Prove reforms are better

A second former prime minister (Muhyiddin Yassin) has been brought to court to face corruption charges. Who’s next?

Muhyiddin’s arrest was made by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission based, according to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s statement, on MACC’s independent investigations.

MACC should continue to nab the crooks based on its own investigations but it must not be seen as selective prosecution in that some are investigated for whatever reasons while others are not.

If there’s proof that leaders have stolen money from the government then they deserve to face the full brunt of the law. But, Anwar needs to show proof that there is no selective prosecution under his leadership and that he isn’t engaged in revenge politics.

Another consideration that Anwar needs to think of is whether this course of action to take past leaders to court is an effective deterrent in curbing corruption in government.

Is it effective? Or, is it a start of a trend to take past premiers and politicians to court with the next leadership doing the same with the previous leader/s in a tit-for-tat?

If Anwar was serious about reforms, he would let MACC initiate investigations on its own, while he concentrated on improving good governance and the economy and instituting reforms.

Without sufficient proof of more reforms and good governance, his credibility as a reformist is at stake and, perhaps, already shot. His administration doesn’t look like a reforming government and appears no different from the very governments he and his party and coalition used to criticize.

With a two-thirds majority in government, Anwar could have easily introduced a few necessary laws that would have confirmed his seriousness to introduce reforms.

The first law he should have passed was to amend the federal constitution to include provisions for a no-confidence vote to legitimize any government formed due to the collapse of an incumbent government. Such a no-confidence law should be made mandatory without a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure MPs are free to vote to represent their constituents.

Another law he could have introduced was the Political Funding Act, and another putting a maximum limit to commissions the government can receive.

Without laws, politicians holding public office are simply going to continue in the bad practices we have seen in the past and future leaders will take past leaders to court. With laws, such practices will have to stop.

A third consideration Anwar has to think about is whether the trajectory he is on now will strengthen his party PKR and his coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) as a viable alternative government after the next general election.

He has become prime minister and may retire after his term but what will become of PKR and PH in the future? After Anwar, what will become of PKR and PH? Ensuring their future should be his priority by proving that his party’s and coalition’s trademarks are reforms and good governance.


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