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Spring cleaning season in Malaysia must expand

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It takes an entire nation in all spheres to propel our spring-cleaning efforts to make Malaysia great again, writes JD Lovernciear.

Since the hard-earned victory in the 2018 general election, many Malaysians are feeling a greater sense of belonging as they step forward to voluntarily monitor the progressive steps that need to be taken to clean and rebuild a weary nation that had suffered six decades under the abusive reign of the Barisan Nasional cartel.

These days, every citizen appears empowered as they talk of how the new PH government is operating. Whether at warongs, coffee corridors, in the premises of places of worship, in between corporate meetings or at formal associations, people are engaging with one another and exchanging views.

Meanwhile, organisations committed to social justice and fair governance that play the role of watchdogs are also busy monitoring, talking stock and presenting their views with greater frequency.

“We are watching you” is the refrain that reaches the ears of politicians.

Even various media are acting as barometers as they boldly report and comment on developments throughout the day.

It certainly augurs well for a nation that was not so long ago and for decades told to swallow all that was dished out by the powers that be.

The climate is certainly far removed from the past, when laws and institutions were used to chastise anyone who stepped out of the line drawn by political leaders. What is most obvious is that citizens are in a hurry to ensure the spring cleaning gains momentum. While the new government under Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s leadership is the subject of focus, we need to also tackle another aspect of nation-rebuilding.

It is about time that trade associations took on the role of monitoring the members they represent to make sure that businesses are playing their role in ensuring that cleaner, ethical business practices are pursued at speed. From fair price to service quality to hygiene, businesses must take on the responsibility of contributing to national spring-cleaning efforts.

Professional bodies must come out into the open to monitor, evaluate and play the role of watchdog of over the respective professionals they represent. Ensuring that high standards and ethical conduct are observed in providing professional services is an integral part of this national spring cleaning effort.

The season to hide wrongdoings within the four walls of such bodies is over.

So too institutions of higher learning cannot take cover under the education minister as if any fault is the minister’s own doing. It is time that the teaching faculties and leaders within universities took on the role of closely evaluating their respective institution’s contribution towards creating and developing younger Malaysians are an investment towards a better Malaysia. These efforts call for initiative, leadership and a willingness to go the distance to make our universities shine as quality benchmarks of successful spring cleaning

Likewise, citizens, irrespective of their status and roles, must become role models in the effort to make the nation sparkle.

Whether it is littering, waste management, courteous driving, care for the environment, respect for others in every sphere, Malaysians must evaluate their progress as individuals, within families and within their local communities.

Political spring cleaning alone cannot drive the nation forward. It takes an entire nation in all spheres to propel these spring-cleaning efforts to make Malaysia great again. And when we fail, slip or remain stagnant, we must ensure that we are held accountable, be receptive to correction, and try again.

Anything less, and we become the sick man of South East Asia instead of being the Rising Tiger.

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