Would PM be able to do it?

Malaysia is going to celebrate the Malaysian Day tomorrow.

At this juncture, it is perhaps pertinent for us to reflect what the country should do to move forward again.

Even the PM is said to be ready to announce to the nation a whole basket-full of reform on ISA, freedom to assemble, freedom of speech and laws relatng to the media.

I think this is about the last chance for PM to really exert himself to change if he does not want to be a seat warmer.

He has famously said, and I agree with him on this, that the government needs to change or be changed.

Before bersih, the chance of being changed seems remote; after Bersih, anything seems possible.

He has put forward his 1Malaysia idea after taking over. But as it was not well defined, different sectors of the populace has interpreted this in different ways. Likewise, politicians with their own ulterior motives are using their own interpretation of 1Malaysia to play up race and religion — leading to a more and more polarised society.

I hope that he has realised that trying to please all parties just would not do. Announcing something that is pleasing to the ears to the middle ground and then flipfloping on encountering certain resistance from the right wingers just won’t do; in fact , it is harming his own rating.

The perception has been that he is a PM that is trying to please all sides, speaking different things to different audiences, and singing different tunes at different times. But in a society that needs strong leadership to push certain unpleasant policies through, this just would not do.

What the country urgently needs now is a real resolve to tackle corruption.  So far, corruption is perceived to have gone worse,  despite charging a TUN and a former MB.  But to be seen to have a real resolve to tackle corruption, he must lead by example. I have been told that projects are marked up at least 30% because of the leakages and wastage. If these 30% can be reduced to 5% (the levels  said to be prevailing  in the 80s), it would indeed be  big savings, and our budget deficits could have been much reduced or even reversed.

If this can be achieved, then we would have a bigger cushion to fight inflation. Government could postpone the implementation of the GST and could have more options  to introduce economic packages to help the lower income groups.

For the middle ground, the government should do away with the archaic ruling in the Police Act that requires permit for any gathering of 5 persons or above. This was made during the time of Emergency, when we were fighting communism; the world has evolved so much that this restriction on gathering is no longer acceptable.  Peaceful demonstration should be allowed since this is a form of freedom of expression,and the Police force should be more concerned about managing traffics and preventing outside interference in such ‘demos’ rather than trying to break them up and arrest people indiscriminately.  Doing that would not endear the government to the people; it would only have the opposite effect.

Press freedom is of course very important, as this blog has time and again calls on  the government to abolish the Printing Press and Publications Act.  News media have a big role to play in ensuring good governance, as well as provide valuable feedback to the policy makers. In fact, news media should be considered the fourth pillar of democracy, with the same importance as that of Legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government.

To the lay person,  the so-called Joe-6-pack, the most important thing is to ensure that there is economic growth and that this growth can be translated to a higher disposable income. Perhaps some of the taxes should be reviewed, and in this aspect, plugging leakages and wastage would enable the government to have a bigger maneuverability.

To ensure a good economic growth, a more level playing fields and certain degree of meritocracy must be introduced. This must be done over the objections of right wing groups like Perkasa. When there is a good economic progress, all ethnic groups regardless of colour and race would benefits.. However, the restrictive policies as a result of the skewing of the NEP has made the country less competitive. This loss of competitiveness is the main reason why we are still in the middle income trap while others have gone ahead.

These would be the basic few steps that PM should adopt and implement if he wants to jump start his administration and gain the lost ground. But it would do more harm than good to him, if he announces all these but in the end fails to deliver any of his promises. It would be Pak Lah all over again, and in that case, a change in government can no longer be ruled out.

This post is also published in MalaysianInsider under the title “Change or be changed”.

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26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. klm
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 11:57:06

    I agree with your perception that Najib had been saying different things to different people. He is not consistent. And he do not keep his promises. What is his words worth? Nothing.

    On another note, his cabinet has deserted him. Seemed in his recent 1Malaysia Raya Open House, most of his ministers did not turn up – except for that Rias Yatim. Even his cousin Hishamuddin was missing. That is how bad it has becoming for him. What will his big announcement achieve?

    Like

  2. Dr Hsu
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 12:09:57

    klm,
    He still has KTK, 🙂 :), hahahaha.

    Like

  3. klm
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 12:38:10

    Yes. How can I missed out KTK. That back door minister. 😀

    Like

  4. ong
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 13:20:08

    Naughty, naughty, Dr Hsu. Laughing at your former political boss.

    Like

  5. Kenny
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 13:57:18

    Dr Hsu, KTK will jump ship without any hesitation. We all know that.

    Does Najib have the political will to push through reforms? At the first sign of resistance from right wingers he backs off. Just look at his Economic Transformation Program. It has been watered down until it is no different from NEP.

    Umno PMs who try to please their warlords instead of the public will be kicked out anyway. Badawi is a good example. If he had pushed through reforms as he promised the public would have formed a shield between him and his warlords.

    Mahathir is also gunning for Najib, trying to pull him down before the next G.E. This is understandable as with the massive cheating perpetrated by the EC and NRD there is a risk that Najib may even get back 2/3 majority which would cement his position. But I seriously doubt Najib can be pulled down.

    Anyway we will see what he announces tonight.

    Like

  6. Li Li Fa
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 15:06:22

    It is a do or die situation our man at the helm is finding himself in – perhaps akin a captain giving his final speech in a sinking ship. Many of his crew members have deserted him or will be leaving for safer grounds.

    It is said that one should not do to others what you would not others do unto you. Happily he orchestrated the exit of Pak Lah and now others are scheming to sing his swan song. The 3M team is head over heals on the pursuit of him to leave, step down, and relinquish the post. Will he put up a retaliatory fight and emerge the brandished winner or will he quickly do a scuttling act ala the arab spring, summer or winter?

    It is so tempting and irresistable to say what he might do or should do. But I would rather wait and listen to his address tonight.

    Will he come out CLEAN after the address? Will the leopard lose its spots? Will the nation be rejoicing or be plunged into unbearable woes? Would the war drums be sounded soon?

    Meanwhile, Happy Malaysia Day to all Malaysians!

    Like

  7. Ellese
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 22:20:10

    Good write doc.

    Like

  8. BeWildered
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 00:46:59

    Suddenly, all things become hopeful. heart soothing.

    All the demons and devils suddenly become saints and angels. And pimps becomes prince on the white horse.

    All these will be turning point history in the making for Malaysia, a very important chapter : In 2011. Malaysia under the statesmanship of Ajib Ko, has abolished ISA, granted Free of Press and Freedom to gather, a total political liberation of the country under siege for 54 years.

    Dr. Is it true that all men on their death bed spoke their conscience?

    Looks like 13 is finally a lucky number. (GE13 ).

    Did I just woke up from inception.

    Like

  9. Kenny
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 09:16:20

    Najib’s tentative reforms are just scratching the surface. We are still a shackled democracy. The judiciary is still not free, the appointment of judges ensure that only obedient judges get promoted, the MACC still answers to the PM, the independence of the MACC, A-G and EC are questionable and the police force has been corrupted to serve Umno. The press is still not free despite removing the yearly renewal requirement as their license can be withdrawn anytime. The yearly renewal was not necessary to keep them in line in the first place so removing it does nothing.

    However this is an example of what a 2 party system can bring. Najib is doing it for political survival more than anything else. Without the threat of PR these reforms tentative though they are would never have happened.

    Thank you Najib but I still won’t vote for BN.

    Like

  10. A true Malaysian
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 09:47:21

    I take his words with a pinch of salt. We should not always completely believe what a he said.

    You have to take what he says with a pinch of salt. Make the repeal a reality first. We have been cheated many times.

    Continue to press for clean, free and fair elections. Don’t take it as their rights, “If you want to play, play with my uneven field”.

    I say it again, Pakatan should BOYCOTT the coming 13th GE if no clean, free and fair playing ground. Don’t discount this option.

    Like

  11. A true Malaysian
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 09:55:49

    一个家,久了没打扫也会变垃圾。

    一个国家也是一样。

    该是打扫的时刻了。

    Like

  12. Son of Muhamamad
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 09:59:02

    MALAYSIA IS A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY WITH A COMMUNIST GOVERNMENT.
    “MULUT TEMPAYAN BOLIH DI TUTUP, MULUT MANUSIA ENGAK”

    Like

  13. Rhan
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 10:02:32

    I am surprise, is Najib sincere in reforming our country, time will tell, but i respect him for what he did, really, i am surprise.

    Like

  14. Dr Hsu
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 11:57:08

    I think he has nothing to lose now to for for change…The Malay votes are more or less fixed now, so any gain in the Chinese sentiments may help him to win the next GE, which I think will not be called so soon now..

    If I were him, I would try to implement as much change as possible, in the run-up to 2013, when his term expires. Try to gian back as much middle ground as possible

    I hope he would backtrack this time, otherwise he is going to kill his own political career.

    I once told a senior diplomat from a neighbouring country that Malaysia is the best place to learn about political maneuver and politics.

    How things change from one moment to another. How fluid is the whole thing..

    Like

  15. kittykat46
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 22:04:41

    Since the PM’s announcement, I have been watching not the websites and blogs critical ot the government, but those closely aligned to the government and UMNO. Guess what, they are busy working to assure their conservative base that this is more of a rebranding exercise rather than the government actually giving up its precious coercive powers….

    Najib is working on serving Chicken Rendang instead of Mutton Curry….that’s the reality of yesterday’s announcement..

    Like

  16. Li Li Fa
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 23:34:08

    Someone outstandingly missing from his photo after the Great Reforms Address at Angkasapuri are his DPM and other cabinet members.Is he losing the support from his own people? With uplifted spirit, the PM sounded bold and heroic, pitching himself up the chart of popularity. Perhaps, he wanted to show to the pundits that he could pull himself up and he was still capable of another round of political fight. and also a vote puller for the coming 13GE.

