Crying need for integrity in business, nation, says Malaysia Airports boss–start with klia( uala lumpur international airport) first


March 10, 2019

Crying need for integrity in business, nation, says Malaysia Airports boss–start with (kuala lumpur international airport) first

Raja Azmi says good behaviour is expected of everyone, ‘to be cascaded from our leaders’.

NOTTINGHAM: By reinventing itself, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) hopes to be a catalyst for the redefined Malaysian economy, according to its Group Chief Executive Officer Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin.

Noting the changes of the past year in the nation, Raja Azmi said change was good as it presented Malaysians with a “golden window of opportunity” to reset the country for the better.

Image result for kuala lumpur airport

“However, it is much easier to change a government through the ballot box than it is to transform mindsets and the bad habits of corruption, weak governance and service to self above public interest,” he said in a keynote address to Malaysians here at the Projek Amanat Negara at the University of Nottingham on Saturday.

He said the right talent and attitude were needed for the nation to move forward, just as these were needed for Malaysia Airports to become a stimulus for nation building.

Saying there was a need for skilled young people in both Malaysia Airports and the nation, Raja Azmi added there was also a crying need for people with a deep sense of ethics, integrity and accountability.

Raja Azmi said good behaviour was expected of everyone, “to be cascaded from our leaders”.

He noted that it was very difficult to enforce a culture of good governance because “values such as transparency, accountability and integrity are intrinsic. They come from the heart and should have been moulded from the cradle”.

“This is also why it is so difficult to cleanse Malaysia of the stain and tarnish of corruption, because corruption has become infused into the DNA of the public and private sectors. It’s not like we can excise corruption, get an ethical transfusion and become angels overnight.”

Raja Azmi urged young people to commit themselves to upholding integrity in everything that they did.

“Do not ever lapse from integrity. Build an ethical inventory and an ethical reservoir, starting now, so that you can avoid being tainted by the cancer of corruption and misbehaviour.

“Key to being ethical is also speaking up and being proactive. Malaysians are quite notorious for their ‘tidak apa’ attitude. When it comes to ethics, we might not do anything wrong, but we lack the courage to stand up and speak out against wrongdoing.

“We have to build a new Malaysian culture where we welcome open and constructive criticism and correction – that is not hostile, malicious or seditious. In Negaraku Redefined, we are all responsible for our country’s good governance, performance and reputation. Therefore, the buck starts with you.”

Raja Azmi said he was very pleased to attend the function because Projek Amanat Negara aimed at providing a platform for intellectual discourse, not only among students but also for students to engage with experts about the nation’s direction and understand how they could support nation building efforts.

“I am highly supportive of such efforts. It has been my experience that ideals which form the very core of our individual beings are usually formed during our youth. Philosophies, ideas and beliefs that we absorb during our formative years tend to stay with us as we navigate through the challenges of life.”

Saying constructive intellectual discourse was needed for the new Malaysia, he reminded those present to keep in mind that everyone should work towards the greater good – “not only for the country but also for mankind”.

“Now more than ever, Malaysians must learn to be constructive and work together towards fulfilling the aspirations of the Malaysian people. As an accountant and the newly appointed Group CEO of Malaysia Airports, I am happy to contribute a business perspective on nation building.”

Raja Azmi also spoke of  Negaraku Redefined being a roadmap for the nation which gave a sense of identity and purpose and was both the journey and the goal.

“We are all different people with different values. Therefore, it can mean different things to different people. However, we can and should be able to define it at the lowest common denominator – which is our collective intent and efforts in making Malaysia sustainable in all senses of the word.

“We must aim to make this the best nation possible – a Malaysia that benefits all Malaysians regardless of political affiliation, creed or race. We must ensure that policies that we form for social and community development prioritise inclusivity and diversity so that nobody is left behind.

“We must seek sustainable economic growth – this means that we must pursue forward-looking economic activities that will produce sustainable returns, conserve our resources, prioritise the environment and empower future generations.”

The group CEO also spoke about how Malaysia Airports was reinventing itself. Noting that it was now the fifth largest airport operator in the world in terms of passengers handled, Raja Azmi said the company saw the providing of network connectivity as one of its major roles.

