Why is ‘reformasi’ now ‘refor-mati’ to some?

SPECTATORS do not get involved in the FIFA Club World Cup. They either cheer or jeer at the players but it is the 22 footballers who have to work hard at winning the match to become the world champion team.

Until one is working on the reforms, it is difficult to see that reforms are happening. It takes time for true reforms to happen and until we understand this, it is difficult for us to know that some reforms have already started to take shape.

It is a humongous task to turn around the lackadaisical attitude of the 1.66 million civil and public servants. This may take several decades before we see a more self-initiated and motivated public service unless the Madani government is willing to implement some drastic actions similar to the recent enforcement of stricter traffic rules.

When the traffic police knock at the window to issue a summons, people are complaining, shrieking away and shouting at the top of their voices because they have to pay hefty fines for using a mobile phone while driving or their cars have passed the white line at traffic light junctions.

It is like a child who has needs to be disciplined for some bad habits; the pain is there but the end result is a better behaved and more responsible adult.

When people are already in a certain pattern of behaviours, it takes time to change them. It is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks. The worst-case scenario is when it takes a whole generation to see change in social behaviours.

One-way blame

For example, when there is a big item to throw away, would people rather drive it to an illegal dump to discard it or place it in front of your house and inform the solid waste disposal company to collect it?

Or what about the audio recording by social political commentator Imraz Ikhbal that went viral early this year about a certain Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officer who was allegedly on the take and collecting angpow from mandarin stall operators?

The “Save Malaysia” rally which took place on Sept 16 to protest the discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) granted to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi over the 47 charges in his Yayasan Akalbudi trial has triggered coining of a new buzzword refor-mati.

Whether or not the officer was guilty, most people would have heard of similar cases from the traders on the streets who complain about enforcement officers coming regularly to collect their “pocket” money.

Till now, there is no feedback from DBKL about the officer’s status or whether the case was surrendered to the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for further investigation. FocusM has tried to follow up with the current mayor but to no avail.

The blame is always on one person for everything that did not go right the way we want to see it and that person is none other than the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PMX).

What netizens should do instead is to bring up the matter with the DBKL. Letters to the editor can be written. They can even take it to X (formerly Twitter) to complain why there is no feedback from DBKL. It takes public pressure on any mayor to be answerable to the public.

But then, why not even a single word from the Opposition in parliament when the question could have been asked about the said officer who went on a collection spree? Time spent on asking PMX to withdraw certain allegations could have been spent by asking him for an answer.

The reason why there is no reformasi is because even the very people who call it refor-mati are unwilling to raise this even in parliament. This is why they call it refor-mati. To them, reformasi is dead.

Another case in point is when a restaurant operator who is often visited by a team of enforcement officers from the local council would rather pay a bribe than to take the hassle of cooperating with the MACC to nab the culprits seeking under-table money.

It is time for those of us who call reformasi by any other name to seek reforms within ourselves first. Collectively, we will make reformasi work. Being a spectator would not help the process unless Anwar can handle reformasi single-handedly. We can wait till the cows come home before we see real reforms. – Sept 24, 2023


Main pic credit: Dailymotion

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