ADUN SPEAKS | I don’t understand why Pakatan Harapan has to make a series of retreats to appease certain segments of racial and religious forces in the last 11 months or so.
It is not just evident in the campaigning in the recent by-elections, but more so in the Harapan government abandoning the Icerd (International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination), the Rome Statute and its failure to reform the matriculation admission system.
In these three instances, the government failed to provide a clear political direction to the people.
Although these are different issues, the Harapan government was more interested in appeasing sections of society prone to extreme racial and religious persuasions.
Why abandon the majority who supported the promised reforms under the present government?
Rather than refuting the extreme racial arguments of those who opposed Icerd, the Rome Statute or the continuation of the lopsided matriculation system, the government caved in to their exaggerated parochial discourse.
Harapan is not subjected to the problem of crossovers; it has a comfortable simple majority. We have a strong and stern prime minister who is known for his no-nonsense attitude.
If there is a confrontation, the rakyat will support the prime minister.
In the last general election, Harapan did the unthinkable. While earlier coalitions failed to unseat BN, Harapan performed a “miracle”.
Bersatu may be the weakest link in the Harapan coalition, but crossovers from Umno has strengthened the party somewhat, although a two-thirds parliamentary majority remains elusive.
It is well and fine not to expect Harapan to deliver its election promises within a year or two.
Of course, matters have been resolved, but many other pledges remain to be addressed or resolved. Time is a critical factor and Harapan must be mindful of the expectations of the rakyat.
In the meantime, while internal matters are being sorted out, the coalition could at least convince its supporters of its schedule of things to be implemented. By being silent, Harapan may find things not in its favour.
What bugs Harapan supporters is the fact that a small segment of the opposition seems to have much impact on derailing the important decisions of the government.
When it comes to taking a stand on important matters, Harapan is not motivated by progressive considerations, but what others think and whether they will politicise the matter to the point that it might lose support.
I don’t understand why the government could capitulate on Icerd when it had made a commitment to support it.
How can the convention alter the status and constitutional provisions in regard to the protection of the bumiputera community?
Just because PAS and Umno went to town with their opposition, Harapan was rattled and abandoned ratifying the convention.
Harapan abandoned its larger societal concerns by giving in to narrow, parochial interests all in the name of preservation of the coalition.
I am not sure whether this is the kind of preservation we need at the expense of the promises made to deliver a reformed Malaysia.
Just because some sections of the royalty were misinformed about the effects of the adoption of the Rome Statute by a few half-baked academics, the Harapan government caved in without even questioning their narrow analysis.
This government was democratically elected to bring about changes for the betterment of the people. Another major disaster.
The matriculation admission system, based on a lopsided racial quota of 90:10, was a product of the racial system instituted by Umno-BN for a number of decades.
Rather than reforming this unjust system, Harapan decided to continue with the old racist formula, merely increasing the intake of students.
P RAMASAMY is the state assemblyperson for Perai. He is also deputy chief minister (II) for Penang.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.