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Abdullah’s biggest problem is the loss of government legitimacy and moral authority to ask Malaysians to make sacrifices when he has failed to deliver his reform pledge in the past 28 months to eradicate corruption and set an example of integrity
It is most disappointing and unfortunate that after one week, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the top Barisan Nasional leaders still failed to grasp and address the core and thrust of the public outrage at the 30-sen price hike for petrol, diesel and LPG, and why their calls to the people for “lifestyle change”, “don’t be greedy” and “to make some sacrifices” had fallen on stony ground.
Even more serious, the 4,000 Barisan Nasional leaders who attended the special briefing at the Putra World Trade Centre on the oil price hikes also failed to understand the root cause of the people’s anger or dared not articulate them – as evident from their three-hour dialogue with the Prime Minister.
The people are angry and outraged by the latest oil hikes, not so much because there had to be an increase, but by the manner, timing and amount of the increase, and most important of all, by the loss of moral authority and legitimacy of the government to call on the people to make “lifestyle change” and “sacrifices”.
The failure of the Abdullah administration to deliver its reform pledge and programme, particularly after winning an unprecedented 92% parliamentary majority in the 2004 general election, has greatly undermined its moral authority and legitimacy to call on the people to make one-sided “sacrifices” or “lifestyle change”.
Why has Abdullah’s much-vaunted anti-corruption campaign become a farce, with the 18 “sharks” still swimming scot-free after two years with the Anti-Corruption Agency unable to nap a single one of them?
Why have all the promises of government reform and more efficient delivery of public services just NATO – “no action talk only” – as proven by the massive floods in Shah Alam two Sundays ago, stinking tap water in Klang Valley, lack of local government liability for negligence resulting in the the Highlands Towers collapse and tragedy of December 11, 1993 which killed 43 people and made over 1,000 others homeless?
Where is the promised accountability and transparency when there is no proper accounting for Petronas’ hundreds of billions of ringgit of profits, particularly when it has a history of decades of profligacy and extravagance, including billion-ringgit bail-outs of mega-failures with no one being held liable whether for criminal breach of trust or professional negligence?
Unless Abdullah is prepared to address the underlying anger and outrage of the people at the government’s “cakap tak serupa bikin” and begin to deliver its reform pledge and programme of a clean, incorruptible, accountable, transparent, trustworthy and efficient administration, then all its info-psy war and mobilization of the 4.5 million Barisan Nasional members will be of no avail.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman