How will people look at PH in 4-5 years?

By TK Chua

Pakatan Harapan (PH) is in an enviable position right now. It can almost do no wrong. Even if it does, people are ever magnanimous and forgiving. Many people feel that PH can’t be worse than the previous administration.

Now, Malaysians have so many “celebrated” things to talk about. We have grand larceny and kleptocracy; a big national debt of RM1 trillion; unfettered greed among leaders; big-time abuse of power; obscene accumulation of handbags, sunglasses, watches and jewellery. Yes, we have Najib Razak and Rosmah Mansor to criticise to the fullest.

But how long will the issues above keep us occupied? I think when reality sets in and people are back to their routines, the issues above will gradually lose their lustre. What then after that?

I think the people will return to focusing on bread and butter issues. At that point, PH can’t be just complaining and criticising like it did in GE14. By then, there may no longer be a BN to blame. Instead, PH will have to defend, explain and account for its actions over the period when it was in government.

By then, I am sure the people will be asking whether their lives have been getting better. Do we have better paying jobs? Is the cost of living as menacing? Is the government as wasteful? Is the value of the ringgit still languishing at the bottom? Are the poor and the marginalised still trapped in a no-hope situation?

Many will likely be asking whether the tolls are still as oppressive. Are taxes, direct and indirect, still as burdensome? Are queues in public hospitals still as long? Is our education still trapped in hopeless inertia?

Is home ownership still elusive for most? Do low-cost flats still look like city slums? Are restaurants, eateries and hawker centres still as filthy as before? Are foreign workers still as pervasive and in even more sectors? Is corruption at the ground level – from the police, JPJ, immigration to local authorities – still as prevalent?

Many of these issues have long gestation periods. They take time to resolve, so it is not too early for PH to start looking at them now. Otherwise it may be too late.

So my take is: Do we have the right people in the right jobs, starting from now?

We recognise the need to have regional, gender and racial representation in the Cabinet and important agencies. But like all things, don’t stretch it too far. It will break.

Quite frankly, I am not impressed with the Cabinet line-up. But of course we can all wait and see. Unfortunately, sometimes in life, we do not have the luxury of making another mistake!

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.