“This is where the concept of nation building comes into play. These airports play an important role in the economic development of the state in which they serve – not only by providing a faster means of transport but also in supporting local businesses through the retail space available at the airport.”

He said the company was also becoming a key player in the global digital logistics environment.

“By reinventing ourselves, we are branding ourselves as a catalyst for the redefined Malaysian economy, specifically the development of regional and global digital supply chains. Digital supply chains rely on elements such as integrated planning and execution systems, autonomous logistics and smart procurement, underpinned by Industry 4.0 technologies such as cloud computing, big data analytics and the Internet of Things”.

Raja Azmi said MAHB was also excited about positioning KLIA as a regional hub for eCommerce distribution through its partnership with Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba.

“This will place us as one of Alibaba’s select global hubs, alongside others in Europe, Middle East and Asia.

“Through our work in this area, we expect to double air cargo volumes within 10 years, in turn enhancing network connectivity, flight capacity and route frequency of freighter flights from 16 daily freighter movements today to over 30 daily freighter movements.

“This doubling would translate to generating over RM1.6 billion in cumulative GDP over that 10-year period, and this would contribute to nation building by developing and sustaining a high-value services and logistics sector,” he added.

Mahathir Using Economic Council to Edge Anwar Out in favour of Azmin Ali?


February 16, 2019

By: Yusoff Rawther

Image result for azmin ali and mahathir

A glance at the newly-announced lineup of Malaysia’s Economic Action Council (EAC) poses more questions than answers. It was formed to respond and take action in addressing economic issues. Objectives include stimulating economic growth, ensuring fair distribution of wealth and improving the well-being of the people as well as focusing on issues related to cost of living, labor, poverty and home ownership.

What is its relevance? It sounds eerily like a cabinet within a cabinet, and at a transitionary period, it looks like a redundant idea that will prove to be merely a political tool.

In less than a year since assuming the premiership, the 93-year-old Mahathir Mohammad has flip-flopped on various issues, most obviously his firmly stated assurance in May 2018 that the victorious Pakatan Harapan coalition would not be accepting turncoats from the losing United Malays National Organization.

Yet, along with the announcement of the creation of the economic action body,  Mahathir happened to embrace seven former UMNO MPs into his own Parti Pribumi Bersatu, an act of betrayal to the people of Malaysia. UMNO was thoroughly discredited as a party corrupt to its very roots – by MPs who were kept loyal to the previous premier, the disgraced Najib Razak, by outright bribes.

Anwar Ibrahim has been unceremoniously left out from the EAC, an indication that Mahathir is once again vying to divert as much power and attention towards the lesser known and underperforming Minister of Economic Affairs, Mohamad Azmin Ali, the former chief minister of Selangor and an ambitious pretender for the leadership of the coalition.

Aside from the fact that the council’s existence shows failure on behalf of the prime minister to appoint qualified people to the cabinet, if we are to accept the premise that the council should exist, the right thing to do is to invite the premier-in-waiting to be a member in a move to demonstrate your confidence in your designated successor to the voters as well as giving Anwar a role to play in contributing to the agenda set forth in the EAC’s charter. Malaysians should beware lest Mahathir smuggles old failings into the mix whilst our attention is held elsewhere.

The political heavy lifting was done by Anwar, who from his prison cell pulled a lax opposition and the complaining class into the fight alongside his supporters to create the conditions for change. Conditions that proved vital in the overthrow of the Barisan Nasional regime.

It is evident that something more than elections are necessary to create a genuine new dispensation of sustainable democratic good governance.

 Creating the EAC and sidelining the PM-in-waiting is not a good indicator of that. Authoritarian rule is not just about figureheads. They use power th to maintain themselves is institutionalized and embedded in deep structures of privilege that corruptly deliver a nation’s bounty into the hands of a chosen few.

If Anwar Ibrahim is the icon for democracy, then Mahathir is the icon and spokesperson of the embedded structures of inequity.

As the principal architect of genuine reform,  to sweep aside the structures of authoritarian control and the inequity they beget, Anwar’s reform agenda seeks to eliminate  corruption, cronyism and nepotism, the elements of a bygone era.

