Good morning. First year of the Pakatan Harapan government has concluded. Time for a bit of thanks giving and reflection.
I want to thank my constituents who gave me the opportunity to serve the rakyat for another term. A big shout out to my hardcore team led by Mr. Leong who worked tirelessly on the campaign. I want to thank in particular, Rafizi Ramli and the INVOKE team who made an immense and incredible contribution in GE14. It is important that today, we pay tribute and recognise all the unsung heroes, many have been conveniently forgotten in this past year. Take heart that nobody can take away your contribution to this historic victory. My message to all is to keep believing and keep pushing for institutional reforms.
Now a simplified report card.
Mixed results from one year of the PH cabinet. I will rate 5 out of 10. Some ministers did good work and some not good at all. Overall political atmosphere was not good, racial and religious tensions on the rise. Losing three successive by-elections, u-turns, party hopping, fake degrees, bad statements from ministers also somewhat demoralised the faithful. Things can only get better from here on. On the brighter side, incidences of corruption were down and some form of asset declaration was done.
Policy directions were unclear. Since the PM said the manifesto is not set in stone, no clear reform agenda has emerged to replace it. Frustratingly, legislative reforms in Parliament did not happen but thankfully, six Parliamentary select committees were formed. We need another 11 select committees to be formed in the coming year. GST gone but prices of goods did not really drop and the economy was lacklustre. Lynas unresolved but overall the human rights situation was much better, but these freedoms need to be legislated upon. Crony capitalism was also in retreat despite reappearance of old hands.
So basically, mixed results from the cabinet. More importantly, the cabinet must now find the political will to do many more institutional reforms in this coming year.
As for my office, I have been keeping very busy in the last year with Parliamentary reforms (including visits to foreign Parliaments to learn, adopt and adapt reforms). My workload in the Public Accounts Committee investigating government corruption and wastage, was very heavy; we probably had about 30 hearings to date. I also continued my human rights work with APHR (in particular on Cambodia) but to a much lesser degree. I joined AIPA and am currently helping out on the issue of Climate Change. I have also been doing a lot more diplomatic engagements this past year. My engagements with the business community and international media continued at a steady pace.
On the community front, with an enlarged community budget of RM3.5 million, we have embarked on a project to repair all 51 public schools in Subang Jaya and Kinrara at the cost of RM2.5 million. We have also been handling more citizenship and welfare cases than ever. My personal community appearances were down, as I spent a lot more time overseas.
This coming year, I will continue to focus primarily on Parliamentary reforms, to give true meaning to the separation of powers. It is my belief that if we don’t repair the structure of the separation of powers, we will never see true institutional reforms for the New Malaysia.
A bittersweet 1st Birthday to the New Malaysia!