Malaysiakini Letter

Harapan, just handle it

JJ  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | So our newly minted federal ministers are getting a bit of stick for some of their statements and actions. And some for their lack of action. And some for being blissfully clueless about significant incidents when they really should have been alerted.

Our prime minister has even had to expend a little of his precious time to smoothen over some of what I call ‘wrinkles in the carpet’. What exactly is going on and why all the brouhaha over matters considered trivial or which should not normally have triggered such intense responses? Welcome to the new Malaysia post-GE 14.

As the euphoria and excitement of the hitherto considered impossible national election results fade over time, as all things must, the winners will find that governing the nation involves a lot more than meets the eye.

Where the previous government had over 60 years of experience in perfecting their art of governance, and I refer to their ability as tai-chi
exponents and accomplished pantomime performers more than anything else, especially in the more recent years; we now have a group of relative novices in government when it comes to this particular art form.

This may not be a bad thing as too much of this type of misguided leadership leads to an unstable state as the former government found out at the polls, a tad too late.

How to handle these gaffes as it were, and nip it in the bud before it sprouts into a hydra (a many-headed monster from Greek mythology where two heads grew in place of any one that was cut off) in the employ of your nemeses with the objective of supplanting you at
the next elections? I would give this serious thought and look for solutions sooner rather than later.

Thirteen of your coalition senior party leaders have been appointed ministers so far by the PM, with more than that number yet to be appointed but expected to be in a matter of days. A common template must be designed to stay on top of any situation before your new and more junior cabinet colleagues are appointed and thrust into the deep end of the pool.

You have the advantage of a seasoned PM who can parry the barbs
and knives thrown at his ministers for now, but this cannot and will not last too long; it is simply an untenable situation. I suggest a simple system of checks with a few trusted persons before releasing
statements to the public via your various channels of communication.

Facts and figures are not what I am referring too as that should be under control, but rather the impact of any statement on the emotional quotient of the public especially when sensitivities are
disturbed.

Time and again we have seen this happen, and we must be mindful that we are a unique non- homogeneous country where even seemingly innocuous words or actions can be misconstrued and
reactions amplified, for the worse.

In addition, your personal assistants and/or advisors cannot be simpering sycophants, this went out of style after the last elections or at least I pray it did. You need professional no-nonsense aides to be your on-the-ball advisors and filters.

Information is your ally, and you need good informants and timely information so that you can quickly get any situation under control before it takes on a life of its own. Beware the hydra and its masters.

We live in difficult times, akin to a tinderbox where the slightest spark can ignite a fire. Remember that there are various parties out there watching 24/7 (ALL the time!) and waiting for you to trip. The new
Malaysia we envisage that is inclusive and acceptable to all is still very much a work in progress, and very much depends on the new leadership to shape it.

We have a proven PM who is raring to go, it is time for his new officers to quickly get their act together and be a cohesive and effective team. So go ahead, just handle it.


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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