It is the diligence and energy Anwar applies to promoting an alternate vision of good governance, one and of a free and competitive Malaysian economy and harmonious, multiracial society that  made him an important voice not only in Malaysia but around the world. Anwar has spent his career speaking for and articulating an alternative agenda of politics.

As a Deputy Prime Minister during the Asian Financial Crisis I988, Anwar came very close to dismantling the Mahathirist version of crony capitalism when he decided to implement an IMF style austerity program, suspend big-bulge infrastructure investment, and force big businessmen to take care of their own debts.

Anwarnomics promises to do away with state-backed racism. It promises to be inclusive, rules-based and competition-driven with a large, well-funded social safety net and he has reiterated time and again the need for uncompromising reforms.

Here are some of the things he has advocated for, long before the formation of the EAC:

Malaysia’s economic policies should be inclusive and to dismantle obsolete policies such as the New Economic Policy. Positive.

  • discrimination policies must be based on freedom, justice, and equity.
  • A sustainable economy is not one that is mainly driven by consumer spending fueled by high level household debt. “We cannot build a better life for our people if they need two to three jobs just to make ends meet. That is bad economics… even worst social policy.”
  • Affirmative actions taken must be based on needs.
  • It is important to enhance investment, trading and economic ties with China and India which are the engine of growth for global economy.
  • Social protection and poverty eradication remain central to the effort to ensure a better life for all.
  • Greater transparency and public participation is key in ensuring efficiency of social programs, to identify dubious programs, reduce duplication and waste of resources.
  • Economic policies to lure foreign direct investment must not neglect any region or community in the country. It is not a zero-sum game. If we choose to embark on pro-market reforms, it should not be an excessive capitalistic notion ignoring the plight of poor and marginalized.

Given the facts, it is only fair to question Mahathir’s  motives  in creating the EAC while failing to include the next Prime minister.

Malaysia is rich in resources and possibilities. Change will require more than just elections, it requires dismantling the institutional structures of inequity, most of all it will depend upon building the strength and capacity of civil society, the plethora of organizations and associations by which ordinary people hold their governments to account.

Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya -It’s not just about the degree


February 13, 2019

Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya  -It’s not just about the degree.

 

It’s not the gift but the thought behind it that counts. Similarly, in the recent brouhaha about the veracity of various ministers’ degrees, it is not so much the degree but how it was dished up to obfuscate others that matters.

We can see four things in the discussion about the academic credentials of our government leaders.

1. The rakyat’s frustration

People are fed up with the lies perpetuated during the former UMNO-Barisan Nasional (BN) administration. When they voted in the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, they did not want their lawmakers to be a carbon copy of the former UMNO-BN ministers.

This wish may take a while to come true. It is disappointing to see PH politicians support their colleagues who mislead the nation about their academic qualifications instead of demanding their resignation.

Instead of demanding truthfulness, honesty and integrity, it appears that PH politicians are falling into the same UMNO-BN trap of defending the indefensible.

If you were promised a gold Rolex watch for 20 years of service to your company, would you be happy with a knock-off from Petaling Street?

If you told your employers in your CV that you were from MIT and they later discovered that you graduated from Menglembu Institute Teknoloji instead of Massachusetts, you would be sacked.

If you are about to be anesthetized for major dental work, wouldn’t you want someone who is qualified to do it instead of someone who picked up their skills from YouTube and then paid for a dud certificate in dentistry from an internet degree mill?

Politicians should learn to tell the truth in Malaysia Baru. The people are not stupid.

2. Lack of shame

Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya may not have said that he graduated from the University of Cambridge, England, instead of an unknown institution in the US. Was it laziness on his part, or did he bank on Malaysians seeing the word “Cambridge” in “Cambridge International University” and jumping to their own conclusions?

He must be aware that a paper qualification from a degree mill is inferior to that gained from a reputable institution. Fake degrees do not require a period of intense study. So what was his intention in this issue?

3. The significance of degrees

When people lie about their degrees, they belittle those who worked hard for theirs. A degree, among other things, shows that you have devoted three or four years of your life to a particular subject. It shows you had the discipline to complete your studies, get out of bed to attend lectures, complete assignments on time and fulfil both course requirements and practical work.

