Malaysiakini Letter

Respect, reserve and restraint needed

M Santhananaban

LETTER | This year’s Hari Raya Haji holiday gave us a long and restful weekend but it has also brought out the worst of some of our leaders. Political power and positions seem to have gone to the head of some of them. Their ability to obtain political mileage with incendiary statements in the press and media seems to have had a somewhat intoxicating and disruptive effect.

They seem to have forgotten that their fledgeling government with just the fifteen months of experience is still very much a work-in-progress and has a long way to go.

Pakatan Harapan’s carefully crafted political formula for power-sharing and good governance unveiled before GE14 and announced on May 10, 2018, is in the gravest danger. Every elected parliamentarian and state legislator has a responsibility to salvage it.

Issues relating to education, loyalty, citizenship, commitment to a united nation, environmental pollution and procedures for high-level decision making are important but they can only be worked on, discussed and developed in an atmosphere of peace, mutual trust and understanding. 

For a long time now too many disruptive and sensitive issues are being raised in an alarming and precipitate manner in public when these issues should be raised behind closed doors. When these issues are in the public domain they are often misconstrued.

The partner-parties in Harapan have an obligation to ensure that their members maintain some discipline by showing respect, reserve and restraint especially if they passionately believe in the causes they are championing. Press statements, knee-jerk reactions, name-calling, cynicism and attacks on their own compatriots may show that they are working but they hardly demonstrate their wisdom at managing the nation’s affairs.

There is no place for triumphalism at this stage (when little has been achieved) but there is considerable scope for our leaders to embark on painstaking consultation and cooperation with a view to achieving a consensus on some of the issues confronting the nation.

The press and the social media can assist this process by relegating these issues to their proper place in the overall context of safeguarding the overarching peace, harmony and political stability of Malaysia.

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

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