    Sliding down an anti-climax, he spoke so much but offered so little. He laid a few cards on the table but still held a stack of cards to his chest. His promises take time to be implemented and those yet to come are still floating in thin air, evaporating in vagueness. By the time these promises are passed by Parliament, it is time for the 13GE. Bersih insisted that the reforms be carried out before the 13GE. Let us see if he is going to do as demanded of him.

    Repealing the ISA is nothing new but a must-do recommended by so many segments of the people. He acted as if it was something of his brain-child when infact as a responsible leader of the country he should have repealed it ages ago, not wait for the Bersih, opposition people and the international community to remind him.

    Already he is facing opposition from the right wingers like Perkasa immediately after his address. Not to mention the other factions in his own party.

    It will be a matter of time he be forced to go back on his words; just like before on many occasions. If he sticks to his words, will there be retaliatory actions?

    Like

  17. Jong
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 00:06:45

    HahaHHa!! Luv the obvious desperate look on their faces – yeah I meant the bunch of flip-flop Baboons and know what? …they clapped for him!
    Mere words won’t work anymore, Najib. We want action, quick action and a good follow-thru!

    Folks, it’s easier and faster to repeal BN; together let’s do it come GE-13!

    Like

  18. Rhan
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 00:51:25

    I hope Najib could do more on freedom of press and media. The predicament facing us now is we have little trust towards what were reported in both MSM and alternative media, most are with partisan view and less objective. Let the free up and competition allow the reader and viewer a choice for impartial and less bias view, we needs truly independent and neutral reporting that expose the bad and dreadful act from both end, to achieve a desirable check and balance.

    No more 528.

    Like

  19. BeWildered
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 07:04:07

    This is another case showing politicians are trying multiple spins to gain short term support from voters; tangling all the carrot look alike (ISA, Freedom of XXXX…) May be this is the kind of strategy politicians in every country do. A matter of mathematics and statistics to stay in power.

    Every GE is nevertheless a testing time for voters and their political maturity, awareness and their priorities; whether it is in the interests of the nation or for self interest, or for interests of the clan, race, or religion or a mix of all these.

    Economic progress and the relative pace of economic development has spurred several surprises globally in 2011. The Arab Spring is still not over as it is coming to autumn; Lybia is almost done, next is Syria and the birth of Palestine. The Thailand GE was a big upset. The PAP unprecedented loss of votes in a well governed Singapore created a wake up call for the elites of PAP Singapore, these are among the smarted and best educated people we can find on Asia. Even the mighty Chinese government becomes a bit nervous.

    Further delay of GE13 will get us further along the down spin of rapidly receding world economy and Malaysia will get hit very hard. The world economy started to turn ugly these recent two months and will be worse the next 6 months and the pace it moves is scary.

    Let us see how GE13 fair for Malaysia. It will decide the faith of Malaysian the next five years.

    In the mean time, all these ISA abolishing news are antidotes for the fever created by Bersih 2.0 on 709.

    Time, nativity, and short memory are the three vulnerabilities of the nice Malaysian voters.

    Like

  20. Ellese
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 07:24:30

    Rhan,

    I second you on the press. Next we must have some media council or institution to complain on unfairness reporting of both MSM and alternative media. We should adopt the US SPJ journalism standard.

    Like

  21. Ellese
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 07:36:50

    Let’s get the parameters so that were not being sucked by politics of both sides. My stand is that I’m against detention without trial. But I can accept a short detention purely for security reasons. Any further extension must be subject to court review and habeas corpus remedies must be made available. As long this is pursued ill support it.

    Both sides will play child’s game. Bn bloggers says it’ll be the same and rebranding. Pr bolggers claim it’s their victory and Najib can only talk. These are immaterial. We should press both bn and pr to achieve it. We need to be bipartisan. What I’m afraid is were going to split hair again being partisan to see who are the heroes and champions. This is rubbish. And we get suck into argument that you’re wrong coz you support the opposite party and I’m right coz I’m with the right party.

    Like

  22. klm
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 09:46:45

    People. Dont celebrate yet. Najib could out of his job before the repeal can be tabled in Parliament, if it is tabled at all. UMNO could chuck him out in soon. And his successor did not promise the repeal. In fact his potential successor did not say anything.

    Like

  23. CYC
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 13:16:09

    Well said, klm.

    Like

  24. Rhan
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 14:24:05

    Being cautious and reserved is understandable, but doing something is better than doing nothing. In fact, what make us think PR would repeal ISA if they become government? Democracy under respective component party in PR is still in infancy stage and not tested, I hope Najib could do more.

    I don’t think UMNO or DPM can do much unless Najib lost the coming election. What make us think Muhyiddin want to take over the “hot” seat at this point of time, can he really do something much different compare to Najib?

    Like

  25. Rhan
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 14:29:22

    Btw, Mahathir is much inclusive then how we perceive him today when he was in power, otherwise how he could “trick” the Chinese vote for many years? Unless the Chinese is stupid.

    Like

  26. CYC
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 14:05:45

    The Chinese are not stupid, but selfish. Chinese will only unite until all other alternatives were exhausted. I learn this from history and form my opinion as such.

    Like

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