Malaysiakini Opinion

All on board 100-day reforms?

Phar Kim Beng  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | One hundred appears to be a magic number. From schools to workplace, students and employees alike are either asked to get 100 marks - a perfect score - or deliver a 100 percent performance each day.

In politics, the most famous example of the Hundred Days’ Reform involved Kang Yu Wei, the last Manchu reformer. The Manchu, otherwise known as the Ching Dynasty, for the lack of better word, was in a deep creek in 1898. Nothing they did ever work.

First, they lost to Britain in the Opium War in 1832, which forced Hong Kong to be ceded to the British rule. Then they lost more wars to the British which forced China to surrender Kowloon. When faced with the might of Portugal, it lost Macau too.

By the mid-19th century, the Manchu Dynasty had to contend with a rebel cum peasant called Hong XiGuan who was the leader of the Taiping Revolution. Hong, interestingly, saw himself as the second saviour after Jesus Christ, after encountering some missionary literature.

While not all his Chinese followers were Christians, Hong raised a huge army, comprising close to a million farmers, with pitches and forks, indeed axes and knives, to call for the overthrow of the Manchu Dynasty; a cause that was not unlike remnants of the earlier Ming Dynasty rebellions too.

The latter wanted the Manchus to be forced back to the northeast of China. Manchus, as the Ming loyalists reasoned, were not of Han origins or tribes. The Manchus were the usurpers of the throne of the Ming Dynasty.

By 1898, the Manchu Dynasty received another slap: they lost a naval war to the Japanese, who half a century before was paying homage to the Manchus. Kang Yu Wei, tasked by the Emperor of Manchu to reform imperial China, argued that the reforms must be broad and deep. Of course, as history would have it, be completed in 100 days.

A Hundred Days’ Reform, in that light, is a sign of how bad things have become, not how well they could be if everyone just grits their teeth and bear it. Thus the 100-day promises of Pakatan Harapan should be seen in the same context: Malaysia was already pushed to the brim.

And, had BN and Umno remained in power any further, things could have been worse, regardless of what Najib Razak may have said after his jarring defeat on May 9.

Najib, for example, argued that at all points he had the best intentions at heart. But then hell, too, is a road paved with best intentions.

Pakatan Harapan, formed of a coalition of four parties, may also have the best intentions to save Malaysia. But if they don't carry out the 100-day reforms as promised, their promises in future would not stand up to scrutiny.

So, regardless of what Pakatan Harapan may say, its elected representatives will start with a trust and performance deficit with...

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