For many people, a degree is more than just a piece of paper. It is a life-changing experience, their ticket to lifting themselves and their families out of poverty. Their parents may have pawned their mother’s and grandmother’s jewellery to pay for their education, or their father may have remortgaged the house. I know of one family which lived on rice and gravy for three years.

 

For many people, a degree is more than just a piece of paper. It is a life-changing experience, their ticket to lifting themselves and their families out of poverty. Their parents may have pawned their mother’s and grandmother’s jewellery to pay for their education, or their father may have remortgaged the house. I know of one family which lived on rice and gravy for three years”.–Mariam Mokhtar

 

4. HIT: Honesty, integrity and truthfulness

If people lie about their degree, what else could they be hiding? Their degree is probably just a small thing in their life. When they enter public office, what sort of big issues would they be prepared to cover up?

It’s not so much the misrepresentation of the degree; it is rather the attempts to mask its quality, i.e. academic content and which university issued it which are unacceptable.

A person who wishes to serve the public and to be a public figure must be accountable and possess integrity. Those who lie have none.

They may claim that they are hardworking people even though they do not have proper qualifications, but would they have gotten their positions if they had not made such false representations? Other, more qualified and more capable, persons could have assumed their role instead. So those who misrepresent their degrees do the public a grave disservice.

In the end, it is the people’s loss as they do not have a person with integrity to lead them.

Think of Winston Churchill, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Richard Branson and Steve Jobs. They did not have degrees but they did not lie about having one, either. They led their nations and companies through their actions.

The problem in Malaysia is that we are seduced by power and position and, it appears, degrees from prestigious universities. Politicians know it, and that is how they pull the wool over our eyes.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

164 Shares
102

26

Malaysia: From Harapan ( Hope)-(No Harapan), If UMNO-Centric Politics Only


December 28, 2018

Malaysia: From Harapan ( Hope)- ( No Harapan), If UMNO-Centric Politics  Only

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/457796

Image result for  Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman

INTERVIEW by Geraldine Tong | Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the government needs to focus on the rakyat’s well-being so that Malaysia does not follow the US in swinging to the other side in the next election.

He said this in response to a question on whether Bersatu would consider opening full membership to non-bumiputera.

“The most important thing now is for us to fight for the future of Malaysia and on issues close to the rakyat’s heart such as the cost of living, housing and others and to give them confidence that… we will defend the constitution.

“We do not want to become like the US, where they elected Barack Obama as President and in the next election, the pendulum swung the other way and they got Donald Trump (as their president),” Syed Saddiq said in a press interview at the Youth and Sports Ministry in Putrajaya.

Now that Pakatan Harapan has become the government, it is time for them to think like a government, he added, though he stressed they must still work hard like an opposition.

They still need to go down to the ground, he said, such as visiting food stalls, having dialogue sessions and having townhall sessions like they used to when they were the opposition.

That is why, he said, Bersatu Youth holds programmes every day, as he believes this is the best way to become closer to the rakyat.

“We cannot, now that we are the government, just go to official events, cut ribbons and hold meetings in our own office and call it a day.

“We have to ensure that we are working like the opposition,” Syed Saddiq said.

Integrity and trustworthy

The Youth and Sports Minister stressed that the Harapan government is dedicated to defending and upholding the Federal Constitution.

At the same time, they want to ensure that their leadership has integrity and is trustworthy, he said.

“We need to ensure that our leadership, which always defends the constitution, will not misuse their position and power when given them.

“It is no use for us to shout about defending the Federal Constitution but our hand is behind our backs stealing money (or) shouting ‘long live the Malays’ but our right hand is stealing money from Felda or Tabung Haji.

“I think what the rakyat wants, what the Malays want, is a line-up of Malay leaders who are trustworthy and have integrity, who can move towards Malaysia’s future together,” he said.

Bersatu, he said, needs to live up to these expectations, especially in the wake of the rally to protest the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd).

Though Syed Saddiq dismissed the anti-Icerd rhetoric as a sign that the opposition has no other issues to bring up, he said it is still important for Bersatu to play its role in deflecting such negative perception.

“Bersatu needs to play the essential role in deflecting this negative perception and prove that the new Malaysian government will continue to uphold the Federal Constitution.

