KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 —Former Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal today said that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has not done enough as a Prime Minister.
The Semporna MP emphasised that, in his view, Anwar's track record falls short of what the nation requires at this crucial juncture.
"I have known him for a long time. Having a chance to be Prime Minister, I don't think he has done enough. The trust is not there,” Shafie said during the 2023 Youth Economic Forum at Bank Negara, underlining the need for leaders who can inspire confidence and drive change.
In a bid to foster a more inclusive political landscape, he urged Malaysians to transcend the traditional divide between parties like Umno which is predominantly Malay, and DAP largely identified as Chinese-oriented.
"Moving forward for a better political landscape, it’s high time for us not to be driven by race. Umno is Malay and DAP is Chinese, it shouldn’t be like that,” he said.
He argued that the time has come for the nation to rise above these historical affiliations and focus on the pressing issues that affect all Malaysians.
Adding to his comment, University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute Malaysia Honorary Research Associate Bridget Welsh said that a global trend in voting behavior showed that race and religion typically account for 40 per cent of the factors influencing voters but in Malaysia, this element weighs significantly heavier.
"According to voting behaviour globally, race and religion are 40 per cent and the other 60 per cent is different reasons. However, in Malaysia race and religion accounts for 80 per cent," she said.
Addressing the endemic issue of corruption, Shafie expressed deep concern over Malaysia's RM1.08 trillion debt to this longstanding problem.
He advocated for stringent enforcement measures, referencing China's policy of expelling Cabinet ministers found guilty of corruption as an example worth emulating.
Echoing the same sentiment, Welsh labeled corruption as the malignant cancer plaguing the nation's progress and prosperity.
She stressed the need for a grassroots approach, emphasizing that the fight against corruption must begin with bolstering institutions like the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and ensuring the resilience of the judiciary.
"Corruption is the one earning that will weaken the country. Start with the basics. Politicians are a lot more accountable now than before, initiatives can be taken in certain areas.
"It must be taken in smaller measures, such as MACC needs to be strengthened, the judiciary needs to stay strong, strengthening of political funding Bill to curb illicit financial practices,” she added.