Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Najib's 'Instant Noodle' Reform

On his first day as the prime minister, Najib announced the release of 13 ISA detainees. He had promised to comprehensively review the NEP. Two days before the polling date, he announced his 1Malaysia grand vision, like other premiers before him did.

Najib's PR team (an expensively assembled team comprises of editorial heads and ex-heads of various MSM) was desperate to turn around his image as an iron fisted autocrat. Unfortunately, like his predecessor Abdullah, Najib's initiative was neutralised by yet another poorly taken strategy to embrace Mahathir so quickly and warmly.

If Najib wanted to lose the 'autocratic image', the last thing he should do is to build an alliance with Mahathir so quickly. Mahathir's 22 years legacy had very little to do with the respect for democracy, human rights, respect for the rule of law and accountability. Mahathir treated Malaysians as gullible and naive.

Mahathir's achievements e.g. physical and industrial development were largely bought with Malaysia's hard earned oil money. What did Malaysia gain technically from the mega projects such as KLCC, Penang bridge, Proton, Bakun and many others? Have we mastered the technology to build our own cars which are competitive worldwide? Under his leadership, the quality of other soft areas e.g. education, public institutions and others has declined.

Najib has chosen the wrong pop star to align himself with. Mahathir may be treated like a pop star in UMNO but not among middle ground Malaysians.

There is every reason to believe that Najib may soon be following Abdullah's footsteps. His release of the 13 ISA detainees did not earn him any brownie point. It was done without a real sincerity to amend his government's mistake in detaining these suspects without a fair trial. Hindraf leaders who were released were subjected to various restrictions on their mobility and activity. Due to these restrictions, both Manoharan and Uthayakumar had rejected the offer.

Next, it is left to be seen what Najib intends to do with the draconian law. Is his government willing to compensate those who were detained without being charged in courts?

His reform agenda must also include these areas:

1) A comprehensive review of the education system. Parties blaming the vernacular schools as the main obstacle to national unity must be asked to check their facts. These schools should not become a punching bag to hide the excessive politicking amongst political parties, NGOs, individuals and stakeholders. He must deracialise, depoliticize and make education as an important socio-economic tool to help this country to develop. In short, improve the schools. Kick bigots out of the system. The idea mooted by Hishammudin to allow teachers to participate in active politics is bound to worsen politicking in the schools.

2) Repeal the ISA immediately. Modernise our criminal and security regulations and preventive measures. He must review the wide police power to detain a person without trial. Police duties and investigation work must be made consistent and compliant to international standards. Implement the full fledged IPCMC.

3) Repeal the NEP. This is the cause of public sector corruption. The government must review its involvement in the economy. It will be difficult to expect the private sector to lead growth if the government interferes directly in the process by setting quotas and ceilings.

Najib must avoid dishing out 'instant noodle' reform. One thing for sure, Abdullah's administration is not the lowest ebb of BN government yet. Things can still go worse than the last 5 years.

Can Najib still deliver? The journey to reform is not for the faint hearted.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Khoo Jay Peng,

I read your writing with interest as a Malaysian born and bred here.

I just want to say that your ideas are relevant but I do see a need gor you to write articles to reach an audience that may not think as deep and fast as you do.

Your articles sometimes are too concise without giving an idea about your thought process that makes you come to your conclusions.

I meant this in the best interest of reaching out to wider Malaysian audience.

Perhaps you are a very busy man, but fleshing out your articles and writing in a way to reach a wider lower educated or simple minded sudience will win you more readers and may hasten the social change you want to see in Malaysia.

Your fellow Malaysian Saifez

Hamba said...

UMNO, NAJIB, MAHATHIR, KETUANAN MELAYU, UMNOPUTRA, CRONIES, ALL OF THESE THING AND INDIVIDUALS ARE THE REASON UMNO CANNOT AND WILL NOT CHANGE. IT'S A FACT AND THE UMNO PEOPLE KNOW IT. SO ALL THE RHETORIC ABOUT REFORM ARE JUST EMPTY SLOGAN TO DECEIVE THE RAKYAT. NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS. ALL THE TALK ABOUT REFORM ARE PURELY ACADEMIC, NOT DOABLE!

Abangcina said...

why straight talker needs to be moderated here???

Cruzeiro said...

The idea mooted by Hishammudin to allow teachers to participate in active politics is bound to worsen politicking in the schools.
==================================


That does not have to be the case, should Umno/BN change their attitude. Under the current system, without a doubt, they'll just become racist monsters far worse than they already are.

In any case, teachers may have a little more common sense than the many "Class F" contractors who now dominate the Umno landscape.

Anonymous said...

What does Najib's action tell you so far? You dont need to even speculate or look far. Just judge him by his actions. So far he has shown 0 interests in the real reform. They have been given 50 years to change their ways and reform. The door of chances closed this very instant. Even if they really want to, they have already missed the bus. The time for talk is over, now is the time to dish out punishment to UMNO.

The Penquin said...

Yes having an alliance with Dr.M is definitely not advisable. The development of a country is not only based on the building of super structures. Hand in hand development must take place socially, educationally, politically and economically. If this is not the case the country will end up with great looking structures coupled with 'great' social problems. I would say that a high percentage of the rakyat did not benefit from this kind of lopsided development. So I hope that our new PM will have his own style, own thinking, own abilities, to bring change that can be seen as beneficial to the majority of the rakyat. Of course the new PM cannot please every one of the rakyat. That is why the road to bring about balanced development to our country will be a long and hard journey.

amoker said...

He is limping all right. With Mahathir looming on him and now been seen as a Mahathir proxy, it is bad for his own image. And dun think he has guts not to follow mahathir.

johnny cheah said...

CHANGE??? NO WAY UMNO WILL EVER CHANGE. MORE THAN 50 YEARS OF ARROGANCE AND BULLYING, HOW TO CHANGE? CAN THEY STOP GIVING TENDERS IN THE BILLIONS TO THEIR CRONIES? NO WAY!!! so how to change, if really they change, then no money goes into their pockets-lah

Anonymous said...

While i agree with the sentiments and criticism expressed against BN, i think we would do well also to participate in giving suggestions, for all malaysians of all races and denominations, to look forward and find ways to reach out to each other, in constructing for a future in bringing our hard won gains and succesess further forward; to grow, expand and seal this success by thinking and planning how to reach out to those who are still ignorant and unconvinced of PR, and to plan against the BN dirty tricks over the next few years- that would ensure the eradication of umno and BN...

leekh said...

In case you are not listening, when Hisham asked for teachers to be allowed to take part in politics.. what he actually mean was .."Its OK! As long you are either UMNO. MCA. MIC!" But joining PAS, DAP and Keadilan that is looking for trouble.

Anonymous said...

UMNO can only change if they are smash out from their current administrative power. In other word, change the government to another two GE (10 years) and they will understand what means when you dont have power and priviledges. By the time, new crop of leaders will come and all the elites will not more control the party and shy away to opposition. By the time the opposition turn bad, people can install back the cleaner UMNO for another chance. This will really teach a good lesson to not only UMNO but for all political parties in this country for underestimating the people power.

Oil Gun said...

For the past 50 years our government has been investing in everything but human capital - where it matters most. Now, as we all see, when difficult times comes, we are the worst among the worst - struggling to stay afloat. Those bad policies were the fruits of a leader who thinks that to become a modern nation we need to build tall buildings, host great games, have the biggest airport, etc.. what a mentality, unbelievable. Instead of building that KLCC, he should have sow aspirations as height as the towers in every Malaysian.