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Luckily we had a new government

  • Luckily we had a new government after the May 9 general elections. If BN were to continue running this country, more unimaginable things could pop up.

By LIM SUE GOAN
Sin Chew Daily

Luckily we had a new government after the May 9 general elections. If BN were to continue running this country, more unimaginable things could pop up.

Imagine Najib were to remain as our prime minister. First of all, the economy would continue to go downhill because BN would have to honor its election pledges, including pay raise for 1.6 million civil servants from July and RM5,000 bonuses for each Felda settler.

Government's operating expenditure would continue to rise at the expense of development expenditure. If this goes beyond what the government could cope, GST rate would be further revised upward.

Secondly, the hidden debts could burst, including RM199.1 billion government-guaranteed debts (14.6% of GDP) and RM201.4 billion lease payments for public-private partnership (PPP) projects. The government would be victimized if the companies involved could not settle their debts.

The BN government would likely siphon resources elsewhere to settle 1MDB's immediate debts. Bank Negara reportedly purchased a 22.58-hectare plot of land for RM2 billion in the name of constructing a financial education center. The money was subsequently used to settle 1MDB's end-2017 debt.

With 1MDB unable to honor its debts and interests, if BN were to remain as federal government, it would continue to cover up and siphon resources from somewhere else to settle 1MDB's debts, which would snowball to unthinkable proportions, while the world would continue to be kept in the dark over the scandal.

Meanwhile, politics has penetrated deep into key national institutions, infinitely expanding the executive powers and rendering the checks and balances mechanism basically dysfunctional. The Parliament and other institutions would not raise a question over such irregularities and acts of contempt of law would keep happening in future.

From the many things revealed after the 14th general elections, including the confession by AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes that he had come under tremendous pressure from the PMO to express open support for BN shortly before GE14; and revelation by MACC chief commissioner Mohd Shukri Abdull that his life was in danger while he was probing SRC International and the RM2.6 billion political donation, forcing him to momentarily flee to the States.

All these point to the fact that BN leaders were in jitters to cling on to power. If BN were to remain the government, press freedom would be further eroded.

The previous administration also exploited all sorts of racist and religious tactics to divide the people, trying to raise fears among the Malays for DAP. All these are time bombs that could go off anytime.

Fortunately we now have a two-party system that would bring acts of racism under control.

The so-called TN50 is just an excuse, and the damages inflicted upon democracy and the Malaysian society by the autocratic ex-regime will only grow by the day.

Given the complete mess left behind by the previous BN administration, little wonder prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir has described his premiership this time as a very challenging one given the highly uncertain environment when compared to when he took over the same job for the first time in 1981.

Tun Mahathir also said he was inheriting a practically destroyed country, financially and institutionally.

It is foreseeable that rebuilding the country is never an easy task. It will take a lot of drastic measures to trim the debts (the PM has announced to scrap the KL-Singapore HSR project), not to mention PH needs to honor its election pledges, including financial aid ahead of Raya, RM50 monthly EPF contributions for housewives, deferment of PTPTN loan settlement for borrowers earning less than RM4,000 a month, abolition of highway tolls, etc.

With the saving from axed mega projects channeled instead to fulfilling election pledges, do we still have anything left to stimulate the country's economy?

Moreover, the eroded independence of the three branches of government need to be restored through legislation to accord independent status to the Attorney-General's Chambers and MACC, among others.

Consequently, PH may need to enlist the help from outside to reverse the existing racist policies and antiquated economic models while drawing up more liberal new policies to lure foreign funds and expertise in pushing ahead institutional reforms and economic transformation.

PH's electoral victory is widely perceived by the world as a positive development. It is now time for the new government to introduce new policies to expedite the rebuilding and re-engineering of this country.

While the 2018 elections have buried the hypocritical "1Malaysia" in favor of a "New Malaysia", the journey ahead of us is by no means smooth, and we all must do our part to see to its success.

 

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