IPOH, June 13 — The increased public scrutiny over government policy is a good sign for the so-called “New Malaysia”, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said today.
The DAP MP said she was happy to see more public discourse over the decisions made by Pakatan Harapan (PH), as this was a marked improvement from the situation under the previous BN government.
“Last time when the government played up racial and religious issues, people were scared to speak up. But now, we don’t waste time on this,” she said during a televised interview with Astro Awani.
“We have more time to focus on policies. This is a new healthy trend where the people can voice their opinion to their leaders and the leaders can listen.”
Yeoh said the government wants to promote a culture of honesty and accountability to the people of Malaysia by being transparent with their decisions.
She said the people had clearly rejected the previous administration which was perceived to be dishonest, inefficient, and unclean.
To this end, she said PH wanted to show that they would deal honestly and transparently with any problems that cropped up.
“For example, Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad announced that he would take the education minister’s portfolio, but the people said that this did not match the promises in our manifesto,” she explained.
“We apologised and corrected the scenario. I feel that is what the people want from their leaders. If we make a mistake, we must be honest and quickly fix it.”
Yeoh said the people’s expectations of ministers on social media had changed, as they could see a clear difference between the leaders of the previous administration and the current ones.
“When the previous ministers posted something on Twitter or made an announcement, we felt annoyed. But now look at the reaction when people see Defence Minister Mohammad Sabu using an automatic teller machine,” she said.
“The expectation has changed. And that is why, if ministers are close to the people, they can get transparent feedback.”
In the new political climate, Yeoh also said ministers were holding daily press conferences to announce new policies, adding that this was a healthy development for the country.
She noted that leaders were also quick to provide updates for their announcements, citing Information and Communications Minister Gobind Singh Deo’s constant updates on the 2018 World Cup telecast by Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM).
“Gobind gave updates everyday, until we now have the RM30 million [sponsorship]. We see the response from the public was heard by our leaders and this is a trend we want to encourage.”
“Instead of listening to consultants, ministers should get closer to the people so they can hear the public’s feedback,” she added.