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How far can the new govt go?

  • The ball is right at the feet of the new government whether it wants to go further from here or revert to BN's old way.

By KUIK CHENG KANG
Sin Chew Daily

I recently had some chats with friends, mostly on the new government.

Generally, we agree that since we know the previous administration was totally rotten, now that we have given you a strong mandate, you should focus on improving the country's economy instead of blaming the ex-BN government or excusing yourself with lack of cash.

Many have expected the country's economy to improve after a change of government. Unfortunately we do not quite see this: the market remains gloomy and the ringgit is still sluggish.

With the SST put into implementation, although we can enjoy many tax-free goods, complaints are still heard if you were to visit a morning market now.

Many have pinned their hopes on the new government to complete the reform mission, but PH has its own internal and external problems. The ruling coalition needs to race with time and restore the corrupted separation of powers within the shortest possible time and fulfill its election pledges.

Those voted for PH in GE14 are most concerned about how far the new government can go. I personally feel that the following factors will determine the future of PH and whether the New Malaysia reform will die a premature death.

1. Tun Mahathir's health: We know Tun M is a controversial person, but he is the only man that has what it takes to bring about peaceful transition from May 9 to this day.

Thanks to him, we have seen a smooth power transition, relative acceptance from the Malays and the Rulers, lack of resistance from civil servants and suppression of conflicts and differences among PH component parties.

As such, Tun Mahathir's health provides that assurance for the new government to go forward.

2. PKR elections: If a crack emerges from the party elections of PKR, the biggest component party within PH, the coalition's stability will be at stake. It is no secret that Rafizi Ramli, supported by Anwar family, wants to take down Azmin Ali, even though the former DPM has over and again denied such a claim.

3. Old sore: Although Tun Mahathir sought the full royal pardon of Anwar Ibrahim soon after he took office, there is no denying that He had destroyed Anwar's precious life, health and family reunion.

It is understandable why some people have speculated that Anwar may not get to become the prime minister one day. Anwar wants to get back to the Parliament as soon as possible in order to remove the factors of uncertainty.

Anwar must nevertheless be prepared for the election outcome, and whoever wins the election and becomes his new deputy, the new PH government will still be the loser. Whether this will lead to the eventual split of the coalition and collapse of the new government remains a critical development that demands our attention and concern.

4. Economy: In conjunction with the National Day celebration, Sin Chew Daily conducted a nationwide poll to find out what Malaysians wanted most for New Malaysia. The result: a better economy.

We can understand it is hard for the new government to honor all its election pledges within the first 100 days, but please, fix the economy soonest in order to win back the rakyat's faith.

Cursing the previous BN government will not help strengthen the current administration. The honeymoon period is now over, and the feel-good atmosphere post-GE14 is thinning down, as challenges seep in.

5. Reorganization of Malay rightists: Malay rightist and conservative forces are in the midst of putting themselves together, posing a real threat to the new government as its fate will be determined by the Malays who make up more than 60% of the country's population.

To fight for more Malay support, the economic affairs ministry organized a congress on the future of bumiputras and the nation, which passed a resolution to urge the government to implement single language stream education policy, as PH attempts to outdo Umno in caring for the Malays, betraying the mandate of more than 90% of Chinese voters.

PH should insist on its pledge to reject racist policies, or it will find itself stumbling into the trap set up by Umno.

Organized by JMM and orchestrated by Umno, the "Bangkit Melayu" rally has indeed started fanning the flame in trying to bring together conservative Islamic and rightist forces as well as civil servants unhappy with the new regime.

And when these two giants clash, we all know who will get crushed in between.

During their speeches in the rally, Umno leaders specifically pointed their fingers at DAP, accusing that PH's Malay leaders are nothing more than the puppets of DAP.

Such dangerous remarks will severely bog down national unity.

The "Bangkit Melayu" rally also passed an eight-point declaration, including objection to government recognition of UEC certificate, clouding the prospect of DAP's effort to get UEC recognized before Chinese New Year.

As for the rest of the declaration: to preserve the status of Islam as the country's official religion, protect and enhance Islamic education and development organizations, oppose un-Islamic thinking, sternly warn individuals questioning the bumi status of Malays, defend the status of Bahasa Melayu, enforce the use of Bahasa Melayu among government officials and defend the status of the Malay Rulers.

We are not against these things, but unfortunately they have been constantly exploited by irresponsible individuals to create a sense of crisis among the Malays.

The future of New Malaysia can only be protected if there is mutual understanding and tolerance.

6. Anti-establishment risks: In addition to racist politics, the vast public services sector constitutes yet another dominant force.

The vested interests of public servants have been axed following the instalment of the new government, not to mention public ridicule and distrust from the new government. It is suicidal for the new government to clash with such a colossal institution.

7. Sinophobia: There is no wrong for an elected government to strive to defend the country's sovereignty and benefits, but repeatedly testing the bottomline of Beijing in a bid to win the support of local Malays is never a smart move.

Tun Mahathir said recently that local residents (the Malays) would have to be forced into the rural areas or jungles if the government allowed three million Chinese nationals to buy up properties and take up residence in the country. Such a comment will not help improve our relations with Beijing but will have a negative connotation to businessmen from both sides.

Besides the seven major challenges above, PH component parties still need to deal with crisis and problems arising from Mahathirism 2.0, such as the third national car, vision schools and the return of old ideas.

The ball is right at the feet of the new government whether it wants to go further from here or revert to BN's old way.

 

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