Monday, February 23, 2009

Pak Lah - A Failed Legacy of Malaysia

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister (Perdana Menteri) of Malaysia, known for falling asleep during meetings and conferences.

Under this prime minister, gas price at the pump for unleaded RON97 was increased from RM1.92 to RM2.70, a whopping 78cents increase in one go, while the country itself is a net exporter for petrolium. And there onwards, everything in our daily lives increased with no ability to bring them back down later to relief the suffering on citizens.

Under this prime minister, Malaysia continue to worsen in terms of corruption in every possible areas link to government or semi-government. Acts of corruption and cronism floated to the surface without the need to take cover.

Under this prime minister, dissenting voices appeared to be tolerated, but probably due to his inability in effort of clamping down.

Under this prime minister, divide-and-rule based on race continues in its bid to favour the Malay supremist political party - UMNO.

Under this prime minister, judiciary and anti-corruption agencies were renamed and restructured but remained impartial and political apparatus for UMNO/BN against oppositions, with heads of the agencies came from or supporting UMNO.

Under this prime minister, commitments to election manifesto were all forgotten and trashed down the drain.

Under this prime minister, the legacy of a premiership and leadership FAILED.

The following news article is taken from Malaysian Insider.

I was planning to stay two terms, admits Pak Lah
By Lee Wei Lian

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 – At a dinner soiree in honour of his time as prime minister last night, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wistfully admitted that he was planning to stay for two terms until it was cut short by the transition plan.
He said that his second term was when he had planned to introduce his reforms.
The prime minister told the members of the Kuala Lumpur Business Club that he was proud of the two commissions he managed to persuade parliament to pass – the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) and the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC).

“That, to me, is satisfying,” he said in response to a question from a dinner guest on what was his proudest achievement as prime minister and Umno president.

“It was what was promised but a bit late. It may not be the best but it is a beginning – a good beginning. In the coming years, there will be amendments made.”

He said that he had been discouraged as many doubted he could pass the laws without a two-thirds majority in parliament or working with the opposition.
“I said ‘never mind, just try it’,” he said, adding that he made the decision not to try to amend the constitution rather than work with the opposition.

When asked on his advice for Muslims leaders trying to deal with a world that has become increasingly suspicious of Islam, Pak Lah replied that the solution lies with the Muslims themselves.

“The real threat to the Muslim community is not from the non-Muslims,” he replied.

“The real threat is that the big percentage of Muslim countries suffer from poverty, illiteracy and are lacking in progress.”

Asked what his advice was for Malaysians facing adversity, he replied that Malaysians should work hard and have faith in their ability to survive.
“I myself was thrown out of the cabinet for three years and nine months,” he recalled.

“I called it my sabbatical. And I still made it to the top. We have survived so many crises because we have faith in our abilities and ourselves.”

When asked for his comments on his role as the person who expanded the space for expression in the country, he said that he wished for more responsible exercise of expression.

“I know I have a high level of tolerance. But I wish that, if I give you more freedom, please remind yourselves you have to be more responsible. There is no such thing as absolute freedom. We have to think what is good for the public.”
When asked what he plans to do next, Pak Lah replied: “Gardening, planting fruit trees and melons. A kampung boy returning to his old ways.”

When the moderator – noted regional news presenter Lorraine Hahn – pressed him on what he will miss the most about being prime minister, he said he would not know “until I am out of office.”

Pak Lah’s term as prime minister is expected to end by the end of March or early April, soon after he hands over the reins of the Umno presidency to his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

By convention within the BN coalition, the Umno president also assumes the mantle of prime minister.

The nation’s fifth prime minister was pressured into stepping down prematurely after the worst ever showing by the BN coalition in the general elections in March last year.

His time in office began on an optimistic note when he promised to tackle corruption and be the prime minister for all Malaysians, regardless of race.
In the intervening years, however, he failed to make good on his promises and also suffered relentless attacks from his predecessor, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and this resulted in the opposition making unprecedented gains in the 2008 general elections, winning five states and denying BN a two-thirds majority in parliament.

His two proudest achievements – the JAC and MACC – have also come under heavy criticism for not being fully independent of the executive branch and not being answerable to parliament, rendering them flawed from inception.
There are some quarters within Umno who are believed to be urging Pak Lah not to step down as prime minister as it is not a written requirement that the Umno president has to be prime minister.

The Pakatan Rakyat is also said to prefer Pak Lah over Najib who is seen to as a throwback to the more authoritarian Mahathir era.

But Pak Lah is not giving them much hope.

“Who is interested to listen to a prime minister about to leave the stage?” he quipped at the beginning of the evening.

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