444 days after the historic change of government of May 9, 2018, it is time for a major review of Pakatan Harapan promise of a New Malaysia and 14GE Pakatan Harapan Manifesto

Malaysians, including Pakatan Harapan leaders, must recognise the disappointment and disillusionment of large segments of PH supporters who had voted for the historic change of government in the 14th General Election on May 9 last year, who believed that the Pakatan Harapan government in Putrajaya had gone back to the bad old ways of the previous Barisan Nasional government.

They are wrong, but what is more important is that we must be able to communicate and convince them that their disappointment and disillusionment while understandable are completely misplaced and that Pakatan Harapan remains as committed as ever in resetting the nation-building process to build a New Malaysia and is making progress in this direction.

The Economist, in its edition dated Dec. 18, 2018, named Malaysia together with Ethiopia and Armenia in the three-nation finals list in its “ovation country of the year 2018” – for Malaysian voters who “fired a Prime Minister who could not adequately explain why there was US$700 million in his bank account”.

The latest edition of Economist, however, expressed its disappointment with the pace of reform and said: “If PH does not get the economy going, it may wind up in opposition for a few years; if it does not refurbish Malaysia’s democracy, it may be out of office for a generation.”

Malaysia is at the crossroads – to move forward to be a top world-class nation with an inclusive nation-building policy leveraging on the best qualities of the diverse races, religions, languages and cultures or to be relegated to the trajectory towards a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state obsessed by divisive and intolerant race and religious politics.

Let us acknowledge that we have made a good start in the last 14 months to build a New Malaysia where Malaysia can become a top world-class nation in every field of human endeavour.

The PH had made several good and important appointments to pave the way for far-reaching institutional, political and democratic reforms for a New Malaysia, including:

  • Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat as Chief Justice, taking over from Richard Malanjum who had retired on April 2;
  • Datuk Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof as Speaker of Parliament;
  • Tommy Thomas as Attorney-General;
  • Azhar Azizan Harun or better known as Art Harun as Chairman and Dr. Azmi Sharon as Deputy Chairman of Election Commission;
  • Hamid Bador as Inspector-General of Police;
  • Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor;
  • Zulkifli Zainal Abdin as Chief of Armed Forces;
  • Ismail Bakar as Chief Secretary;
  • Syed Zaid Albar as Security Commission Chairman;
  • Nik Azman Nik Abdul Majid as Auditor-General;
  • Tan Sri Abdul Kassim Ahmad as Director-General of National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption;
  • Latheefa Koya as Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner succeeding Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull.

The PH has amended the Constitution to lower the voting age from 21 years to 18 years although an amendmdent of the Constitution to fulfil the PH Manifesto pledge to restore powers to Sabah and Sarawak was defeated for lack of two-thirds parliamentary majority.

The long-awaited IPCMC Bill has been presented for first reading and the civil society given three months for public feeback and consultation.

We can argue whether more reforms could not be done.

444 days after the historic change of government of May 9, 2018, it is time for a major review of Pakatan Harapan promise of a New Malaysia and 14th General Election Pakatan Harapan Manifesto.

Let PH be frank with the people and admit where we have promised the impossible for I believe Malaysians will appreciate our frankness with their support and confidence largely intact.

Let us also identify the programmes and proposals which we cannot achieve in 100 days or in one year, provided we can convince our core supporters that the trajectory towards a New Malaysia is on track, and that the five pillar- promises towards the building of a New Malaysia, as contained in the 14GE Pakatan Harapan election manifesto remain our lodestar and guiding principle.

The five pillar-promises of a New Malaysia are:

  • Reduce the people’s burden;
  • Institutional and political reforms;
  • Spur sustainable and equitable economic growth;
  • Return Sabah and Sarawak to the status accorded in Malaysia Agreement 1963; and
  • Create a Malaysia that is inclusive, moderate and respected globally.

A major review of the PH Manifesto to regain public confidence is all the more imperative and important with the lowering of the voting age from 21 years to 18 years – for to win them to our side, we must be frank with the young generation on the objective of a New Malaysia with shared prosperity, while gaining their support with our ideals and vision.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri