It’s time to reboot Malaysia in a new direction

I NEVER imagined in my wildest dreams that Umno would one day work with once Opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan to form the government.

This tells us that Malaysia’s politics is now moving into a more mature stage.

The new incoming government must prioritise implementing good governance policies and accelerating the fight against corruption.

The National Anti-Corruption Plan 2019-2023 (NACP), which was devised during Pakatan’s first time in government (2018-2020), must be continued.

The NACP is a five-year road map designed to address governance and corruption issues in the country.

However, one year away from the deadline for full implementation, it is apparent that we have performed terribly.

Key reforms such as the separation of powers between the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Public Prosecutor’s Office; reforms to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (especially the process of appointing its chief commissioner) and the Royal Malaysia Police; reforms to the Whistleblower Protection Act; enactment of the Parliamentary Service, Ombudsman, Public Procurement, and Freedom of Information Acts; and implementation of the Asset Declaration, and Political Finance laws – they have all yet to be implemented despite being top priority areas under the NACP.

The political instability of the last three years that was caused by the “Sheraton Move” has held Malaysia back too long.

The NACP seemed to have been discarded and any institutional independence and reforms initiated were in doubt.

(The fall in February 2020 of the Pakatan coalition government after 22 months in power was dubbed the Sheraton Move as those who organised it gathered at the Sheraton Hotel.

) With a new government in place, we now have the opportunity to place the reform agenda on centre stage.

This must be the No.1 priority of the unity government.

Appointments of Cabinet members must take this into account as the first consideration.

We need ministers who can push these reforms forward.

And new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim now has the huge responsibility of healing the divisions of a turbulent general election and uniting Malaysians of different cultures, races and faiths.

It is also a time to repair our government-linked corporations and appoint the most qualified candidates to head them, and do the same for our government institutions.

Also, Sabah and Sarawak must be treated as equal partners in the federation and what is rightfully theirs must be returned.

Most importantly, the lives and livelihoods of ordinary folk must be improved and strengthened.

It’s time to reboot Malaysia.

K.SUDHAGARAN STANLEY Petaling Jaya The letter writer is an anti-corruption and good governance activist.

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