‘Govt faces five challenges in rebuilding nation’s democracy’

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 22 Dec 2018

PETALING JAYA: Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong (pic) cited five challenges faced by the Pakatan Harapan government to rebuild the country’s democracy.

In a post on his official website, Liew pointed out the “difficult” relationship between the Prime Minis­ter Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his designated successor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as one.

“Imagine if Anwar were forced to work with (Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad) Zahid Hamidi’s Umno while Dr Mahathir worked with (Datuk Seri) Hisham­muddin Hussein’s Umno. Both ideas are non-starters and bad for Malay­sian democracy,” he wrote.

“Realising this potential nightmare, I believe that both Harapan leaders will come to a common ground for the sake of Malaysia.”

Liew, who is the Johor DAP chief, said another challenge was the need to build a new economic model that worked for everyone, including uplifting the Malay poor, but “without the cronyism and corruption of Umno”.

On other challenges, he said free press and full democracy could only survive in a multi-ethnic society if a national Malaysian narrative was a common basis for all.

“Each political actor and media must no longer be an ethnic champion. Racism could lead to ethnic clashes that could burn the house down, shutting down any fledgeling democracy,” he added.

He noted that Pakatan was a grand coalition that needed a lot of work to keep it together.

“Defeating (former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) Najib’s kleptocracy was hard, but rebuilding Malaysia will be a harder task,” he said.

For a democracy to thrive, Liew said the government needed to accept that governing was not just about decisions of ministers and top bureaucrats.

“To implement the reform agenda, we need many institutions such as parliamentary committees and a free press to create platforms and opportunities for the public to participate in the difficult task of governing,’’ he added.

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