Sunday, June 22, 2008

Since March 08, 2008

The political scene in Malaysia since March 8, 2008 has been interesting and significant. To start with, the Barisan Nasional (BN) with UMNO being the backbone to the present government has been battered by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lead by Parti Keadilan Rakyat and its de facto leader Mr Anwar Ibrahim. The loss of 2/3 majority has been a major blow to BN and Prime Minister (PM) Abdullah Badawi. This is indeed a sharp turn of event from his first election as PM when the opposition was almost vanished from what many described as the strongest mandate given to any PM in Malaysia’s history. Till now, debates are ongoing on what has happened that contributed to such a change of fortune to PM?

Whatever the answers, I do notice the present trends bring about some positive development to the country which I like to highlight:

1) Malaysia is now much more open as a society than before. Freedom of speech has been greatly enhanced and embracing diversity is visible. For example, TV stations have been airing more non-Bahasa programmes, without compromising the quantity and quality of Bahasa-programme. Interestingly, RTM2 has equally good evening Mandarin news slot as compared to other private stations.

2) Malaysians could now get to evaluate alternative governance by oppositions in 4 other states in addition to Kelantan, particularly industrial powerhouses like Selangor and Penang. Now, the oppositions have the best chance to convince the people that they are better alternative by doing the real things. Whoever produces better results, it’s the people who ultimately benefits from it. This is like giving the taxpayers (as shareholders) more choices of government to create long term values.

3) The step-up effort to improve performance of GLCs is another important measure to boast the economy and if well-delivered will bring about tremendous benefits to the country and its people.

4) Further liberalisation of economic policies to encourage FDIs is much welcome. One important measure to this is to allow foreign entities to invest in the country without political intervention, so long as it makes commercial sense. Small successes are visible and plenty of room to improve, what have been done so far is indeed a good beginning.

5) Politically, there have been vocal voices to downplay the racial card which could elevate the country to another level of socio-political maturity, and pave way to move the country in the direction of meritocracy, with those need help should find available resources to their disposal. With this, there is a better chance to realise the ‘Satu Bangsa, Satu Negara’.

On the sideline:

Recently, I spotted the Regent of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, shopping for books at Kinokuniya (KLCC) with only one helper carrying a basket of books. Your Highness has been gracious to allow me taking his picture with a smile, to be shown to my 5-month old girl (and he told me he has a 3-month old baby too). He ended up giving my Xin Ning his ‘Best Wishes’. How gracious.

I thought for someone of his stature could be so down to earth and so close to rakyat like me, it is time for those who are holding position in government to do the same and stay in touch with the rakyat. The better you understand rakyat, the better you could serve us and the more effective your government is, whether you are from BN or PR.

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