What we have now is BN 2.0 — Ragunath Kesavan

I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician — Charlie Chaplin

AUGUST 18 — We were euphoric on May 9, 2018; after slightly more than one year later, we are a state of flux following the mishaps, missteps, confusion, the unacceptable direction of the nation and what the future holds for us.

Within a few weeks of taking over, the politicians and their handlers distanced Harapan and the government from the promises made to the people in the Harapan Manifesto.
 

It is not cast in stone

We promised but there is no timeline to deliver

We did not promise anything

We can’t deliver because of Najib

Is this not arrogance? At the very least they owe us a duty to provide an explanation as to when the promises will be fulfilled or why they cannot be fulfilled.

Our biggest concerns are related to the economy. Whilst cutting expenditure and reducing waste is good start, beyond that, where is the economic blue print to kick start or provide stimulus to the economy?

Talking down to the rakyat by asking them to work harder or to cultivate bamboo is condescending and incredulous!

If cutting expenditure is the first major step towards a leaner economy, how does one explain the third car venture? No government funds involved?

Is there a mandatory open tender system in place for government procurement? Is there transparency and accountability for public scrutiny of government tenders and awards?

What has happened to the review of the lop sided and/or, “illegal” contracts or the “unsafe” projects? Rimba Kiara? Lynas? The current crop of Ministers appears now to be strong advocates and apologists for such projects.

Education reform? Black shoes? Khat? Swimming lessons in hotels? Matriculation places? Amongst others!

Zakir Naik?

These decisions and their implementation reflect poorly on the leadership; they lack consultation; they demonstrate no cohesion in the decision-making process; and they are in complete disregard of sensitivities of the people.

Where is the education blueprint? PPSMI or not? Khat or not? If such decisions were explained and disclosed as part of a road map prepared after consultation with stakeholders, there would not have been such a hostile reception to these issues.

The previous government operated on a similar knee-jerk basis with ad hoc decision-making manner. Regrettably, this is continuing! These decisions appear to be the result of politicking to cover weaknesses in carrying out entrusted responsibilities.

Common ground of acceptance on fundamental issues even by BN are no longer sacrosanct. The proposed amendment to the conversion law in Selangor and the denial of rights of ancestral land for Orang Asli and Orang Asal.

What more with the fundamental promises on the accountability and collective decision-making process to limit the powers of the PM? Law reforms and human rights?

What we have now is BN 2.0 with continued political cronyism, abuse, compromise with scant regard to the groundswell of opposition and sensitivities of the Malaysian multi-cultural society.

On the “sex scandal” there has been no closure. Was there a cover up? Who were the masterminds? Who were the person(s) in the video clip?

Succession to the next PM? Is there a plan? How is it going to pan out?

These shortcomings must be addressed quickly and comprehensively by PH. Blaming Najib for every “wrong” and the present inability to perform is a poor excuse and an approach that is sure to back fire.

The popularity of the “BossKu” campaign by Najib reflects poorly on PH. The groundswell Malay support for Najib is in effect a “default” reaction by a segment of society who are tired with the inability of PH to deliver on its promises.

PH must accept their electoral win was by default. Fed up with the abuses and corruption of the BN government, voters voted in favour of the default option! Now, unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the present administration are the prime movers for the recent support garnered by Najib.

The Institutional Reforms Committee was formed with much hope and support from the people. The Report produced with much hard work appears to have gathered dust. The Report has been embargoed. It has not seen the light of day purportedly on the basis that it involves official secrets. Sadly, this is a throwback to the BN era,

It is about time that politicians drill down, engage stakeholders, work on and generate road maps for the economy, education and law reform.

Limits on the powers of the PM, MBs, CMs and Ministers must be introduced and implemented as soon as possible.

There must be cohesiveness in leadership governed by fundamental principles of the rule of law, accountability and mutual respect for all of us.

If at any time your position in Cabinet or leadership is compromised, you must resign for the greater good of democracy and accountability. Principled resignation is a matter of honour and it serves only to enhance our democratic system.

*Ragunath Kesavan was Malaysian Bar president from 2009 to 2011.

**This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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