PETALING JAYA: A former federal minister says Pakatan Harapan (PH) appears to be stuck in “election mode”, a year after the coalition swept to power in the May 9 polls.
In an interview with FMT, Zaid Ibrahim said the “new Malaysia” should be about more than just having fresh faces in government.
“You have to speak with one voice, rediscover souls and build a nation – that is what the new Malaysia should strive for,” he said.
He said leaders should be willing to engage with all parties and bring those in conflict together instead of ridiculing those they disagree with.
“This is what is most disappointing,” he added. “This new government totally lacks the resolve to unite people.
“They still behave like there is an election next week.”
Despite having been in power for a year now, he said, PH still showed vestiges of the “old Malaysia” including a lack of independence among Cabinet members.
For example, he said, no one seemed bold enough to criticise the prime minister.
“This reminds me of those days in Umno,” he said. “There is almost this fear.
“I am not saying you should be disrespectful, but there are policies which must be articulated.”
He urged the ministers to make good on their promises to the people, saying this is the pathway to the next level.
“If there is only one thing I am concerned about, it is the fear of dissent,” he added.
He warned that this would lead to a government with “different faces but the same ideology”.
When asked about speculation that PH could be a one-term government, Zaid, who has been credited with playing a role in bringing Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the coalition together, said PH could be strong if there was no infighting.
This, he said, was the biggest threat to the coalition.
“If they can do that, they can win the next election. But if power is more important to these people and they can’t resolve it, it will cause problems.”
He gave the example of PH’s succession plan for Mahathir, saying a lack of open consensus could be its downfall.
Mahathir has repeatedly said that he will keep his promise to hand over the reins to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, with Anwar saying the veteran statesman had made it clear that he would not exceed two years in power.
But Mahathir has also been reported as saying that he needs two and a half to three years to fix the problems inherited from the Barisan Nasional government, including the RM1 trillion national debt.