The Prime Minister has decided to step down after March 2009 . This has been expected given the maneuvering and politicking in the past few months , following the disastrous results in the March 8 GE , especially in West Malaysia.
Now he has barely 6 months in his term.
These 5 months can , however, be the most crucial period of his political life. He can choose to step back and relax, in which case history may not have kind words for him, apart from the fact that he has opened up Malaysia a wee bit, following the strong man rule of his predecessor.
Or, if he cares for how history views his legacy, he can push through the reforms that he has advocated in 2004 as well as the 2008 GE.
At the very least, he should push for an ICAC and a Judicial Appointments Commission. An ICAC will slowly change the culture of corruption that is now so rampant, that even certain MP can ask the authority to “close one eye”. To have a truly Independent Commission of Anti corruption will go a long way to tackle the corrupt practices that have added cost to doing business and that have contributed to so much of our nation’s woes. Get a few big fish and the rest will feel the pressure.
An Independent Judiciary is the basis of democracy and the foundation stone of the concept of “Rule by Law”. All men, irrespective of his social status, must be treated fairly and equally under the law, and an Independent Judiciary will be the best guarantee for that basic right.
Our Judiciary, as we all know from the Lingam Tape Royal Commission report, has been subjected to influence and interference from the executive, which runs counter to the concept of separation of powers, the basic tenet of democracy. So, the PM must really push through the establishment of this Commission, which will be the first step toward the long journey to gain back the past glory and respect of our Judiciary.
Another thing which the PM should push is to abolish the NEP. There is a recent survey by Merdeka Centre that the majority of Malaysians wanted NEP to be abolished, including 65 percent of our Malay brothers.
The NEP which has good objectives of restructuring the society and eradicate poverty irrespective of race but has been skewed to suit certain interests, has been the main reason for the polarisation of the various ethnic groups and the loss of meritocracy as well as the decreasing competitiveness in the economic arena. While it is difficult to dismantle something that has been in place for so many years, at least the PM can take certain steps to initiate this change. Affirmative actions should rightly be based on ” merits” and “need”.
As PM, he still has the power to do so, and since he has already decided to step down, there is really no eed to please anyone in UMNO anymore except to lay down the foundation for the betterment of the country and the people. Push these as hard as possible, and the people will be behind him in this war against the corrupt warlords and little Napoleons.
With five months to go, those who are pessimistic will say that he would be a lame duck PM, but those who are optimistic consider this the best opportunity to carry out reforms. How history views him will depend on his resolve and commitment in these few months to initiate change.