Analyst: PH learned from past mistakes, more mindful of Muslim sensitivities now

AN analyst said the Home Ministry’s recent raid on several Swatch outlets over the brand’s “Pride Collection” is indication that the government was “more conservative and was minding the sensitivities” of the Muslim majority.

According to Akademi Nusantara’s Prof Dr Azmi Hassan, it is clear that Pakatan Harapan (PH) has learnt from mistakes made in its previous 22 months in power.

He added that the current administration was “less progressive” because in the past PH’s rivals would accuse the coalition of being “liberal” and that did not sit well with the conservative crowd.

“I believe, they (PH) have learnt from past mistakes, especially now that the unity government is made up of many parties that are conservative ideologically,” he was reported as saying to FMT.

The unity government is made up of a number of coalitions and parties, including PH, Barisan Nasional (BN), Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

Touching on the attempt to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), Azmi noted that the move had sparked criticism from the opposition then, including UMNO.

The push to ratify ICERD, which many had claimed would eliminate Malay and Bumiputera rights, as well as the government’s accession to the Rome Statute were among the reasons the coalition had lost support among the Malays, he added.

Azmi went on to assert that since the unity government came to power, several of its decisions have been regarded “unprogressive”, including the decision not to revise the unpopular Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).

However, Charles Santiago pointed out that it was premature to label PH as being less progressive as the coalition had only taken over Putrajaya six months ago, arguing that implementing the changes PH was pushing for would require more time.

The former Klang MP suggested that the government should be given a year or a year and a half to establish itself, and that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s recent statement that the opposition should be given media space was a sign of progressiveness.

“He (Anwar) told his ministers if there are criticisms from the press, you deal with it. This is very good. If this press freedom had been done 15 to 20 years ago, Malaysia would be in a different place today,” Santiago was reported as saying by the news portal.

On Sunday (May 28), Anwar urged Malaysian media to remain independent and free of any external influence or pressure that might influence their reporting, and urged the press not to “insult” the opposition or those opposed to the government as he believed in the opposition’s right to be heard. – May 31, 2023

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