Sunday, January 4, 2009

Suggested To-Do's For New Bangladesh Government

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The landslide victory of the Grand Alliance, headed by Sheikh Hasina of Awami League, is the accepted truth now. Congratulatory messages are pouring in from various countries. The USA already congratulated Bangladesh over the successful completion of the election.

Canada also sent congratulations to the people of Bangladesh. "We offer our best wishes to the people of Bangladesh, who in this election exercised the fundamental democratic right to choose who will govern their country and represent them on the world stage. We believe that full citizen participation is key to ensuring a credible election. The election marks a crucial moment in Bangladesh's history and an opportunity to set the country on a path toward sustainable democracy," wrote Lawrence Cannon, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs . "Canada will continue to assist the Government of Bangladesh in its efforts to build democratic and effective governing institutions," wrote Beverley J. Oda, Canadian Minister of International Cooperation.

"...absolute power corrupts absolutely"

The two-thirds majority seats in the Jatiyo Sangsad (national parliament) gives a tremendous power and pride to the Bangladeshi elected parliament members, who can now do and undo things easily. British historian and moralist Lord Acton (1834 - 1902) said: "Power tends to corrupt; and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The new MPs need to be cautious about it and strive hard to carry on the burdensome responsibility vested upon them. The overwhelming mandate received from the electorate, makes them more answerable to the public. This unique opportunity should not be wasted to really do good for the country.

Do's For the Elected Government
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  • Please take a lesson from the recent US election. See how President-elect Barack Obama, in spite of all kinds of threats, slurs and aggressive opposition, is reaching out to the opponents and embracing them for increased cooperation and support.
  • Nip in the bud the internal and inter-party bickerings and maintain the alliance in the total interest of the country and general populace. Mutual give and take is important for the unity.
  • Put an all-out joint effort with the opposition parties to aggressively deal with the economic crunch in the country.
  • Take a decisive plan to attract local, foreign and expatriate Bangladeshi investments. If necessary, change the laws for giving them incentives and generous tax-breaks for the first few years. Investors should be able to gets things done with one ministry rather than running to dozens of ministries and government departments.
  • It has been proven that most of the Bangladeshis are intelligent, quick-to-learn, hard-working, creative and law-abiding citizens. If given a chance, they can accomplish a lot. Train and equip Bangladeshi labourers with proper knowledge for both local and foreign markets. Although the world economy is now on the downturn, things are expected to change for the better in a year or two. For export of our labourers, they need hands-on training and orientation in simple spoken, and if possible, in some written, English. In the world labour market, people from India, Egypt, the Philippines and the like have better advantage than the Bangladeshis over this matter. To compete with them, we need to take realistic decisions. Local, foreign and expatriate Bangladeshis can be invited to invest in this venture.
  • The war crimes issue needs to be resolved once for all.
  • Law-and-order situation, including terrorism issues, need to be dealt with on priority basis.
  • Religious extremism should have no place in Bangladesh where most of the people love the religious diversity and are tolerant of each other.
  • Rights and freedoms of minority religious and ethnic communities be protected at all costs.
  • There is an urgent need to work aggressively against corruption, paralysing general strikes, and compelling nepotism and favoritism, and work toward the greater benefit of the nation.
  • Let the tourism industry get a major boost. Appropriately train people, teach them English and manners for dealing with foreigners. Let the tourists be entertained with regular authentic Bengalee, aboriginal and other indigenous cultural shows. In addition, tourist-friendly infrastructures and amenities need to be established in different parts of the country. Bangladeshis will find this venture attractive if given the opportunity.
  • Bangladesh, being a densely-populated small country, needs to take a bold step regarding environmental issues. In the past, governments took commendable actions in reducing fumes in the cities from diesel-engined "baby taxis" and banning production and sale of plastic bags.
  • Found a museum of cultures where local artefacts, costumes, musical instruments, potteries, miniatures of local boats, houses, and the like can be displayed. Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Dinajpur and Rajshahi can have their own such museums.
  • Please make the Bangladesh embassies and High Commissions abroad more people-friendly. We read in newspapers sufferings of some expatriate Bangladeshis. We can learn from other countries' embassies that go out of their way to help their own citizens falling victim to foul play or other difficulties abroad. Embassies are mirrors of nations. They are the front people who can and should play a vital role in attracting more foreign tourists and investments into the country.
Let's take this opportunity for playing an important role in building a strong and prospersous Bangladesh. A Bangladesh that can be an example to be emulated. Bookmark and Share