It is unfortunate that PM Najib is still fiddling with his NEM. He wants to do something good for the nation but is too afraid of doing so. Making the right change means having to take on the conservative forces in the country.
His reluctance to take on these forces to ensure a smooth implementation of his plan and vision is going to ensure the failure of NEM and other similar policies. By giving enough space to these forces to build up resistance to his plan and vision will hardened their opposition and weakened his own political will to do the right thing.
By giving in to a group such as Perkasa is going to win BN/Umno a lot of support. The competition for Malay support has reached its saturation point. BN will at most enjoy 55% to 65% the community's support.
Another point which the PM has failed to notice is the growing political awareness of the community. Talk about defending Malay rights and supremacy is not as easy to sell as previously. Despite the talk, UMNO has not been able to answer why the community has remained backward and why the policy only enriched a selected few - mostly sons, daughters and relatives of politicians and leaders in the party/coalition. Sarawak's Taib family is a classic example.
His wishy-washy policy direction or a lack of it has courted many critics:
On NEM, Pakatan de-facto chief Anwar said, "As along as the government does not develop a system of governance that is just, corruption-free and instills confidence, the country will continue to lose the attention of foreign investors."
NEM is only a tip of the iceberg. The administration has failed to address many issues concerning the nation's education system, declining competitiveness, net outflow of investment, lack of new economic attraction, and others.
The world economic crisis is far from over. But we have not heard or read any policy response or initiative from the government. NEP, GTP and others are mere political responses to the ongoing contestation between Pakatan and BN.
Hence, this is why I said that the 13th general election is for BN to lose.
While Pakatan leaders have been critical of BN or Najib's lack of direction and political will to make the necessary changes, what have Pakatan achieved?
What can the newly minted coalition offer to counter Najib's NEM or GTP?
Pakatan cannot continue to count on BN or UMNO's weaknesses to chalk up electoral victories. It is time for the newly minted coalition to face its own raison d'etre.
It has no lack of weaknesses and issues within its own ranks. If its elected representatives can be tempted to defect by some monetary reward then it means there is a corrupt tendency within the coalition (an elected representative in Perak brought down the government because of a Toyota Camry).
The issue over its choice of candidates has yet to be addressed. Hence, it is pertinent for the coalition to listen to the suggestion of M Kulasegaran on limiting a candidate to seat and work on selecting better candidates.
It is a fact that Pakatan has yet to show us any significant policy alternatives and how it intends to govern differently from BN. How can the coalition reverse the economic malaise of the country?
Does the coalition have a new strategy to attract investors and brains to return to the country?
It has promised more autonomy in Sabah and Sarawak but it is enough to return Sabah and Sarawak to their desired glory? Giving autonomy to the wrong hands without correcting the systemic imbalances between East and West Malaysia is not going to change the fortune of peoples of Sabah and Sarawak.
I agree with Anwar that there is a need to mend the over centralisation of power in the federal government but it is not an easy creature to handle.
Dap has criticized the government on the over size public service which has grown to over 1.2 million employees. How can Pakatan resize or streamline the civil service? They are a powerful electoral block too.
PKR's internal politics and party elections are giving us another hint about the party. Parties in Pakatan should also address their own political culture if they want us to trust their governance.
At the moment, there is not much which separates the two coalitions apart from BN keep scoring their own goals and Pakatan trying to say the right things.
Both coalitions must walk their talk.