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Unpopular government policies should be explained to the people

Photograph: Sumisha Naidu/CNA

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The reason why many are now dissatisfied with the PH government is that many are ill-informed about public policies and the reasons why these measures are being taken, says WH Cheng.

We have been hearing complaints from people that they are unable to agree with some of the new policies implemented by the new government recently.

These policies seem to be unpopular with the people since Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over the government from Barisan Nasional (BN) following the defeat of the latter in the 9 May 2018 general election.

Perhaps, today people have forgotten the ruin and chaos left behind by the defeated BN and the extensive mess, massive corruption, mismanagement and abuse of power during the BN’s reign. All these negative elements were left behind in Putrajaya and its ministries, departments, agencies and government-linked companies. Who is picking up the mess now? Does anyone realise this?

Yes, many do not seem to realise that we are now seeing the effects of the causes responsible for this mess. You just cannot simply blame the new government for all the misfortune and the unpopular measures being introduced.

Many of us voted for a drastic change in the general election as all we wanted was to ensure BN was brought down from power and avoid more damage that could undermine our nation later.

At least our objective to save the nation was realised. But the nation was damaged by BN before the general election. After PH took over, the new government has had to carry out extensive “repair work” – or some would say an “overhaul” – to put our nation’s finances in order again. Trillions of ringgit were lost under BN reign, and now the new government is suffering from heavy debt.

As such, the new government has had to introduce drastic measures and many unpopular policies to to relieve the negative situation. It has to reduce the debt as much as possible to revive the devalued ringgit.

But these measures need time to take effect, and much convincing has to be done to restore investors’ confidence in to our nation. If you are repairing some defects to our nation, some short-term side-effects will probably pop up. Many people will feel the pain.

Learn from the Taiwanese lesson

Taiwan last year concluded its municipal elections, which witnessed a drastic drop in support for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of President Tsai Ing Wen.

One of the major reasons that caused the DPP’s defeat to its rival Kuomintang (KMT) was that people in that republic were ill-informed about the DPP government’s public policies, reforms and measures taken. This gave gave the KMT an opportunity to rapidly stir up the population’s anger over DPP policies.

In the Malaysian case, the more unpopular the PH government policies or measures become, the more PH needs to ensure that people are well-informed through meet-the-people forums and explanations on why certain measures had to be taken and why people need to come together to embrace the situation with one heart.

The reason why many are now dissatisfied with the PH government is that many of them are ill-informed about public policies, the reasons why these measures are being taken and the fact that PH did not create all these problems in the first place.

Are PH leaders aware that the BN machinery is now taking advantage of many ill-informed people by attacking the new government for not being fair to the people? The new government is still weak in its information dissemination especially to rural and semi-rural areas, where BN and Pas still have a hold on the people.

PH leaders and members of the new government need to be aware that many diehard civil service BN supporters within the establishment may be sabotaging many new PH public policies and their implementation. Worse, they could be spying and releasing confidential information to BN leaders on what the new government’s plans and orders are.

If the new PH government does not gear up its information machinery and curb sabotage from within, it would only be a matter of time PH loses another by-election. It might even lose the next general election if it does not see these threats as posing serious damage to the efforts of the present administration.

You have been forewarned. Wake up, PH, wake up!

Source: g-socialaffairs.blogspot.com

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
12 Feb 2019 11.55pm

Focus on the “low hanging fruit” first e.g. quickly introduce left-populist programmes that are relatively cheap. Politics is all about perception, not “intellectualising” to ordinary people. Learning from history, fascist populist policies gained them a lot of political support. An example would be state-run holiday/leisure programmes “Strength Through Joy” and facilities for working class Germans under the Hitler regime.

Want to win political support quickly ? Get MO1 convicted and put him in prison as soon as possible. Don’t waste your breath intellectualising about the “right to a fair trial”, “innocent until proven guilty”. Remove biased MO1 regime-appointed judges from handling the case ASAP

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