Malaysiakini Letter

Give Harapan more time than 100-day 'honeymoon period'

Saleh Mohammed  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | If you ask me how long my honeymoon was, I honestly cannot remember because it was so long ago, but I try to rekindle it whenever I can.

Honeymoon was originally the period following a marriage, characterised by love and happiness and there is nothing but tenderness and pleasure only. In the modern sense, it is a vacation taken by newlyweds shortly after a wedding to celebrate.

Now, some say the first 100 days is the honeymoon period for a new administration. How did it become the sine qua non of a new administration?

It is said it goes back to Napoléon Bonaparte in 1815, who managed to return from exile in Elba, retake the reins of power in France and mobilise a massive army — only to lose at the Battle of Waterloo and abdicate power.

More recently, that totemic threshold was used in America in 1933 when reporters searched for an analogy to describe the new president Franklin D Roosevelt’s remarkable first days in office, in the midst of an economic depression.

Actually, the “first 100 days” concept helps inject some drama and can help new administrations to galvanise support and create a sense of urgency to fulfil their most important manifesto or initiatives.

We in Malaysia are in a honeymoon period now, which is to end soon. However, it does not seem to be a period of love and happiness and is surely lacking on tenderness and pleasure.

On the first day itself, the “comeback” prime minister had to wait for a day to be sworn in. Then, he had to carefully and slowly select his cabinet members, and this received negative feedback. It did not help that quite a number of his selected cabinet members were fresh faces.

Malaysians started showing their unapologetic side. Over the weekend, a senior newspaper man added some weight on the shoulders of the new education minister.

The minister was one of the fresh faces in cabinet and had not been a seasoned politician before the 14th general election (GE14). Being a novice in politics, he needs to know the ropes and be fully acquainted with the details and procedures, of course, with the help of advisers.

Then, the human resources minister had to apologise for making references to the word "pendatang" (immigrant) during a speech in Tamil. He claimed his remarks had been misconstrued.

Fortunately, a happy ending occurred when the new minister in the prime minister’s department assisted in amicably resolving an impasse between a mufti and a deputy chief minister.

Some may see the first two ministers’ cases from a negative angle but let us look at the positive side.

The senior newspaper man may have loads of issues to put forward but at least the minister tried to solve some problems, though not to some people’s liking. Yes, he needs plenty of support and help and I would have expected the former to do his part in assisting the minister and not putting on more loads.

I sincerely hope that our mainstream media will be more positive-minded in reporting and help to instil a positive mindset among Malaysians through effective reporting instead of just recording proceedings and/or sensationalising issues. It may create an environment of achievement and success that would benefit the country as a whole.

Also, “misconstrued” and “misquoted by the press” are two common excuses used by the previous regime. Rarely did ministers offer their apologies. In the Malaysia Baru era, the human resources minister has unreservedly apologised. Hopefully, in future, he will avoid making statements that would lead to different interpretations.

Well, the beginning for the new administration is a bit tumultuous. Let us give the new government a bit more time to get used to being the government of the day. If they do not perform, then, as the previous regime stated - if we want to change the government, we must follow the democratic process and await the next general election, in line with Malaysia’s laws and the Federal Constitution.

In this digital age, we want everything fast and may lose patience if the response is slow, but let us not forget the love and tenderness in the honeymoon period. Or is the context different here, with the honeymoon period being between parties in the government and not with the opposition?

What say you…

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


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