The disjoint is so huge that one would ask if it is possible for Pakatan Harapan, with its current cabinet composition, to fulfil the needs of the people and to break them away from the unrealistic claims of a deluded opposition?
Or, is the opposition so real in its claims that the government is the one living in dreams, cut-off from reality, to where even successive defeats in by-elections mean nothing to them?
On the one hand, PH is marching on with its agenda. It has accomplished more than any of the previous and successive Barisan Nasional governments had accomplished in their first year of tenure.
Observers are saying the PH regime has accomplished one third of their manifesto. However, people around the country do not seem to understand the monumental task accomplished. Or, are they so captivated by the opposition’s rhetoric?
Then there is an opposition force that is telling people they are an inch from overthrowing the current Mahathir-led government.
While these naysayers paint a picture of a broken government rigged with internal strife, their core policy remains the imagery of a bleak future, particularly for Malaysian Muslims.
It all starts with parliament debates where opposition members, including BN’s fallen leader Najib Razak and his closest allies seem to live in a different world.
PH’s problem is that it does not understand how to translate its real politics into bread and butter for the masses. It has also limited responses to the opposition’s attacks, with a frosty communication team.
After taking over the reins of the country, PH has done a lot for the people. It has opened new segments of health care for women in villages and it is pursuing plans to rebuild the rural economy.
PH has a slew of projects aimed at uplifting womenfolk in deep rural areas. Some of these projects are the Permatang Pauh Women’s Project, Program Jana Ekonomi Prihatin (Projek Prihatin) or Economic Development Program, which aims to help less fortunate women and single mothers to generate additional income through training, and skills.
PH is also running a Health Carnival in Permatang Pauh, the bastion of the Anwar Ibrahim family in Penang. There is also ongoing fight against drug proliferation.
Also underway is a health programme called ROSE (Removing Obstacles to Cervical Screening), a new cervical screening programme featuring a test kit that allows women to collect their own sample and send this to a lab for testing of the presence of cervical cancer-causing HPV or human papillomavirus.
All these socio-economic improvement measures are being done by members of PH’s majority component Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
There is media freedom, there is no clamping on news and there is no power forcing the media to hide the truth while the government is trying to be as transparent as possible in its transactions and is even harsh on the fallen BN.
Mahathir’s government made a breakthrough in bringing China back to the negotiation table to reduce the inflated cost of a project to a more realistic one. Criticised by Najib, the PH government has no choice but to carry on with the project because of the termination clauses inked by the ex-PM, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
But, what is PH doing so wrong it is the opposition bandwagon that is getting the shine?
Is it the job for PH leaders to fight their own partners or discredit their own leaders because now they are in power? Do they think they are free to do anything they want? Or, free to abandon reform agendas and call for support for only one community fear they might lose elections?
Is it the agenda for some to safeguard their interests against Anwar Ibrahim to prevent the latter from becoming PM? Their job is not to persist that Mahathir remains as PM or to protect the non-performing ministers who need a kick out of the cabinet. Is that what the people voted them for?
The job for PH leaders is to champion the people, take care of communities and push for change. They are in government by the people’s choice and for a reason and they must work for the people, not for their own dreams.
If some MPs and members of the governing coalition are to carry on with their Machiavellianism, as in opposing PH leaders, then they should rethink their actions.
Here, I am not talking of Nurul Izzah, the daughter of Anwar Ibrahim, who rightly criticised the PM over Public Accounts Committee appointments. It was when Nurul Izzah pointed out that the government had backpedaled on their own manifesto that PH finally appointed a BN-UMNO MP to head the PAC.
When PH defeated Najib Razak’s regime, they achieved this thanks to communities coming together. These communities wanted something. Now, in some ways, these communities are saying no to the PH.
This means the PH is doing something wrong: they need to get back to their original struggle and listen to the communities that gave them power.
This is where I believe they are falling short./TISG