The problem with Pakatan Harapan (PH) is not limited to the implementation of its manifesto or its lack of experience.
To me, the problem is in strangleholds of vested interests; elements of arrogance, hypocrisy and dishonesty; endemic incompetency and lack of ability.
Implementing manifestos is not always a daunting task. However, it depends largely on vested interests and “whims and fancies” that decide which of the promises are “easy” or “difficult” to fulfil.
Getting rid of GST and reintroducing SST was “easy” for PH, but for us, the whole episode was challenging and protracted. Similarly, income tax and GST refunds, the third national car project and giving a two-ringgit company a contract to replant trees were not easy to deal with.
Sometimes, I think they should know better – just don’t cut down too many trees and I am sure that replanting can be left alone.
Then, we have ministers who claim they are “powerless” and “lack the jurisdiction” to do this and that. They can’t protect our forest reserves but they were quick to restart bauxite mining before new anti-pollution measures were even considered and announced.
Now, some ministers are arguing that agreements signed or decisions made by the previous government were sacrosanct, or too expensive to cancel, even though there might be elements of corruption and abuse of power involved.
It’s not surprising that most of these agreements were related to conflict of interest projects.
The rights of private developers have suddenly become more important than public parks and healthy lungs. Suddenly, export, trade, and money making have taken priority over environmental degradation, pollution and toxic waste management.
It is quite easy to discern the ethos of a government by looking at its priorities. It is true the PH government is saddled with many big problems inherited from the previous government.
However, the ultimate outcome will always be dependent on PH’s ability to know the difference between dishonesty and incompetence and the “lack of political will”.
Incompetency is curable, but dishonesty and hypocrisy are not. Political will is not just the will to do or not to do something. Corruption, dishonesty and vested interests often form the main factors behind political will.
PH will not have the political will to do many things if it can’t get rid of corruption, dishonesty and the stranglehold of vested interests.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.