The deteriorating performance of the Madani government after one-year in power

THE Madani or unity government of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would be marking its first anniversary in power in few days. But opinion polls conducted by the Merdeka Centre paints a picture of the government that has gone down in popularity.

Compared to the earlier months, about 30% of the pollsters suggest that the government is heading in the right direction while the majority think that government is directionless.

Of course, some say that it is too early – just going to be one year – to judge the performance of the government or Anwar.

But there are serious indications that something is seriously wrong with the government. There is no necessity to wait for full one term to judge the Anwar government. It might be just too late.

What is most glaring is the gap between what was promised when Pakatan Harapan (PH) was in the opposition and when they are in government at the present.

The promise or assurance to remove the obnoxious laws such as the Sedition Act 1948, Security Measures (Special Offences) or SOSMA 2012 and others remain as an unfulfilled promise. The worst part is that there are those in the government justifying the use of these draconian legislations as necessary for security reasons.

Pic credit: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Facebook

Lacking knowledge

As long as these legislations continue to exist and enforced, there is little or no hope for reforms in the government. Anwar was at his level best when he was in the opposition but today, he might not be better than other former premiers.

He spends more time outside the country as though taking up the Palestinian issue would miraculously resolve economic and social problems in the country. Anwar should have relinquished holding the portfolio of Finance Minister some time ago.

It is blatantly too much to hold two posts of high responsibilities. One need not be trained economist or finance expert to manage the economy.

If Anwar can’t even give intelligent answers to questions posed on the economy, then what is the point of holding on the position? Strangely, when journalists ask him questions about the economy, he would talk about his years in prison and how he met some of the world leaders.

Anwar can talk about the global issues but he seems to have no answers on domestic matters such as weakened ringgit, food shortage, the horrific nature of the public transport system and many other unresolved issues affecting the poor and the neglected.

Anwar lacks the basic stature of statesman to look at the country beyond the racial and religious lens.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (left) and Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli displaying the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) mid-term review report themed “Malaysia MADANI: Sustainable, Prosperous, High-Income Nation (Pic credit: Bernama)

Although he might not have the support of the Malays, it doesn’t mean that he completely neglects the pressing issues of the non-Malays.

The one-sided nature of employment in the public sector, the discrimination of non-Malays to public universities and the matriculation system have raised questions not just about the fairness of the political system but also how serious is Malaysia in preparing students for taking careers in science and technology.

Madani ministers not up to mark

How can the government be regarded as fair and responsible when non-Malays are not respected as full-fledged citizens of the country?

What is the point of talking of affirmative action for all immaterial of race or religion for international consumption when affirmative action is only applied to one particular race on the basis of some criteria?

The ministers in the Madani government are not up to their mark. They have forgotten what they have said in the past about reforms and need for changes.

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy

They are not different to ministers in the earlier governments. Some of them are not even capable to hold their posts because public accountability seems to be rarity among them.

Earlier talks of cabinet reshuffle seem to have dissipated. Probably Anwar is too preoccupied with the fate of the Palestinians that he has no time for addressing domestic problems.

It is not that the Palestinian issue is not important but until today Anwar has not ventured to propose a solution to the hundred years of conflict between the Palestinians and the state of Israel.

While public opinion is gravitating towards a two-state solution as the ultimate answer to resolve the conflict, Anwar is tight-lipped about it.

Once reforms were a significant part of the PH coalition. But there are only murmurs of reforms today. The gutsy politics associated with the much-needed reforms seems to be a thing of the past.

As some say, it is more appropriate to talk about reformati than reforms. In other words, the end of the reforms.

How can we talk about democracy and freedom when the Madani government is not averse in controlling the dissemination of information? Several online websites have been closed down by the Communication and Digital Ministry on the grounds that they published information that was critical of the government.

Whether one pays attention to opinion polls or not, the Madani government is in dire straits. – Nov 23, 2023


Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy was the former DAP state assemblyman for Perai. He was also the former deputy chief minister II of Penang.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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