It is interesting to note that as Pakatan Harapan (PH) reaches its first anniversary of being in government, the public, including NGOs, have been giving their two cents on the Dr Mahathir Mohamad-led administration.
I note with interest and, to an extent concern, the failings of the PH government, its flip-flop policies and its failure to honour what was promised in its manifesto. Prior to GE14, PH and Mahathir had zero inkling of what was in store for them in the unlikely scenario of PH becoming the government of the day.
They are in power now, and global human rights group HRW, for instance, has given them the thumbs down. Its deputy Asia director, Phil Robertson, also said that it is not unfair to criticise the PH government after only one year in power.
While he lamented Putrajaya’s decision to not ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and to withdraw from the Rome Statute, for instance, others have touched on the rising cost of living and the present economic situation. There have also been voices of discontent over the Cabinet line-up and the performance of ministers.
This is all very interesting, but what if we were to look at the situation from another angle?
Perhaps we should also be asking ourselves what we have missed in this one year of not having a Barisan Nasional (BN) government. One can argue that we are talking about the government of the day and not the past government, but my question is: why can’t we also reminisce on what we miss the most about BN in comparison?
To the best of my knowledge, the BN government agreed to ratify the Rome Statute. But it was never done.
Were there no flip-flops on policies during BN’s reign? If there were, I can’t recall them being highlighted by anyone. I could have missed it. Did the cost of living go down during BN’s reign or did I again miss it? Did we have sinless and impeccable ministers in the Najib administration that we failed to acknowledge and take note of? Was the then-leader of the nation much better than the prime minister we have at the moment?
Perhaps instead of looking at where PH has gone wrong, we should take time to see where BN did right. Only then would it dawn on us (and it should) whether the people made a mistake in ousting BN. Be that as it may, we have the power in our hands to rectify our mistake come GE15 and bring back the good times under BN if we believe, if we are convinced, if we are certain that what we had before was better than what we have now.
We have the gift of discernment. We have the ability to think, and we have the right to express our feelings come GE15. For now, I have chosen to see just how much I have missed in the one year since we voted out BN.
In the meantime, I will use the weeks, months and years ahead of me to watch with eagle eyes how bad this PH government can get. Then, reminisce on how good the BN government led by Najib was.
If you voted for change but nothing happened, you can always go back to the days when you hoped for change. Nobody can or will hold it against you.
It will be your call. It always has been and always will be.
Clement Stanley is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.