Saturday, July 11, 2009

Najib's 100-Days Promises, What's New?

In brief, here are Najib's promises when he launched is 100-days in power celebrations:
  • The prevention of crime;
  • The fight against corruption;
  • Access to quality education;
  • The improvement of the living standards for the lower income group;
  • Improvement of rural infrastructure;;
  • Improvement of public transportation.
So what's new? We have heard all of the above before from Mahathir's era to Pak Lah to now Najib. Will things actually change?

We had such high hopes when Pak Lah made the above promises, but we all fell flat on our faces. Anyone remember the "18 big fish"? Or the "All out war against crime"? Or the twice announced public transportation fund in 2006 and 2008 (with absolutely nothing to show)?

He has rightly placed the prevention of crime on top of the list. But he has shown that he is absolutely unwilling to reform the police force, for he is obligated to them to clamp down on all civil and political dissent. Najib was so engrossed in grabbing power in Perak, maximised the use of the police to suppress dissent, which resulted in crime rising massively in the state over the past 6 months.

We are faced with the greatest financial scandal in living memory with the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal. But til today, all we see is Najib washing his hands completely over the issue. Such a big scandal afflicting Malaysia, and yet, not a word from the Prime Minister. All he has mentioned about the subject so far is that the MCA president will deal with it. In other words, "Let Ong Tee Keat sink all by himself, I'm not going to get my hands dirty on this." How does that sit with his promise to "fight corruption"?

And public transportation? He must be joking. The most important move today is to consolidate all departments involved with transportation under 1 ministry/minister. And yet, when the Entrepreneurs & Cooperatives Ministry was dissolved under his cabinet reshuffle, the Commercial Vehicles and Licensing Board is transferred to the Prime Minister's office instead of the Transport Ministry. So we have the Prime Minister directly taking care of taxis and public buses, the Finance Ministry taking care of RapidKL buses, the transport ministry taking care of KTM and LRT, and the Works Ministry taking care of the road transport network. A complete recipe for disaster.

And as for quality of education? We've not seen any moves yet from the Najib's administration on this except to reverse the teaching of Maths and Science back from English to Malay. My views are expressed here.

I think Malaysians in general will do well not to have their expectations set too high, if they were to have any expectations at all. I'm certainly once bitten twice shy, and I never trust somebody who will use ruthless measures to suppress peaceful protests, clampdown media freedom and stifle dissent. At least for Pak Lah, he appeared to be more "liberal" with his management of opposing voices, whether intentional or otherwise.
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