I hold only one thing against the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government. It has not as yet shown itself to be sensitive to the concerns of the voters who put its representatives in government in the first place.
Commendably, it has acted swiftly to take corrupt officials to court and is taking steps to root out corruption in the government. PH ministers are also introducing good policies to raise the quality of life to match the status of a developed nation which is our goal. The nationwide water audit, the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan, Felda revamp, free breakfasts to primary school children are laudable efforts and, if efficiently executed, will definitely produce results.
But, when it comes to minority interests and reforms, the PH government has demonstrated a sorry lack of sensitivity just far too many times for the voters to ignore.
It reversed its pledge on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It has yet to start the inquiry on the “enforced disappearances” of Pastor Raymond Koh and activist Amri Che Mat despite saying it would. It raised a hue and cry over the introduction of khat in schools without considering its effects on minority communities. Then, it shamelessly back-pedalled on its stand against religious speaker Zakir Naik.
In all of the above cases, the PH government showed no respect for the voters who elected its representatives. Instead, the government clearly made decisions to appease and pacify Malay voters who didn’t vote for them. It appears as if the PH leadership is still dictated by the old, racially inciting strategies of Umno politics.
The voters who elected the PH government are politically mature, representing a significant minority of Malays, non-Malay bumiputras from Sabah and Sarawak and non-Malays. They put aside their differences and joined forces to save this nation from kleptocracy and racist and religious bigotry believing their leaders will hold true to their word in addressing their concerns. They came through for this nation by putting nation first while the Malay majority, helpless and hapless, stood by their corrupt leaders.
We know that the Malay majority must not be sidelined and we have been very accommodating of the PH leadership in its quest to draw Malays over to its side. Nearly all the government endeavours will benefit the Malay majority because they form the largest group in the B40 category, recognized as the low-income earners. All true-blue Malaysians are supportive of these efforts and do not begrudge those benefitting from them.
But, when, again and again, the interests of voters who put the PH in office are sacrificed for the voters who didn’t vote for them, our patience wears thin.
There is an urgent need now for the PH government to show it will deliver true to its manifesto to the voters who put PH leaders in power. It can no longer override voter sentiments to pacify people who didn’t vote for PH leaders and play into their game of racist and religious bigotry to get votes.
Already, some leaders are speaking out. Yesterday, Sabah’s Deputy Chief Minister Wilfred Madius Tangau urged Putrajaya “to listen to the recommendations of Sabah” with regard to developing it further. That, perhaps, is the issue. The PH government needs to listen to what its voters want and deliver.
They can’t keep sacrificing voters’ concerns for the sake of the Malay majority. PH leaders must demonstrate the will to do the right thing and reject the Opposition’s game of playing up race and religion. I believe there are numerous Malays in the Malay majority who don’t agree with the politics of race and religion. They may come around when they see the resolve of PH leaders to steer the nation towards political and economic stability and shared prosperity by veering away from the minefield of race and religious domination.