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Resistance to reform

  • We cannot afford to wait for two more years, as some of the damages may not be undone, making any future attempt to reform the country even more difficult.

Sin Chew Daily

The Pakatan Harapan government's reform has decelerated in recent months mainly because of PPBM's reluctance to change and the other three component parties' "strategic compromise" attitude.

PPBM has commanded the post of prime minister and five ministerial positions, including the very important home and education portfolios. If these people are not willing to change, PKR and DAP have only to wait.

Tun Mahathir is not a reform type of leader. Several systemic reforms were introduced during the first two or three months owing to PH's election manifesto. However, after everything has come under control followed by the admission of former Umno reps, there is not much meaning today for the anticipated reform.

Recent developments show that PPBM is no longer concerned about the election manifesto. For example, education minister Maszlee Malik said earlier that his ministry would only make amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 instead of abolishing it.

Home minster Muhyiddin Yassin said after the Hindu temple riots that the cabinet agreed to allow the police to investigate the incident under several laws, such as the Sedition Act, Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) and Communications and Multimedia Act.

He later announced in PPBM's general assembly that the government had decided to retain the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA) and SOSMA.

That said, abolition of POCA and Sedition Act was part of PH's election manifesto, and with the Bar Council and other organizations registering their protest now, PH component parties have remained unusually quiet

PPBM has also reneged on its pledge of refraining from making political appointments. Rural development minster Rina Mohd Harun has appointed PPBM supreme council members Akramsyah Muammar and Sukiman Sarmani as chairmen of Mara Corporation Sdn Bhd and Unitek-Mara respectively, while Mahathir's lawyer Mohamed Haniff was appointed Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda) chairman.

The political appointments of previous BN administration have inflicted tremendous damage to the nation because the appointees lack professional capability, Mara and Felda being the most notable victims.

I personally believe that PH's "strategic compromise" attitude will not change the mindset of PPBM anytime soon, and it seems like we have to wait for two more years for Mahathir to hand over the baton to Anwar Ibrahim, before we can see some real reforms and fulfilment of PH's election pledges.

Housing and local government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin's solution for direct local government elections is that this project will only be submitted to the cabinet for discussion during the third year, while deputy education minster Teo Nie Ching says her ministry will table a new motion in the Parliament in 2020 to replace the existing Universities and University Colleges Act.

DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang said late last year that leaders from his party would not hesitate to leave the PH government if the goals of a New Malaysia were abandoned.

Nevertheless, PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin subsequently announced that he would propose to the PH leadership and government the implementation of a new bumiputra agenda, while the party's vice president Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said it was foolish for a ruling party not to exploit government resources.

It is obvious here that this party has never seriously looked at the "New Malaysia" discourse.

Sure enough the "strategic compromise" attitude is detrimental to the country, as sluggish pace of reform for two years means two precious years wasted, hurting the country's global competitiveness and seeing our golden opportunities slip past us.

We cannot afford to wait for two more years, as some of the damages may not be undone, making any future attempt to reform the country even more difficult.

Strategic compromise" is therefore a passive attitude. The right thing to do is to counter and change the PPBM mindset.


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