support for the setting up of Israel and subsequent pro-Israel policies, is so powerful that candidates for President and other offices in the U.S. Government have to literally pledge support for Israel to his lobby or they would lose in elections.
An American Congressman of five terms lost the election after he wrote a book exposing the influence of the Jewish lobby. So powerful is AIPAC that not only does it ensure U.S. support for Israel policies but also U.S. funding of billions of dollars to the Israel Government.
For the U.S. the lobby system is totally democratic as ownership of firearms by all citizens is democratic. Malaysians would never think of condemning this system. For Malaysians, especially the liberal NGOs, and the opposition, everything and anything that is done by the U.S. and the West are regarded as democratic. They would never condemn the US for this blatant fee-based influence-pedalling.
And of course we will agree to the TPPA irrespective of how much the majority of Malaysians are against it.
Clearly while the West condemns us for not allowing freedom of the press and cronyism, the west is blatantly practising censorship and cronyism.
I will not mention other undemocratic practises of the great advocates and crusaders for democracy and clean Government. Tapping phone calls and writing dossiers on their own citizens are now accepted democratic practices in the name of patriotism and national security.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of Astro AWANI.