20/20 reality of governance in 2020 — M. Santhananaban

DECEMBER 31 — The present government was elected in a difficult and demanding but proper election and after almost twenty months in office its performance is the subject of some satisfaction and much speculation. The people who voted the Pakatan Harapan government to power had high expectations especially in seeking the ouster of the previous government which had vicious kleptocratic and corrupt elements in it. It is encouraging that some key personalities associated with the previous government have been charged and are being tried. These trials may last well into the early 2020s.

There is widespread feeling that the PH government is unduly focused on those segments in the country which did not support PH in that last election and feel that they have lost power. That concern of the PH is somewhat misplaced. Instead of attempting to placate, please and pacify this segment the government should instead focus on governance that would benefit 99 per cent of the population. The PH must also apportion resources and time to educate the entire electorate that in a system of parliamentary democracy there will always be winners and losers. In a parliamentary democracy the losers should not seek to be compensated, certainly not at the expense those who voted in the government.

As 2020 approaches the government must make every effort to fulfill its election manifesto. As there are less than forty months before the completion of PH’s tenure there is very little time left. Instead of bickering, backbiting and attempting to blackmail each other, components of the PH government must get on with the business of providing good governance, accountability and transparency. The economy has to be revitalised and fresh ideas are needed to upscale our education system and employment prospects. The private sector and imaginative entrepreneurs must be encouraged to embark on innovative projects with assistance from the public sector.

Obnoxious, obsolete and odious laws that were introduced to suppress responsible free expression are being abrogated, albeit not at the pace expected. Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary have an obligation to attend to the task of restoring the supremacy of the Malaysian Constitution so that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is restored to the original sacrosanct position of that highest office. The press and media and the public have a role to play in this process so that no arm of the government becomes overly powerful. The government must be guided by some overarching tenets including that of promoting greater unity in the country, affirming and recognising the full equality of the citizens of the country and recognising the rich diversity of the country. Special efforts must be made to integrate fully the people of Sabah and Sarawak and other discrete groups so that more people from these two states and these groups are in leadership positions in the executive branch of government.

The two states are exemplary in terms of fostering inter religious harmony and that spirit of inclusiveness should be emulated to a certain extent by the peninsula.

It is also important to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Malaysia. The recent decision to close down Utusan Malaysia is a sad episode in our history. Some three years earlier the jawi version of Utusan had also ceased publication. It is important to revive both these publications at least as online portals. Undeniably these were part of our early nationalism and nation building process.

In proceeding into the 2020s it is appropriate to remember the first challenge of Vision 2020 as envisaged in the early 1990s. It was the aspiration for a Bangsa Malaysia. Now that 2020 is upon us it is essential to work earnestly to realise a strong and united Malaysian community that can transcend race, religion and region so that mutual respect and decorum is properly observed .

This realisation of a Bangsa Malaysia would be in line with the Shared Prosperity Vision.

The Prime Minister in May 2019 in launching the Shared Prosperity Vision had stated in para 82:

“That the greatness of the plan is meaningless if the execution is not carried out well and monitored to ensure its success. It requires us to work together seriously as a nation so that all Rakyat can enjoy Shared Prosperity in a truly developed Malaysia, dignified and independent.”

Every citizen has a duty to support the creation of a united, strong and forward looking Malaysian nation.

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