BROWSING the local newspapers over the weekend recently, I came across coverage of the activities of several Pakatan Harapan (PH) Cabinet ministers at events in different parts of the country.
Without doubt, these activities were in keeping with the pledge by the PH government to focus its attention on meeting the expectations of Malaysians from all walks of life in efforts to help them weather various socioeconomic challengers.
However, I am dismayed to observe that based on the coverage, the practice of “over glorifying” ministers at these events continues unabated. I refer to the oversized photographic images of the ministers used as backdrops at the venues of at least two of the events.
To some, this may seem a trivial matter and part of our Eastern culture to show respect to our leaders
However, I beg to differ, as it merely perpetuates a feudal culture. To some extent, it also reminds one of the personality cults encouraged by authoritarian regimes of the past in several parts of the world. In the new Malaysia, we should be more egalitarian in our orientation.
Of course, due courtesies should be extended to ministers by the event organisers. I think it would suffice for the backdrops to state the ministers’ names and their portfolios.
As a suggestion, ministries could issue instructions to departments and agencies under their jurisdictions to stop this practice. Likewise, the ministries could also advise government-linked companies, the private sector and NGOs accordingly.
I think such a move would be well-received by the Malaysian public and in line with the Pakatan Harapan government’s commitment to eschew the arrogance and excesses of previous administrations.
HUSSAIN ABU BAKAR
Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya