THE current Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim-led Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional (PH-BN) administration has made troubling moves that set a worrying precedent for future governments.
One of the most visible manifestations of this administration’s approach is the increased use of political appointees and favouritism in government.
Political appointments, nepotism or favouritism go against the idea of meritocracy and make it seem like political connections are more important than capacity or ability. This also calls into question the administration’s commitment to openness and accountability since political appointments can lead to corruption and abuse of power.
Appointing someone with questionable motives weakens public service credibility and could set a bad example for future administrations. The government should give more weight to capacities and experience than personal connections when making public service appointments.
Also, the authorities have been accused of interfering with the judiciary which is a critical component of a democratic society.
Any interference with the court undermines public trust in the justice system and calls the fairness and impartiality of legal proceedings into question. To ensure that justice is served impartially and without bias, the court must remain independent and free of political influence.
Similarly, the government has ignored the separation of powers between the Prime Minister (PM) and Finance Minister. This lack of detachment can lead to a concentration of authority in a single person, opening the door to possible corruption and power abuses which the current PM has fought against in the past.
Although Anwar announced his Malaysia Madani concept, it remains to be seen whether the administration will take concrete steps to address the concerns raised about its approach thus far.
Many Malaysians, especially the Chinese and Indian communities who supported PH are dissatisfied with the government’s efforts, particularly its failure to keep election promises.
The people demand greater clarity and commitment from elected officials as well as holding them accountable for their actions to ensure that they serve the interests of the people rather than their political ambitions or personal gain.
How can we ensure that the interests of the people take precedence over the interests of the political elite? Is it time to demand greater manifestation and inclusion in the political process, particularly for marginalised groups traditionally underrepresented in government?
These are serious issues that demand people’s attention. To ensure that our democracy remains strong and serves the interests of all Malaysians, we must continue to hold our leaders accountable for their actions and demand greater transparency and accountability. – March 29, 2023
Mahathir Mohd Rais is the Federal Territories’ Perikatan Nasional (PN) information chief.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Main pic credit: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Facebook