Abdullah should issue a mid-term report of his “First Hundred Days” as fifth Prime Minister on the pledges and actions for a clean, incorruptible and efficient administration with the people able to tell him the truth
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Saturday): Today is the 50th day of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia and Abdullah should issue a mid-term report of his “First Hundred Days” on both the pledges and actions for a clean, incorruptible and efficient administration with the people able to tell him the “truth”.
It is understandable that in his First Fifty Days, there will be more pledges than actions but in his second Fifty Days as the new Prime Minister, his agenda and record should be dominated more by action than pledges for a clean, incorruptible, efficient and people-friendly administration. In other words, Malaysians should be able to look forward to Abdullah’s Second “Fifty Days” for Action, Action and More Action instead of Pledges, Pledges and More Pledges!
Four things stood out in Abdullah’s First Fifty Days, viz:
Although Abdullah has made a good start in his pledge for a clean and incorruptible government, such as proposals to establish a regional anti-corruption academy, a National Ethics Institute and Malaysia’s signing of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Mexico last week, it must be a matter of grave national concern that up to now, he seems to “One Man versus the System” whether in Cabinet or the government in trying to wipe out corruption and instal a new culture of political integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.
Malaysians are entitled to ask whey the Cabinet had not been able to give 100 per cent support to Abdullah to declare an all-out war against corruption in the past 50 days of the new Prime Minister by taking at least four measures:
Abdullah needs a reliable group of advisers to let him know that there is a vast gulf between his promises and deeds of a clean, incorruptible and efficient civil service. This is best illustrated by Abdullah’s surprise visit to the Immigration Department, which was more of a “Public Relations” exercise than having any root-and-branch effect in changing the mindset of the civil service, whether in the Immigration Department, the Home Ministry or the whole government as evident from widespread public complaints that little had changed in government red tape, bureaucracy, inefficiency and insensitivity in the past 50 days.
Most serious of all, Abdullah is still prevented from hearing the “truth” from the ordinary rakyat. Although his statement that he wanted the people to tell him the truth came like a breath of fresh air, there had been no perceptible change in the system of governance to encourage a free two-way flow of information between the government and the governed.
In the past 50 days, the people have not been empowered to tell him the truth through new era of press freedom in Malaysia. If the voices of the Opposition and dissent in the civil society continue to be suppressed in the mainstream media, whether printed or electronic, how can Abdullah hear the truth from the people?
These issues are among Abdullah’s greatest challenges in his Second Fifty Days, which is why there should be a frank and honest reappraisal of his First Fifty Days as the new Prime Minister allowing for a full-scale public debate and review.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman