Response to recent critics of the Pakatan Harapan government by comparing it to Barisan Nasional — Xavier Jayakumar

AUGUST 21 — “Rome wasn’t built in a day” — an adage which attests to the need for time to create great things.

This adage perfectly reflects the mammoth task the Pakatan Harapan government of today faces in trying to rebuild the nation from the ruins created over decades by the former administration.

None of the current leaders had an inkling of the challenges and difficulties they were about to face when they took over Putrajaya from the Barisan Nasional leadership.

The expectations of the “rakyat” were sky high and all eyes were on them to deliver.

However, what most of us fail to remind ourselves is the fact that PH did not take over a well-oiled machine which they could simply continue to administer — instead they took over from a government which was corrupt and rotten to the very core.

Corruption had seeped into every nook and crook of civil service, with many till today are still sympathetic to the previous regime, something that the premier had admitted several times to the media.

The culture of getting rewarded for every action was undeniable and a significant number of the civil service was not prepared to move away from this practice.

The fact remains that ministers alone cannot create miracles and need the cooperation of their subordinates which are the civil servants themselves to ensure that their intended policies are properly carried out and effectively reaches the rakyat.

Achieving this with a non-cooperative civil service is certainly impossible and as far as the public are concerned, it would definitely be perceived that the government was ineffective.

The issue itself is that many of us prefer to see the glass as half empty rather than half full.

Personally, I am rather disturbed and upset over remarks made by certain individuals some who are professionals who so blatantly and conveniently labelled the PH administration as BN 2.0.

To me, I must say that this an unfair and uncalled for statement.

For years, former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his cronies had allegedly plundered and stole from the people, not to mention the MCA and MIC, whose leaders were apparently greatly enriched in the process.

Over the years, I cannot recall a single positive impression the people have for MIC in contributing to the Indian community, except of remarks that they have stolen the little that they had been allocated.

Pakatan Harapan is not perfect, has its flaws and is still learning as it progresses but do ask ourselves, do we see such things happening today?

Like Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pointed out, neither had PH borrowed RM42 billion, nor did they steal from the people.

PH leaders are not the ones who left the nation struggling with a close to RM1 trillion debt, neither are they the ones who go about inciting unnecessary racial tension and stirring up religious issues in an effort to build support.

Simply put, PH has a huge mess to clear and a nation to rebuild — it is going to take time and a massive effort.

Corruption, which was the nation’s greatest cancer, is reducing, and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) certainly has more bite than it ever did under the previous regime.

The media fraternity despite its present woes to survive whether in its transition from print to digital or print vs digital, cannot deny the freedom they have enjoyed in their reporting post the 14th General Election.

Criticisms against the government today, may it be fair or otherwise, are published without the restraint or “hidden hands” that was practiced by the previous regime.

If we, the people gave the BN more than six decades, why are we so quick to hurl accusations at the PH government? More than one year to undo decades of damages is certainly not a fair bargain.

There is certainly no doubt that we did the right thing in getting rid of BN and we must be fair in giving PH a chance.

With capable leaders like Dr Mahathir and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, given the right amount of time, I am confident Malaysia will once again rise to be among the Asian tigers in the region.

* Dr Xavier Jayakumar is Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources

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

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