It has been almost three weeks since Pakatan Harapan took over the federal government. We accept that initial teething problems are to be expected: after all, this was the first time since Merdeka that the country has experienced the change of a federal government.
I have some observations and I hope the PH Cabinet ministers take it in good spirit.
The general election is over. It is time to allow rationality rather than emotion to govern our day to day administration.
Ministers should not be making decisions or pronouncing policies through press conferences or in an impromptu manner. More so, they should not make decisions when they are angry.
There are no simple solutions to a complex problem. All complex problems require careful deliberations and elaborate solutions. One briefing is often not sufficient.
Like it or not, secretaries-general, heads of statutory bodies and chief executives of GLCs are people with vested interests. They have their own skin to protect. Sometimes a briefing can be based on incomplete information, or worse, on misleading information.
Decisions and policy formulation take time. It is foolish to be unduly dictated by the timelines of the manifestos. It is also worthwhile to revise some promises made in the manifestos. I believe the people will be open to explanations if the reasons are compelling.
I have in mind the proposal to abolish the Goods and Services Tax and replace it with the Sales and Services Tax. This is probably not a sensible idea. We should reduce the GST rate, say to 3%, but we should not reintroduce SST. It will only create more havoc in the economy.
Similarly, don’t be in a hurry to compel banks to lend money to people wanting to buy homes. We must get it right – the loan is not the problem, it is low income and high property prices that disqualify people from getting the loans. Diagnose the problem before dispensing solutions.
Are we so proud that we can’t learn from Singapore’s experience in providing HDB flats to their citizens in the early years?
Ultimately, the ministers must read the papers and listen to multiple sources for information and input, not just depend on briefing and committees. At best, committees are good at gathering information and putting up proposals. The final decision must be made by the ministers.
Before PH gained power, the argument was that PH was powerless to do many things. Now I see the same lackadaisical performance.
Why was Musa Aman, the former Chief Minister of Sabah, allowed to slip away? Who else should we monitor before they, too, disappear?
Have we taken steps to find out whether we could reopen the Altantuya Shaariibuu and Teoh Beng Hock cases? Have we taken steps to find out more about Pastor Raymond Koh and others who have disappeared without a trace?
Have we found out why an NGO in Perak is allowed to raid shops selling liquor? What authority or jurisdiction does it have? Where are all the PH leaders who were vocal on this in the past? Why the silence?
It has been just two weeks, but I think it has given me enough reason to doubt.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.