New open letter to the Prime Minister
LETTER | Dear Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob,
Last year, I wrote an open letter to you, imploring you to focus your attention on a few major issues that concern many Malaysians.
Today is the 65th anniversary of our country’s independence. Soon we will go to the polls, to choose a new government and a new prime minister.
Today, on behalf of all Malaysians, I’m going to summarize what we wanted you to do, assess your performance against the KPIs (key performance indicators) we set for you.
We have counted your notes so that the people of Malaysia can decide whether we should vote for you and your party, or whether we should vote for a set of people more capable of getting Malaysia out of trouble 61 years of Umno and BN have given us mired in.
In my previous open letter, I implored you to do the following. Next to each task, I have rated your performance on a scale of 1 to 10 points. The pass mark is 75%. Anything less is an F for failed.
After the scores, I added some comments.
Score? 6 out of 10.
Comment – You have done well here. You did not intervene in the legal process. You let justice do its job in the trial of the greatest kleptocrat the world has ever seen.
The thief is now in jail in his place. We hope you will continue to stay out of the justice system. To get maximum points, order law enforcement to do everything possible to charge all corrupt officials. And while you’re at it, stop the givers too, because bribery is a two-way street. We will give you extra points if you fire that sectarian PAS minister who said corruption is caused by non-bumiputeras.
Reset the civil service and align its composition with the racial composition in Malaysia. Reduce the size of the public service. The national pension bill is going to get bigger and bigger. The government should start converting pensions into some form of self-contributory pension scheme, such as the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for private sector employees.
Score? 0 out of 10.
Comment – You haven’t done anything here. Instead, we now know how the jailed former Prime Minister was paying a former Chief Government Secretary, our top civil servant, RM20,000 a month to do nothing while appointed to the board of a linked company to the government.
And there are reports that another former chief government secretary was paid RM200,000 a month for possibly turning a blind eye to irregularities.
The government should just govern. Leave matters to businessmen and professionals. Also, corporations are used by the government to immorally reward/induce/bribe retired civil servants and deceased politicians to toe the Prime Minister’s line. It’s so wrong. Worse still, they are used by corrupt politicians to divert public funds for the benefit of politicians and their cronies.
Score? 0 out of 10.
Comment – You did nothing in this problem. 60 years of New Economic Policy (NEP) is enough. I believe that many Malaysians are now fully capable of succeeding and getting rich without as much direct help from the government.
The NEP has been exploited by politicians and the crony class to create a hateful system of rent seekers. The NEP should be replaced by an NBDP (Needs Based Development Policy), where every Malaysian who needs help, regardless of race, religion or political leanings, should receive assistance.
Provide scholarships and financial assistance to anyone who needs help that is not based on race. Those who are not very good academically can upgrade themselves in the trades, manufacturing and service sectors.
Score? 1 out of 10.
Comment – You did nothing in this problem.
Reintroduce bilingualism into our national school system. In fact, trilingualism is even better. Bahasa Malaysia is the national language and it should remain. However, make English a mandatory language for all Malaysians to master. English is one of the international languages that Malaysians need to interact fluently with the rest of the world.
Score? Minus 5 out of 10.
Comment – You failed here. You not only refused to recognize the benefits of being trilingual, you even decreed that all government business and communications in international arenas be conducted solely in Bahasa Malaysia.
I am sorry to say that this is extremely irresponsible. I suspect you were probably trying to impress the naive-hearted Malay masses, fishing for their votes. I think it is wrong to subjugate long-term national interests solely to selfish political ends.
Being fluent in English will allow Malaysians direct and immediate access to cutting-edge science, technology and human progress, without waiting for translations to be made. Moreover, China will soon overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy. Malaysians who can read, write and communicate in Mandarin will be a great asset to Malaysia.
Most Chinese are already trilingual. If you want the Malays to be on par with the Malaysian Chinese in the new world economic order, make the Malays fluent in Mandarin and English as well.
Go back a little on the excessive importance given to religion in schools. Focus more on morality, civic awareness, and core values held by all religions. Teach our children to love each other, regardless of their races, religions or mother tongues. Prioritize science and math over religion.
Score? 0 out of 10.
Commentary – Subdue PAS fanatics and religious police. Their silence on the issue of corruption is deafening. Alarmingly, they even seem to tolerate corruption.
Please abolish the pension plan, annual vacation packages and excessive allowances and benefits for MPs, Assembly members, ministers, deputy ministers and profiteers with ministerial ranks.
Public service is not a career and people become politicians to do public service, not as a job. There should be a time limit and an age limit for politicians.
No politician should be allowed to serve more than two parliamentary terms. And a maximum retirement age of 60 should be set for politicians, because past 60 incumbents may not have the health, energy and passion to serve as elected officials.
Score? 7 out of 10.
Comment – I understand there are moves to limit the Prime Minister’s term to two terms, so you get two points here and a five point bonus because you manage to pass the law to lower the voting age at 18 years old. So you score seven points here. Well done.
Score? 0 out of 10.
Comment – I believe several hundred new “Datuks” and titled people have been created since I wrote to you. So you failed here.
I am happy to note that Negeri Sembilan has withdrawn the titles awarded to the imprisoned ex-Prime Minister. You should introduce a law to automatically revoke all titles that have been awarded to convicted persons, regardless of the crime they have committed.
This is to stop discrediting people who truly deserve the state titles they have earned.
Here are your notes, Prime Minister. Overall, your average score is nine out of 80, which means only 11%, or a solid D.
I’m afraid you failed the assessment, Prime Minister.
Resist the “Courts Group”
I cannot urge Malaysians to vote for you in future polls. I personally think you made a small difference in your short time as Prime Minister.
The imprisonment of this rogue PM under your watch, or at least the fact that you did not interfere with the judicial process, will be something Malaysians will remember you well.
The adoption of the law allowing young people aged 18 to vote is another positive point. And I believe that if you can pass the law to limit the term of a Prime Minister to a maximum of two terms, it will certainly endear you somewhat to the intelligentsia.
But the reality is that you are an Umno prime minister and most Malaysian liberals, especially young people, are unlikely to vote for you.
My humble suggestion to you is this: ignore the pressure from the “courts group” to call a snap election. The arrogance and insolence of Umno members in Najib’s question is chilling.
Stay strong by continuing to let the judiciary do the right thing when it comes to the “cluster of courts”. Remain Prime Minister until the end of this parliamentary mandate. Negotiate with Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional to gain their support to retain you as prime minister.
In the next 10 months, try to undo as much mess as 60 years of Umno and BN rule that has weighed on our country. Cancel unjust gerrymandering, recall racism and for God’s sake don’t make Malaysia an international laughing stock by forgiving this criminal.
Who knows, you could become the best prime minister we’ve ever had.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.