“(We need to focus on) core issues.

“Even there are pressures from UMNO and PAS to go to the extreme right, we should not go to the extreme right. We should not go to the extreme left. We must always be in the centre,” he said.

The three-day Bersatu general assembly will kick off tomorrow at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

 

 

 

A Momentous Merdeka Day in 2018


August 31, 2018

A Momentous Merdeka Day in 2018

by Steve Oh

Steve Oh’s Message to Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s 7th Prime Minister

Image result for Mahathir Mohamad and Shinzo Abe

“There is no independence in the true sense of the emancipation of a nation until the people are free to think, act and exist in a total state of freedom.

May God bless Malaysia still. May Mahathir live longer still and have the humility to walk with God and the people, act justly and have the wisdom of Solomon to govern the nation.

May the government carry out its duties with diligence, honesty, fairness and utter competence. Merdeka then is meaningful.”

COMMENT | Merdeka 2018 is momentous.

I hope for the sake of Malaysia, it will be the final time citizens celebrate their national day with the exhilaration of deliverance from an oppressive political yoke still fresh in their minds.

In 1957, the country was set free from British colonialists. There was a similar euphoria. But the fledgling nation, after deposing the affable first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, was recolonised by a new group of myopic local leaders led by Razak Hussein that included Mahathir Mohamad, Musa Hitam and other UMNO young Turks . The neocolonialists imposed upon the people a yoke heavier than the British yoke.

Fast forward to 2018, and the nation will reverberate once again with freedom and shouts of acclamation on August 31.

After May 13, 1969, she was hijacked and subjected to a lifetime of abuse. Race, closely accompanied by religion, constricted the nation. The nation still forged ahead economically but became tangled in draconian laws and discriminatory policies; was pitifully abused, serially raped and treacherously plundered. Polarisation of the people was purposely planned and executed.

It is treachery of the worst kind when a government led by Najib Razk betrays the trust of the people, divides and steals from them and tries to get away with deception, conspiracy and lies.

Preaching unity and the usual platitudes, it carried out an agenda of subversion, undermining the rule of law and brought the nation to the brink of economic and social disaster. The courts of power became the circuses of clowns, and like Nero the Roman emperor, fiddled away the nation’s future.

Many became cynical, others despondent, yet many never lost hope and worked for change. Still others prayed.

Then the “miracle” the people had worked and prayed for took place on May 9 this year. The nation was emancipated from the abusers, the rapists and the thieves. The treacherous king of kleptocrats now faces justice and the long arm of the law. Those who are culpable will be punished.

The blood spilled and lives taken of innocent victims will be vindicated. The masterminds of the much-publicised slayings of Altantuya Shaariibuu, Kevin Morais (photo) and Hussain Ahmad Najadi, among others, will face justice. The true kidnappers of Pastor Raymond Koh and others will be revealed.

Divine justice

Like many others in a religious Malaysia, I believe in God and the universal law of reaping what you sow. Nothing escapes the truth of time. In time, the truth will surface. And the guilty will be shamed. They will never evade divine justice.

God answers prayers still. For nearly 30 years, even in a faraway land, without fail when I water-hosed my potted plants, I asked God to destroy the evil that had gripped the nation. God answered. He has changed the course of history and saved Malaysia from certain ruin.

Many unsung heroes cried to God for deliverance and he heard their pleas. Often, over the years, I wrote in Malaysiakini of the “higher official who watches over the officials” and will intervene to achieve his purpose. I make no apology for my utter confidence in the God of Justice.

Image result for tun abdullah ahmad badawi

A Good and Decent Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi turned out to be considering the plunder of the Malaysian state under Najib Razak

Malaysia is a unique nation and deserves to succeed. Former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi hit the nail on the head when he lamented the nation’s “third-world mindset” despite its “first-class infrastructure”.

What will derail the nation is not the cessation of Chinese railway projects but the constricting ideas of the misguided. I’m glad there are “watchmen” – including women – over the country who sound the alarm against the extremists.

The danger of religion is that it can be abused to lead a nation down the slippery slope. To the credit of concerned Muslims like those in the G25 group, their voice of reason resounds through the corridors of power and the public arena.

