A year ago, Malaysia made a history that most of us never thought would happen − and that is toppling a government that has been in power for 61 years. Now that a year has passed and in retrospect, was the change necessary? Is Pakatan Harapan government bringing changes that Barisan Nasional never could?
To that, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir said yes, citing that one of PH’s greatest achievements was weeding out corruption in the nation.
Malay Mail reported Dr Mahathir as saying that he is proud that rampant corruption is no longer a burden that the rakyat have to face. Malaysians are unaccustomed from the culture of paying brides in order to achieve something.
“Today, people don’t complain so much about corruption. Now, we don’t have people complaining that they had difficulties doing everything because of the demand to be paid some extra payment and all that.
“And people are getting approval much more quickly than before. That for us is also an achievement,” the premier said today (May 8), one day ahead of PH’s surprise victory anniversary in the 14th General Election.
Dr Mahathir recognized that some of the public is unsatisfied with his administration due to the cut of cash handouts and pork-barrel politics.
“Buying support with money is corruption. We cannot do that, and even if we were to do it, we cannot since we don’t have the money,” he said.
“There are many of those who used to receive a lot of money. Even though they hated the old government, they are disappointed because the new government does not give them money.”
Dr M Gives His Cabinet a ‘C’ Grade
Tomorrow marks a full year since PH seized the federal power. If a grade has to be given to reflect the Cabinet’s performance, Dr Mahathir said he would rate “5 over 10”. That is a borderline C grade in Malaysia school grading system.
NST reported on Monday (May 6) that Dr Mahathir would not reshuffle the Cabinet and the ministers have his 100% support.
“They (the ministers) are performing. I don’t see any reason to reshuffle the Cabinet,” said the 93-year-old premier.
Dr Mahathir admitted that the ministers were inexperience when they took office but he assured that they are learning fast every day. He also added that the ministers were afraid of being accused of wrongdoings, which hindered their performance.
“Sometimes they do something without consulting me.
“That should not be done. Creating some minor problems. But they learn.
“Sometimes they get bad publicity because of what they do.
“Then, they come to me to ask what should be done. I listen to them and give my views.”
Khairy gives ‘D’ Grade instead
The premier’s borderline C grading on his Cabinet is not far from the grade given by Khairy Jamaluddin, one of the loudest critics among the opposition MPs.
“A ‘D’… Not an ‘F’, because I think there are certain things that they’ve tried to do, but certainly not even a ‘C’, because their manifesto promises are largely unkept,” Malaysiakini quoted Khairy as saying in March.
Khairy continued that the cost of living is still a burden to the rakyat and the government has failed to respond deftly to the unhappy Malay community. A large portion of the community deemed PH government is sidelining Malay rights, especially after Putrajaya announced their intention to rectify Rome Statute of the International Crime Court and International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
Human Rights Group disappointed in PH
Today, the Human Rights Watch expressed their “profound disappointment” over PH’s reformation on human rights-related issues.
Its deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said they were excited to hear PH’s manifesto which pledged to improve the human rights standard in Malaysia, but the administration seems to have back-pedalled or done little to commit to the promised reform agenda, The Star reported.
“We know from experience that momentum for reform is highest at the very beginning, and frankly that hasn’t happened…
“It feels like we are heading in the wrong direction,” Robertson said in a press conference today, joined by Amnesty International Malaysia.
Other than the Rome Statute and ICERD, PH also promised to abolish doranian laws such as Sedition Act, the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca), the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), and the National Security Council Act. But the laws still exist today, while the death penalty is put on put a moratorium.
Robertson said PH faced objections from Umno and PAS, causing the government to reverse its commitments and delay its reform agenda. He said PH should stand firm when faced with such resistance.
“There’s far too much of the government coasting on the prevailing political winds. It has to stand up and show some conviction.
“If you look at the way most governments proceed, it is in the first year of their governance that the most reform is made. This is when the political momentum is there and people are expecting for things to change.
“We have now crossed the one-year mark, it’s not too late for reforms. But in another year or two, the thing people will be talking about is looking towards the next election.
“And once the politics get even deeper into it, it becomes harder to make reforms,” Robertson lamented.
Doranian laws to be Tabled in next Parliament session
Two days ago (May 6), Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said amendments of Sosma and Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 will likely be tabled in Parliament at the next session, while POCA and POTA are amidst refining, The Edge reported.
It is the Home Affairs Ministry’s (KDN) commitment to amend or repeal these harsh laws.
However, Dr Mahathir once said that PH does not have two-third seats in the Parliament in order to push for a legislative change. He said in late February, during a ceramah for Semenyih by-election, that it is the lack of two-third majority seats that is hindering PH to push for laws such as limiting Prime Minister’s tenure to two electoral terms and lowering down the voting age to 18-year-old.
What are your thoughts on PH government’s performance so far? What grade would you give them after running the country for a year?
Let us know in the comments below.