Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Way I see It: Keyword is implementation

I DO not know how Malaysians would look at the targets set by the government in improving the six National Key Results Area as unveiled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak recently.

The six areas are reduction of crime rate, combating corruption, widening access to affordable and quality education, raising the living standard of the poor, improving infrastructure in rural areas and improving public transport in the medium term.

It reminds me of the pledge made by former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to combat corruption, incorporate good governance, restore safety and security and improve the delivery services by the civil service when he took over from his predecessor, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2003.

This immediately led the BN to an impressive outing in the 2004 general election where it garnered 198 out of the 219 seats contested, the best ever result achieved by the ruling coalition.

But four years down the road in 2008, the BN coalition suffered its worst electoral outing when it lost its two-third majority in Parliament and five states (now four states) to Pakatan Rakyat, a loosely formed opposition coalition led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

This was very much due to many factors, chief among them was the failure of Pak Lah to deliver many of the promises he made after taking over the premiership.

And now that Najib had come out with similar promises immediately after his 100th day in office, how would Malaysians perceive it and how confident are we that the new government led by the son of our second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak would be able to achieve those targets?

Kudos of course must be given to Najib for doing away with the 30 per cent Bumiputera equity which has won accolades from ma-ny of us, including foreign investors who found it not conducive to invest in the country in the past.

I must say the things which were unveiled by the prime minister from the day he took office until now should not be seen by BN politicians as something they can rely on to win votes in any coming election.

For one, Malaysians over the years have grown well aware that many of the promises made by these politicians end up unimplemented or unachievable and become another lip service, resulting in many of us casting doubts on whether the targets will remain yet another rhetoric.

Secondly, the new Malaysians are made up of those who are well travelled and well read and thus their views on many things may not be in sync with many of our politicians who have come of age.

Cases like the Lingam tape, the murder of a Mongolian model, Perak constitutional crisis, PKFZ case and the death of DAP’s Teoh Beng Hock have given doubts to many Malaysians as they left more questions than answers.

Malaysians are demanding answers for all these, which have yet forthcoming due to weak implementation.

The point is this - for a government to rule effectively and efficiently, it must receive the confidence and support of the people lest it be unable to convince them, despite policies made in good faith and for their benefit.

Whether what has been done or formulated by Najib is able to win votes for the ruling BN coalition remains to be seen, as politics is a tricky game with an unpredictable outcome.

While I would not pour cold water on those targets set by the government for the benefit of the people, what I must remind is that it is always easy to come out with an impressive long list of targets to be achieved, only to end up without proper implementation.

The government’s duty is of course to improve the livelihood of the people but at the same time, it must be complemented by an effi-cient civil service to look into the implementation stage.

So here I am agreeing with what Pak Lah who used to focus on - that is the ‘software part’ as in improving governance, fighting corruption, restoring safety and security and improving delivery services by the civil service except for his failure to see it done.

Now the ball is in Najib’s court to make good what he had promised to Malaysians and the keyword is, of course, implementation.

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