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A government hijacked by fear

  • What we are concerned about is that PH might abandon its principles out of fear.

By LIM SUE GOAN
Sin Chew Daily

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir was unhappy with the accusation that Pakatan Harapan is “BN 2.0”.

He argued that only the “blind, dumb and deaf” would think there is no difference between the PH and BN administrations, citing several examples to illustrate his point.

No doubt, PH does not have RM42 billion in loans nor set up 1MDB. However, PH is not much different from BN in implementing race politics that has divided the nation for so long. Racial and religious issues continue to plague the nation and hopes for a New Malaysia have become dubious now.

PH will only make people feel that it is indeed different from the previous administration if it overturns the obsolete polices and not to blame the old administration for its own inadequacies while drawing up new policies that befit the ideology of a New Malaysia.

How different is it from BN if it has backed off from ratifying ICERD?

As if that is not enough, despite the fact we have changed the government, we appear to have been transported back in time to the era of Mahathir 1.0. Old programs have been revived, including the Look East policy, the third national car project, re-mention of Vision School project, teaching of science and maths in English, the Crooked Bridge, Formula One, etc.

The new government should come up with new ideas to convince Malaysians that it is really different!

One thing the prime minister has done it right is to blast Zakir Naik for sparking racial tension by calling Chinese Malaysians “guests” of this country. This is a rightful manifestation of New Malaysia that the PH government should continue with.

Chinese and Indians are very much a part of this country. Unfortunately some opposition parties have attempted to protect a wanted fugitive for their own interests.

If PH is really different from BN, then it must strictly adhere to the principles of democracy, equality, integrity and clean governance, among others.

What we are concerned about is that PH might abandon these principles out of fear. It is afraid to shackle the confines of racism for fear of losing the power, and afraid to implement true meritocracy for fear of losing the votes from the Malays.

When their courage and principles are being hijacked by fear, they will no longer have the guts to voice up against an inappropriate policy.

For instance, 13 current cabinet ministers signed the “Book of Hope” to call for the closure of Lynas plant in 2012 when they were still in the opposition. Even after the cabinet has made the decision to renew the operating license of Lynas for six months, these ministers argued that their stance remained much the same from 2012.

It looks like the PH leaders have acted very cautiously to prevent a possible collapse of the PH government. DAP's veteran leader Lim Kit Siang has reminded elected reps from his party to refrain from attacking other PH leaders.

Lim's remark was echoed by Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, who admitted that the coalition could only win the election if all four component parties stay united. He urged his party members not to issue external statements that could hurt the feelings of other allies.

In the meantime, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said he would only express his views on Zakir and Jawi after consulting party leaders, as he had just returned from a pilgrimage trip to Mecca.

The power transition plan may also spark internal conflicts within the ruling coalition, resulting in a possible split which is a hidden concern among the coalition's leaders.

In view of this, everyone appears to have stayed away from such tacky issues at this juncture with the hope things will get straightened up by themselves over time.

The opposition is not letting up its effort to attack PH ministers. PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan has urged cabinet ministers disagreeing with the prime minister over government policies to leave their posts, hinting at youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq who has hit out at Zakir Naik.

Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan, meanwhile, keeps blasting education minister Maszlee Malik for not doing enough to defend the Malay language over the Seni Khat issue, and has demanded the minister's resignation.

PH leaders are afraid that if the government collapses, they may not have a second chance to take the helm again.

Ministers are shunning sensitive issues and are afraid to voice up their views and suggestions. It is a matter of time that the cabinet will become ineffective, as everyone is taking the PM's instructions wholesale.

There are many young people inside the PH cabinet. By right these youthful ministers should exert their creativity and not to be bound by their boss. It is sad that these young leaders have become rubber-stamp ministers executing the orders of the big boss just to make sure they remain in power.

The government's fear makes it a very easy target of exploitation for people within and without the coalition.

In view of this, it is unlikely that the government will come up with any refreshing new policy or economic roadmap, with public faith gradually depleted before long.

 

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