Friday, July 10, 2009

Najib's first 100 days encouraging

Is he prepared to brace for challenges ahead?

The survey conducted by Merdeka Centre recently produced some encouraging results for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as the premier completes his first 100 days in office. His approval rating has gone up to 65% from the 42% when he first took over the premiership. This is definitely a boost for him to continue with his good job and brace for bigger challenges that await him.

While more Malaysians of all races are showing keen interest in Najib’s policies in particular economic liberalization, his attempts to get closer to the people and his 1Malaysia policy, there are still many who are yet to be convinced of his sincerity in wanting changes and his capability to take them through. It may take time but if he persists with his attempts to be more accountable, transparent and people-friendly I am sure he will win over the hearts and minds of the people.

Within the first 100 days, the new PM may have succeeded in raising the hopes of the people for a fair, just and progressive Malaysia but many thorny issues still remain unresolved which continue to cast doubts in the minds of the people whether he has the political will to find amicable solutions to these problems.

The most difficult task remains ahead where his plans for change need to be executed successfully in accordance with the wishes of the people. That would be the real challenge for Najib and the people are watching to see how he handles the major issues confronting them and nation.

There are numerous major issues, some controversial and sensitive, those need to be seriously looked into to correct the negative perception of the government in the minds of the people. These include the political stalemate in Perak, the independence of the judiciary and the police, a greater tolerance dissent, corruption and the deteriorating ethnic relations.

The Internal Security Act( ISA)

The ISA is a another thorny issue that is detested by the majority of people of all races and all walks of life but the government has yet to heed the call of the people to abolish the law that they see as draconian and violates basic human rights. Although Najib has agreed for a comprehensive review of the law but the people have yet to be see any concrete steps towards that aim.

The Perak crisis

In fact the Merdeka Centre survey revealed that the majority of Malaysians want fresh elections to resolve the political impasse in Perak that has brought the state to a standstill. The people have expressed in no uncertain terms that they want to be given the right to choose the government again, why are their voices heeded?

The judiciary

The judiciary has yet to be seen to be truly independent. Its reputation has been further tarnished by the recent judgments in the Perak constitutional crisis, which are seen by many legal experts and past judges of great integrity, to be bias, and contradicts the very laws that it was supposed to uphold.

The police

Despite pledge by the new Prime Minister for an open and more tolerant system of administration, the police have yet to change their hostile attitude towards the opposition and those with dissenting views. Peaceful assembly to express dissent is not allowed and harshly dispersed by the police at times with excessive use of force. Even peaceful candlelight vigils are not tolerated. Deaths in police custody are not subjected professional scrutiny and continue to tarnish the image of the force.

Crime rate

Crime rate has reached worrisome levels where the people are living in exaggerated anxiety and fear of being robbed, assaulted, raped and even killed. They are unable to go about their daily chores peacefully fearing for their safety and of their family. The police must review the way they fight crime as the measures in use do not seem to produce the desired results. There must be deliberate attempts by the police to be more people-friendly to earn the respect and trust in the force.

Road accidents

Traffic congestion and accidents have reached levels where our roads have become major killing fields, taking the lives of young Malaysians at the prime of their lives. It is time to find a comprehensive solution to the traffic and transportation problem as building new roads and highways alone is not going to overcome the woes, but on the contrary it will only worsen the already congested and accident prone roads.

Disrespect for opposition

With a stronger Opposition the people’s hopes for a better democratic environment were dashed by bitter politicking between the ruling and opposition parties. Our representatives from both sides of the political divide regard each other as adversaries instead of being comrades in their service to the rakyat.The BN as the ruling party must initiate to change its mindset to accept the opposition as an equal partner and treat its members them as duly elected representatives of the people. Every citizen regardless of who he votes is equal constitutionally.

Race relations

Race relations have deteriorated over the last 40 years or so. Once we were proud to regard ourselves as Malaysians but today we have become more Malay ,Chinese or Indians and less Malaysian. After 50 years of self rule we should have attained a state where a leader regardless of his ethnicity should champion the plight of all Malaysians but unfortunately today have gone backwards to call for Malay, Chinese and Indian unity instead of Malaysian unity.

Race not merit continues to the major criterion in awarding scholarships, places in universities, jobs and even political appointments. How can we expect to reach the ranks of the world powers if we continue to use racial considerations to deny the best brains to contribute to nation building? We are now living in a very competitive environment and we have no option but to tap the potentials of all citizens regardless of the ethnicity, believe or political ideology. They are all Malaysians eager to offer their services in whatever way they can, why deny them?


Najib should be commended for coming with his 1Malaysia policy, which the people understand, is aimed at fostering inter-ethnic solidarity to create one united Malaysia from the diverse ethnic populace. He must ensure that it does remain just rhetoric, like many others, but implemented whole-heartedly to unite the people all ethnicity. There is no way 1Malaysia can come about if the different communities are treated unequally.

His aims may be noble but we know achieving that vision is most difficult. He has initiated and we must continue to give him all the support we can to realize that dream. The task may be formidable but not impossible. We need patience, perseverance, tolerance and above all goodwill, to build that 1Malaysia which is the dream of our new premier and all Malaysians.

In the short 3 months Najib may have managed to bring some hope to many who were at the point of despair. It is the wish of every Malaysian that given more time he will be able to bring about the drastic changes that nation needs to uplift itself to the ranks of developed nations, where every citizen, regardless of ethnicity will be proud to call himself a Malaysian.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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