‘Progress was made but many promises unfulfilled’

PETALING JAYA: The Pakatan Harapan government has been urged to steer the narrative towards the longer-term strategy to further strengthen the nation’s socio-economic development.

In congratulating the coalition’s first year in power, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) said the government could not afford to rest on its laurels.

“It cannot be denied that some of the energy and promises borne out of last year’s historic election results have dwindled, and the people’s dissatisfaction with the slow pace of economic, political and institutional reforms is becoming more evident.

“The voting in of any new government naturally comes with very high expectations, and implementing reforms and policies takes a long time.

“Balancing competing demands from different groups is challenging and has forced the government to take positions to appease these various interests, often at the detriment of racial and religious harmony,” it said in a statement.

Ideas said it was vital for Pakatan to remain on track in keeping its promises in the next four years in order to sustain public support.

“It is crucial that the wave of enthusiasm and energy of May 9 be sustained, and a clear communications strategy be undertaken to keep Malaysians well informed of the government’s agenda,” it said.

Ideas also noted significant reforms in institutions such as the Election Commission (EC) and Parliament, with dissenting voices increasingly being given space to be heard.

Meanwhile, Bersih 2.0 lauded the Pakatan government for making “commendable progress” in the implementation of institutional reforms in the country with a score of 36.4% in its first term in office.

However, in its report, the electoral watchdog noted that there are still many unfulfilled promises.

Its chairman Thomas Fann said the score should not be viewed as a failed mark for the government, adding that this was only the government’s first year of a five-year mandate to rule the country and bring about reforms.

He said the areas where Pakatan did well were a new and progressive EC, a reform-minded Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, shrinking the size of the Prime Minister’s Department and also the formation of the committee to look into wide-ranging reforms for the electoral system.

“These are all the very positive things that have taken place in this one year but the challenges ahead are of the constitutional amendments that require a two-thirds majority,” Fann said at a press conference yesterday.

He urged the opposition to support the institutional and structural reforms that require a two-thirds majority.

Among the unfulfilled promises cited by Bersih’s report are that the opposition leader has not been granted the status and provisions equivalent to a federal minister, and appointments of key national positions in EC, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia and Judicial Appointments Commission have not been approved by the parliamentary committee.

The report also listed two broken promises – Pakatan MPs received RM1.5mil annual constituency allocation while opposition MPs got RM100,000; and parliamentary sittings which should take place for 100 days but are only scheduled for 68 days this year.

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