‘Don’t wait 100 days, start criticising now’

PKR MP Maria Chin Abdullah says criticism of the present government should be louder

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians should not hesitate to speak out against the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration, and there should not be a grace period of 100 days before the new government could be criticised, a forum was told.

“There is no time frame,” Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah told a forum titled “The Importance of a Strong Opposition for a Vibrant Democracy” organised by the Bar Council.

“If you think things are not right, you should say it now. We owe it to the change we just accomplished to voice out. You shouldn’t be waiting until after the 100 days, it will be too late,” said the former Bersih 2.0 chairman.

Maria said people had already started to voice out, but “it has to be louder”.

Tunku Zain Al-Abidin Tuanku Mukhriz, president of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), agreed.

“We need to be vigilant now because there is so much goodwill from the public,” he said.

Tough for BN as opposition

Another panelist spoke on what he said was a “denial syndrome” among Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders after their defeat on May 9.

Gerakan Youth deputy chief Andy Yong Kim Seng said there was a need for leaders in the new opposition to not “oppose for the sake of opposing”.

“What we need now is someone intellegent with knowledge, to oppose. We do not want people like Sungai Besar Umno division chief Jamal Yunos,” he said.

“At the moment, I do not see many BN leaders who can play this role right now,” he said.

Andy gave examples of politicians he said had played their role effectively as opposition leaders during the previous administration, including DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong, PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli and Damansara MP Tony Pua.

He said it would take time to build a credible opposition in the aftermath of the euphoric victory of Pakatan Harapan.

“Right now, it is not going to be easy for both sides as PH is now the government for the first time, and BN the opposition for the first time.”