When religion slices through the heart of a nation and splits it in two, when self-proclaimed defenders of faith become a threat to those they purport to protect, it is time for the state to act and rein in the bigots.

When my father died two years ago at 96, I did not shed a tear. Deep in my heart I know he lived a full life and, in faith, I shall see him again in the place I know. I miss him nearly every day.

Yet, three days ago, the tears welled in my eyes and I felt a tautness in my heart after watching a video I received through WhatsApp.

It was a social experiment organised by Media Prima that took place in the vicinity of Pavilion Shopping Centre in Kuala Lumpur. A giant elevated electronic screen positioned above the crowds came to life with the audible sounds of a talking man and stopped the passersby in their tracks. The presenter asked them some simple questions, one after another.

Image result for sayangi malaysiaku 2018 logo

 

“Who likes nasi lemak?” ‘Who has a close friend from another race?’ ‘Who knows how to sing the national anthem Negara-ku?’ They were asked to gather in a marked square if they answered in the affirmative. In the end, the square was filled with the biggest group of Malaysians of all races.

 

I saw in the video the heartfelt joy of diverse Malaysians – young men and women of different races and religions – unified in their love for their country. They were evidently overjoyed to share so many things in common despite their ethnic and religious differences. The only other time I saw a similar display of spontaneous kinship across race and religion was at the Bersih 5 rally.

Smouldering cinders

Successive governments, leaders, groups and individuals have harped about the uniqueness of Malaysia. Yet the nation still flounders and has yet to come to grips with the devil they know that threatens to derail the nation – the abuse of race and religion. Leaders have yet to act decisively and concretely against the perpetrators of the doctrines that divide, that destroys and that is against the spirit of national unity.

Malaysians know who the devil is that tears the nation apart. Their political sponsors have been sent packing from Putrajaya.

The fire has been put out. But the cinders are still smouldering, their smoke choking the nation and threatening to start bonfires here and there. The nation’s threat lingers and loiters at the corridors and closets of power.

The 1957 Merdeka freed the nation from a foreign yoke. The 2018 “Merdeka” freed the nation from the home-grown yoke.

Will a future “Merdeka” free the nation from the yoke of race and religion that constricts, divides and destroys the unity of the nation?

Believe it or not, the Pavilion event revealed the truth about Malaysia, that the diverse religions and races do co-exist in harmony despite the differences.

Rid the nation of the subversives – those who use race and religion as political weapons to gain the political ascendancy – and you end up with a Malaysia united, prosperous and peaceful.

It is time the new government be bold, be true and be honest in dealing the devil of disunity a fatal blow. Who will it be? Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Pakatan Harapan de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, or some eminent Malay leader?

The metamorphosis of Merdeka is a long journey. It is a historic event as much as an ongoing process. Getting out of jail is one thing, staying out of jail is another. Gaining independence is one thing, giving the people their independence is another.

There is no independence in the true sense of the emancipation of a nation until the people are free to think, act and exist in a total state of freedom.

May God bless Malaysia still. May Mahathir live longer still and have the humility to walk with God and the people, act justly and have the wisdom of Solomon to govern the nation.

May the government carry out its duties with diligence, honesty, fairness and utter competence. Merdeka then is meaningful.

Happy Merdeka 2018, Malaysia!


STEVE OH is the author of the novel “Tiger King of the Golden Jungle” and composer of the musical of the same title. He believes in good governance and morally upright leaders.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

GE-14: Joe Pandit votes for Change


April 6, 2018

GE-14: Joe Pandit votes for Change

https://aliran.com/thinking-allowed-online/general-election-2018-five-reasons-i-will-vote-change/

Joe Pundit explains why he has no other option but to give opposition parties a chance.

Image result for dr mahathir mohamad

 

Malaysians will go to the polls soon. The 2018 general election will be a significant one in the country’s history: for the first time the Opposition will be led by a former Prime Minister. Like many of my fellow Malaysians, I have pondered over whom to vote for.

I have decided that I will vote for change. I will be voting for the coalition led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the following reasons:

1. We need a fairer electoral system

That we need a change is an option-less choice for me. If Malaysia is to evolve into a mature democracy, we need to have a two-party system.

