The Opposition has been urged to work together with the Government to develop a common ground in facing the global financial crisis.
Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said this could “perhaps be the one positive result of the global economic crisis and a struggling economy.”
Najib said the list of challenges faced by the Government was made even more daunting with the Opposition, which is a critical voice to any productive democracy, still adamant in claiming the majority voice in Parliament through the back door.
Najib's call to close ranks should be lauded. First, is Najib willing to consider the financial and development needs of states under the PR? BN started to show its unwillingness to cooperate when funds for development and tourism promotion were pulled back from these states.
Without the required funds, the PR state governments started the offensive against BN. Kedah has threatened to allow logging at the Kuala Muda catchment area. Penang CM Lim Guan Eng has made repeated plea and request for special funds and loans from the federal government to help mitigate serious flood problems in his state.
It is pertinent for the federal government to decentralise power to the states. Over centralisation of power and command makes the states inefficient and turns them into lame ducks when faced with socio-economic challenges.
If Najib, also the Finance Minister, is serious about his call, he should request for a bi-partisan talk with the top leadership of PR. It is not necessary for him to sound cynical and sarcastic by suggesting that the Opposition wants to grab power through back door. This is not the main point.
Najib should also take cognisance of his own leadership credibility and the public perception of his image as an important yardstick of his administration. He must work very hard, exceptionally hard and smart to ensure he succeed as the next prime minister of Malaysia.
His government cannot condone abuse of democratic values through the use of ISA and other draconian measures.