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PH government must live up to people’s aspiration for change

Photograph: Sumisha Naidu/CNA

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For a start, check the food prices to understand the public discontent instead of being disconnected from the reality on the ground, writes Dominic Damian.

Some of the opposition parties in the country have sullied leaders whose reputations have been shredded.

Yet, these opposition parties, previously believed to be dead and buried, are wriggling their feet and getting a response. Within their ranks are those implicated in a global scandal who are laughed at and shunned on the international stage.

As for the government, despite the experience of governing two of the most developed states since 2008, it seems to have no obvious advantage. How could the opposition pull off two successive by-election wins?

The government is wringing its hands and wiping the sweat off its palms. It could strategise and deal with taking over the reins of power but it is unable to contend with the crushing stupidity it is confronted with, unable to destroy it.

The opposition has been resuscitated by the glaring inability of the government to handle the challenges thrown at it.

When a new government violates an election pledge, there will be inevitable consequences. It would then be hard to twist and turn to convince citizens. Rightly or wrongly, the sentiment would be that when a group assumes power, it cannot keep its word.

Some might thin there will always be those who vote for the opposition irrespective of questions of morality. That would an illusion, a dangerous excuse that could lead to the government’s downfall. It would paper over the government’s frailties and weakness and insult a weary electorate.

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For a start, check the food prices to understand the public discontent instead of being disconnected from the reality on the ground. Don’t give excuses; if the citizens have genuine grievances, solve them.

Don’t hide behind existing laws and state you are powerless. There may be such legal stumbling blocks but there are provisions and discretionary powers to negotiate past any issue or concern.

You can have the most intelligent and qualified people in government. But if you are unable to effectively and efficiently dismantle the old ways of patronage – you are of no use.

Clutching to the old system in responding to the people is unacceptable. You can come up with intelligent excuses – but they don’t cut it. To evolve into a Barisan Nasional 2.0 would be repugnant: a clone of the old system would be rejected and ejected as well.

Citizens are not in a comfortable position where they have the security and time to indulge in choices. In despair, they find the bread basket is depleting, the pitcher of water almost empty.

The runaround of excuses has not yet been eliminated; it fact it has worsened. The exasperation will manifest itself if what is seen as a good government of hope cannot negotiate simple issues decisively.

Race and religious issues are skilfully manipulated and yet little seems to be done. The crooks are roaming, smirking and sneering, leading a charge. Citizens are naturally inclined to believe that either you are powerless or the crooks are innocent.

The concept of ‘fixed deposits’ in elections is coming to an end. The days of stroll-in-the-park elections are over.

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Meanwhile, racial and religious polarisation is evident. It looks like we are running recklessly in a painful marathon, with no rules. The path is littered with the broken glass of race and religion, and we are barefoot with little or no protection.

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