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Friday, December 9, 2016

Mahathir deserves the best of seats



In the latest saga, it is clear that whoever is responsible for the cancellation of the official invitation to former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is behaving like a man with a petty heart.
The unwise decision to cancel the invitation has turned the installation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong into another uncongenial event.
Certainly, no one should treat it like another political party affair. Even if Dr Mahathir is no longer with Umno, it does not make him a fugitive. I do not know who is responsible, but one person stands out like a sore thumb on why he is doing nothing about reversing the cancellation.
Even after the matter was raised by members of the public including Pakatan Harapan secretariat chief Saifuddin Abdullah and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is not doing anything to reverse the cancellation.
This is despite the fact that he owed it to Dr Mahathir who personally handpicked Najib after former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi relinquished his post as prime minister.
It is not only in this incident where Najib appears indifferent towards the humiliation caused to Dr Mahathir, but there were a number of other occasions including the removal of outriders for the former prime minister.
We can understand if it is in the political arena when the former blue-eyed boy of the nonagenarian took a swipe at his former guru. Najib has failed to understudy Dr Mahathir despite being in the latter’s cabinet for so long and in different ministries.
Good gov’t policies derailed by poor leaders
While Najib blamed it on the government agencies for failing to cascade the good policies developed by the government, I strongly believe that it is always the poor leadership that results in good policies failing.
There is no point of blaming it on the civil servants if the leader himself fails to set a good example. If there is corruption at the lowest level, I am very certain that there will also be corruption at the highest level.
If a prime minister or a president is clean by any standard, he will certainly not tolerate any individual within his government who is on the take.
Look at the Auditor-General’s Report every year. As a prime minister, what has Najib done to ensure that the screws are being tightened to stop all the leakages? What has Najib done to improve the accountability of the civil servants, despite the big talk about the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and Economic Transformation Programme (ETP)?
Having been a writer nearly all my life, and having worked with media agencies for the past 20 years, I have to say this. During Dr Mahathir’s time, whenever a complaint was raised in the media, the problem got solved. This is because Dr Mahathir himself took a personal interest in the matter, and he would query his cabinet ministers themselves about the issues.
Oftentimes I was told that Dr Mahathir would travel in an unmarked four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicle with a friend of his to check out on the ground the issues highlighted in the newspapers. He would take down notes, and in the next cabinet meeting, he would ask his ministers.
Now? No one even bothers to monitor whether a certain job is done or not. When some local people highlighted that a certain corner of a road in Raub was deemed to be dangerous and accident-prone, the local Public Works Department could only give an official explanation that there is no money to put up some speed breakers and road signs.
We are only hoping that no accident will happen, and when that happens, I promise you that I will expose the matter.
Now, all that Najib does is to blame the civil servants for failing to implement the policies. He told the village heads to inform the government, but after the complaint has reached his ear, what does he do about it? Ask Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy what has the government done to raise the living standards of the Indian Malaysian community.
While there are talks about helping the Rohingya, there are still several thousand Indian Malaysians born stateless in this country. The issue of the United Examination Council (UEC) has also been discussed over several decades, yet Najib has done nothing about it.

Najib should at least emulate Dr Mahathir on his good points, or at least give him some face, even if he disagrees with Dr Mahathir. He should not be petty, but act as a man with a big heart.
In my opinion, Dr Mahathir should be allowed to sit in his rightful position as a former prime minister of this country. That is at least how Najib as a gentleman should behave.

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.- Mkini

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