Malaysiakini News

A new puzzle for Harapan gov’t - the liberal-conservative conflict

Wong Kai Hui  |  Published:  |  Modified:

100 DAYS | After the rakyat ended BN’s six decades of power following the 14th general election, the impetus to vigorously debate policies and social issues saw a rejuvenation of sorts.

Civil society enjoyed greater freedom and this manifested itself through a more strident voice expressing higher expectations for the new government.

No surprise then that the biggest change brought about by the Pakatan Harapan administration was the enhancement of freedom of speech, said Aira Azhari, research coordinator for think-tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas).

She observed that Malaysians now are more enthusiastic about discussing social and political reforms and are wrestling topics which have rarely been discussed in the past.

“Malaysians are braver now to talk about issues like whether the affirmative action is the best way to help the Malay. We also have discussions about whether we should rewrite our history textbooks and the relationships between politics and monarchy. These are some important issues that I think that should be discussed.”

However, with more space for free speech, the gap between the various communities has gradually emerged. Being caught in the middle, the new government is now facing a new puzzle of how to deal with criticism and social controversy...

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