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Mahathirism and BN 2.0

  • Old weaknesses and irregularities are still very much alive despite the advent of the New Malaysia.

By LIM SUE GOAN
Sin Chew Daily

Sahabat Alam Malaysia is disappointed that despite a change of federal government, forest resource management remains unchanged.

This same feeling is felt by many others in this country. Even though Pakatan Harapan loudly chanted a "New Malaysia" slogan soon after a new government was formed, many of the old attitudes and management approaches have remained much the same.

The new government has failed to come up with new management, policies and directions while many old policies have made a comeback.

The question is: prime minster Tun Mahathir and other PH leaders are afraid of change, and the ministers have not been as marvelous as many have thought to be.

The way Tun Mahathir is running this country is just the same as how he did last time. Look East policy has been mentioned again, but he has no idea how to take the country out of the current doldrums.

Tun Mahathir is well aware that the 1.7-million civil service force is way too large for the country and will eat into the country's development fund. However, he has no idea how to fix the problem. All that he has in mind is to privatize government agencies and transfer those on government payroll to the private sector.

But, how may privatized companies are actually successful? Malaysia Airlines which has been repeatedly bailed out by the government, for example, was one of the privatization pioneers of the bygone century but ha subsequently turned back to the government for assistance due to poor management and efficiency.

Khazanah has recorded its first ever loss of RM6.3 billion in a decade, of which RM3 billion loss has been from MAS.

How to plug this bottomless hole? Like the previous BN administration, PH is not resolved enough to have a clean cut with the airline company, arguing that it is national pride that cannot be sold or closed down.

In the end, taxpayers are made to foot the bill of a continuously bleeding Khazanah.

The PH government is also considering to reintroduce the AP in a bid to support bumiputra companies. The AP issue has invited a lot of controversies during BN's time because it has been perceived as a tool for the government to help its cronies make money.

Mahathir warned last September that bumi businessmen found trading their APs or contracts would risk having them nullified. That said, it has been reported that AP awardees are in negotiations to sell their APs at RM18,000 to RM22,000 each.

The issuance of APs has proven to be detrimental to the country's interests while being unable to help the government achieve the goal of supporting bumi businesses.

Despite the fact PH has previously stressed transparency and accountability, it appears that the coalition is more than happy to bring back the old policies and walk down the old path.

Meanwhile, PH has also failed to see which way the national economy should be headed to, how to take the country out of the middle income trap, and lift the competitiveness of the B40 group.

As the new government has no idea at all how to do these, it just has to stick to the old ways of doing things, including the release of more assistance funds to help the poor.

New technology and digital economy should be the future of this country, not the third national car project.

What is worrisome is that Tun Mahathir's antiquated thinking is beginning to influence some of the younger ministers, including economic affairs minister Azmin Ali who has urged the government to map out a new Malay economic policy to ensure their wealth growth and more equal distribution of the country's wealth.

Racist mentality has sounded the first warning bell, and conservative religious concepts will sound the second. The police have begun to probe Women's Day gathering citing the Peaceful Assembly Act and Sedition Act just because some of the participants have defended the LGBT community.

The meeting between minister in the PM's department Mujahid Yusof Rawa and controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has also drawn tremendous criticisms.

The country has seen too little change over the past ten months. If every department is willing to make several moves forward, we will see a very different Malaysia. Unfortunately, our ministers are so reluctant to make the move.

For instance, entrepreneurship development minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof claims that the government will invest RM1 million to research a flying car while tourism, arts and culture minister Mohammadin Ketapi vows that there are no homosexuals in Malaysia.

The latest incident of illegal dumping of toxic chemical waste in Pasir Gudang proves that the new government is not anything different from its predecessor where industrial supervision is concerned. No prompt action was taken the incident broke out on March 7, and the state government has no idea what to do even after the incident has deteriorated.

Old weaknesses and irregularities are still very much alive despite the advent of the New Malaysia. Environmental pollution still occurs, floods are still common after rain, public security remains bad.

 

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