Opinion Asia This Week Malaysia reform thrust linked to PKR's strength

Malaysia reform thrust linked to PKR’s strength

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Malaysia is in need of a renewed, aggressive push for reform. That is if it wants to deliver on claims it is a new Malaysia after the Pakatan Harapan took over.

So far, we had Pakatan ministers staging a mutiny in cabinet meetings. They tried to force their desire to kick someone out of the country on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. That is because they thought this is what ‘reformasi’ was about.

There were a lot of confused Malaysians on education reform proposals. The country can’t go beyond vernacular schools and so on. So they came up with a sordid idea.

They focussed on changing the colour of the shoes to be worn by students, from white sneakers to black sneakers. This will be a major reform. Right!

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And when Anwar Ibrahim, the brain behind the whole Reformasi movement wanted to expedite his return to Parliament, many trembled.

From within the reform government to MP’s and supporters of the various parties in the reformist union, there were anti-Anwar whispers.

Some employed cyber troopers – they learnt from Umno after taking power – to undermine Anwar. They did not realise that Anwar was still a powerful reform figure.

This brought Tun Mahathir to step out of his usual to add his bit in Anwar’s big win in the Port Dickson by-election. And Anwar’s win is hailed as a massive step forward for the reformist agenda.

We are not forgetting the 100-days dilemma and the not so good investor sentiments. These damaged the reform stance of the PH government, says the opposition. Pakatan was seen as tip-toeing or deliberately slowing the agenda.

But with Anwar now back in Parliament, brace for the aftershocks.

The Pakatan has its own troubles inherited from the Party Keadilaan Rakyat’s poor unity at the front. The long, rather overdue, absence of Anwar at the helm caused some rots.

This rot followed the party in the government. Outgoing party President Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, the first woman deputy PM of the country could not help it.

History will record that she was the first woman politician to lead a party in the country. But she was overshadowed by Anwar’s charisma and popularity.

Nevertheless, the reform agenda of Malaysia will not succeed if the party that triggered the agenda fails.

Many wanted it to fail, they did not want Anwar to be elected. Their agenda was anti-reform, or rather they were for cosmetic changes.

Now their game is at its end. And yet, if the PKR does not settle its rocky and thorny image, the PH will also be in turmoil.

And that is why the country needs a tougher agenda for reform. A real one, not one on paper that cannot and will not be carried out.

Dr Mahathir has said it. No one will be above the law under a Pakatan regime. Not even the kings or the ministers or the people at large.

To achieve this level of integrity, Malaysia will need new laws and will have to abide by the laws the PH authority will implement.

Mahathir, with Anwar on his side, standing together with Pakatan leaders announced a slew of reforms.

He promised to instil trust the police, strengthen the anti-graft agency, give the election commission a new look. He also said the judiciary and civil service also need to be reformed and some of the reforms will look into the separation of powers.

In the meantime, the PH has its limitations too. Many of its ministers and MP’s are new to the role of governing.

Some of them think they got power and should act with force. Others are acting like bandits, with several video feeds showing their new characterisation.

Many will try to abuse the power given to them. They will try to cover it up and they will go all the way out to coerce others to help them cover up their bad deeds.

That is because power corrupts.

Henceforth, Malaysia needs a new pledge. It has to take quick actions against ministers who fail in their duties. Why keep them in the post for political considerations?

The country should get rid of the attitude we saw in the last decade. That is the accused stays in power, abuses the people and gets away with it.

Because this will the begining of another form of bureacracy that may kill the reformasi.

This will be a great start. But as long as the PH government keeps tip-toeing on reform, the country will not transform into a deservedly strong tiger!

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