Monday, February 2, 2015

Paying the price of our incompetent leadership

Khoo Ying Hooi

Ying Hooi is attached with a local university. Her research interests cover the fields of civil society, social movements, protests, political participation, human rights and democratization.
Public criticism is not uncommon for our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. The prime minister makes himself and the country “well-known” in the eyes of the foreign media on a “regular” basis. However, most of the time, it’s for the wrong reasons – most recently in an article entitled “Knives Out” by The Economist.

I quote: “Hardly anyone thinks Mr Najib still has the power or the will to push through the big-ticket reforms he once considered, such as a plan to tone down positive discrimination laws, which throttle growth by favouring the Malay majority at the expense of ethnic Chinese and Indians.”

By embracing reform as a political idea, the prime minister took a good step. Unfortunately, until this point, the idea remains an idea.

Recently, I met two staff members in charge of political affairs from one of the foreign embassies in KL. They asked, do you think the prime minister’s credibility is affected due to the constant negative coverage by the foreign media?

Well, I would think so but does he seem to care?

The prime minister has been under increasing pressure not only from voters and the opposition, but also from within Barisan Nasional itself, including figures such as the former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir.

Since the 2013 general election that witnessed his ruling coalition, BN, lose the popular vote, garnering only 47.38% compared to the 50.87% gained by the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat (PR), BN has suffered persistent criticism.

Najib’s silence on key issues is among the core reasons the prime minister is perceived as weak and incompetent. Moreover, his lack of firm standing in addressing religious, racial and economic issues has shaken voters’ confidence.

To make it worse, instead of standing together when it comes to thorny issues, the ministers seem to be diverging into several segments. Everyone seems to have his or her opinion and very often, contradicting views arise.

Having said that, some might argue that it is not about Najib alone, but rather Umno. Everyone knows that Umno needs reform, but the bone of contention is that there is no one qualified to drive us in right direction.

The disorientated government response in managing the flight MH370 incident reveals how bad the current system is. Various issues in these past few years, from opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case to Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu’s murder, Malaysia has been under unusual international spotlight.

The glaring incompetencies of Najib’s leadership have now been lay bare.

Is Najib the weakest prime minister ever? We Malaysians definitely know better. – February 2, 2015.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

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