Our present electoral system has to be changed and we should adopt a more democratic system based on proportional representation. There is too much gerrymandering when parliamentary constituencies are created and boundaries redrawn.

Only under a proportional representation system will the majority voices of the people be heard. In the 2013 General Election, the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, won 51% of the popular vote but could not form the government under the present first-past-the-post system.

Like in respected democracies, many Malaysians would like to see the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee coming from the Opposition and not the ruling party.

2. We need to overcome critical problems confronting the people

Rising cost of living

The escalating cost of living has hit the working and middle classes in Malaysia. Like many Malaysians, I am totally against the goods and services tax (GST) as it is painful towards those less well off. Taxes should always be discriminatory and not non-discriminatory.

Lagging education system and unemployment

The education system needs to be further improved and it should be free of charge for all Malaysians till university. The command of written and spoken English is abysmal among the younger generation. The education system needs to be completely revamped.

The current government is not doing enough to tackle the problem of unemployment. Thousands of graduates are unemployed and many have to resort to driving Uber and Grab for a living.

Lack of affordable housing and security

Prices of houses and apartments in many parts of the country have soared beyond the reach of the middle class and the working class.

The crime rate is still high as seen by the increase in gated communities in the country.

Ethnic polarisation and religious bigotry

Image result for racial polarization and religious bigotry in Najib's Malaysia

Related image

Malaysians are also concerned about worsening ethnic polarisation and religious bigotry. The BN does not appear to be doing anything concrete to tackle this phenomenon, which is threatening the very fabric of our society.

Lack of consistent people-oriented measures

The government should assist the people on a daily basis – and not just occasionally through Brim. I believe genuine assistance will be provided to the people under an opposition-led government.

 

Many Malaysians are of the view that an opposition-led government will implement more people-oriented measures e.g a RM100 season ticket providing unlimited travel for commuters.

With an opposition-led government government, we have a chance of moving towards a more egalitarian society – and the more we move in this direction the better for the people.

3. We need to wipe out scandals, corruption and wastage

Image result for  Najib's Corrupt Malaysia

 

Many serious issues that have surfaced since the 2013 general election such as 1MDB, Felda Global Ventures and Mara’s purchase of property in Australia have raised critical questions that remain unanswered. No satisfactory explanation has been given by the government and no one at the top has been made accountable for these financial transgressions.

The level of corruption in the country is of deep concern to many Malaysians like me. Malaysia’s ranking fell sharply from 54th to 62nd position in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2017. Many feel that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is not doing enough to combat corruption: it has to be made totally independent, reporting directly to Parliament.

Many Malaysians believe we should have an independent civil service without political interference. There is so much of wastage of public funds: just look at the number of civil servants, officials and others accompanying the prime minister and cabinet ministers on each overseas trip.

All tenders for all public projects should be transparent, and the tender committees for all major projects should comprise top civil servants and MPs from both sides of the political divide.

4. We need fairer, more independent media

Image result for Free and Independent Media

The mainstream print and electronic media are unfair to the people. Hardly impartial, they serve as propaganda machinery for the ruling coalition. While we may or we may not agree with all of Mahathir and the Opposition’s policies and views, we would like them to be given space to express their views in the mainstream print and electronic media.

 

Malaysians must be given the chance to listen to live debates between the government and the opposition on television and radio ahead of the election. Only after listening to both sides will Malaysians be in a better positioned to make a choice.

By denying us the right to listen to both sides of the story, the government is telling us we unable to think rationally or vote wisely – which is an insult to the intelligence of Malaysians.

5. We need sweeping institutional reforms

The BN has failed to introduce sweeping much-needed reforms in the country.

Malaysians will expect an opposition-led government to implement reforms in all major institutions such as the Electoral Commission, the civil service, the judiciary, and the armed forces so that institutions will remain independent of the government of the day. These institutions should only report to the King and Parliament.

Given the wealth and natural resources in our country, Malaysians deserve a better deal.

If opposition parties are elected to power and they fail to improve the political and socio-economic environment in the country, then I would be inclined to vote for the BN in the election after next.

Joe Pundit is the pseudonym of a keen political observer based in Kuala Lumpur.