Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Post-Election Perspectives

The election is over and the dust has settled. To the credit of the local town councils, the cleaning was done swiftly and efficiently. In no time the vestiges of a general election recently held was no longer to be seen. We thank God that parochialism and extremism has been swept away, those who espouse only one way of life found themselves floundering as Malaysians voted with their feet and democracy, development and multi-racialism remain the bulwark of our society.

But after all the excitement is over, has anything changed? The euphoria of the landslide triumph was beginning to settle as reality sets in. Is the election a precursor of a new order, a new hope of a new style and new leadership with new vigor for nation? Some are disappointed with the first evidence of the new that their expected changes in the new cabinet did not take place. Landside victory, but still the familiar old faces, a new government but very much the same people still in charge. In particular what I saw is the politics of accommodation. We now have a new cabinet that is arguably the largest
ever.Is this needful? Will they be more effective, more focused in discharging their responsibilities? Or is it just an attempt to placate the many voices clamouring for more. Is Pak Lah's government more governable or is it becoming more unwieldy?

I also saw the politics of appeasement. How else do you explain the fact that many old faces were retained in their existing portfolios, not necessarily because they did well, and especially the few who were tainted by allegations of abuse and arrogance. At the very least you would have expected that Pak Lah, given the strong mandate now, would reshuffle the pack a bit more to send a strong signal to all that he will not tolerate abuse and arrogance.

Most sadly, I also saw the politics of annihilation. At least 2 ex-ministers whom I believed were at least doing a decent job were dropped by their respective parties. Why? Wrong team! Does not matter that you performed or not, more important is whether you are loyal to the right people. Looks like the hatchet was not buried, just hidden.

Will we see an honest, responsible, accountable and caring government as proposed by the new boss? Or will we see more of the same - lack of transparency, nepotism, allegations of abuse etc? I don't doubt his sincerity, but I do wonder if there's enough political will to see the agenda through. If the changes do not come and disillusionment sets in, the government must not blame the rakyat if they vote with their feet again and swing in the other direction at the next election.

For the good of our beloved country, may I suggest that the new PM ensures that the ministers and deputy ministers walk the talk and uphold the Rukun Negara in their service to the nation viz :-

Belief in God
Loyalty to King and Country
Upholding the Constitution
Rule of Law
Good Behaviour and Morality

He has started by introducing the report-card system to monitor the performance of the MPs and sending a strongly worded message that those who live beyond their means would be open to scrutiny. Let's pray that the fight against corruption that was initiated before the elections would not stop but be intensified during the coming days so that this cancer in our society would be eliminated for the good of the country.

And may we, Christians support the Government by i) praying consistently
for the leaders that they would be good stewards of their mandate, practice integrity in their lives and always act justly in their duties, ii) speak up and be counted in matters of the state, to be prepared to help be the nation's conscience, and iii) participate in various ways and at different levels to help make our society a more just, transparent, caring and free society.

Lai Tak Ming, GCF icommentary
14th April 2004

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