New Malaysia’s not-so happy birthday

Zaidi Azmi

WHEN they were out gunning for victory in last year’s national poll, the leaders of Pakatan Harapan (PH) had not only dished out a total of 555 rosy promises but also claimed that things will take a turn for the better if they formed government.

A year – 365 days – has passed since they won GE14 and as it is, things have not been a bed of roses as many had high expected so much so that several poll firms have pointed out that PH’s popularity had considerably dropped in the last 12 months.

For example, Merdeka Center – a pollster whose survey findings were often highly regarded by PH leaders – stated that only 39 per cent of respondents gave the government positive ratings.

That was not all, the centre also pointed out that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s popularity had slumped from 71 to 46 per cent within the one year but expectedly, Dr Mahathir was unfazed with his dwindling fame.

While a myriad of reasons were touted to be the cause of PH’s unpopularity, the biggest root cause in which every single one of these outfit highlighted was the ruling coalition’s flip-flop in fulfilling its election manifestos, particularly its 100-day promises.

At the moment, PH had only managed to fulfill four of the 12 hundred-days-promises and of the 555 promises, the coalition had, so far, fulfilled 23 which stand at a meagre four per cent completion rate.

It has also, for now, broken 11 promises.

The excuse that it cited was a combination of PH not expecting to win GE14 when they made the promises, the “misdeeds” of the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government and the country’s supposedly weak fiscal position following the controversially redefined RM1 trillion national debt.


Not only that, Dr Mahathir had even gone a step further in silencing critics, who were dogging him over PH’s botched promises, saying that “election manifestos are not bible.”

And while the RM1 trillion debt sort of lend credence to such an excuse – depending on which side of the political fence one is on – the allocation of this year’s budget that was presented at parliament last year seemed to suggest otherwise.

For starters, the allocation for this year’s budget – which many predicted will include a lot belt-tightening measures – was RM314.5 billion and this was a 12.2 per cent increment from 2018’s RM280.25 billion.

The most pertinent point that inadvertently proved that the country has money after all was the fact that allocation for this year’s development expenditure was also upped by 18.9 per cent, totalling to RM54.7 billion compared 2018’s RM46 billion.

But even if money – or rather lack thereof – was touted to be the biggest hurdle for PH to keep its promises, not all of its promises, particularly those concerning political reforms, needed massive amount of cash to act on.

Cases in point would be giving parliament the power to vet the appointment of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) number one and PH’s promise to separate the prosecutorial power of the Attorney-General (AG).


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