Malaysians are the real agents of change

(The Malaysian Insider) Malaysians should take a bow. If the administration of Datuk Seri Najib Razak is making some reform noises — merit-based national scholarships, talk of finally abandoning quotas — it is because of the political changes effected on March 8, 2008.

Do not for a minute think that the prime minister would even bother to tweak the system if the status quo had remained.

The likes of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein and Khairy Jamaluddin are not agents of change and never will be. It is Malaysians who are the agents of change.

And the message is that Umno and Barisan Nasional only becomes less arrogant when their political survival is being questioned.

Malaysians should not be so ready to throw their support behind BN yet. Remember the lessons gleaned from being under the administration of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Too much support too quickly leads to arrogance, inertia and apathy.

If any political party becomes too dominant anywhere in the world, chances are corruption, abuse of power and the tendency to take for granted the needs of the voters will set in.

Najib is expected to make some announcements this week on more liberalisations of the economy. And while these are probably steps in the right direction if Malaysia is to become more competitive, it is also coming about because the country has no choice.

Whether it is too little too late, remains to be seen. But really, Malaysia has little choice but to open up the economy, in the face of competition from around the region and pressure from trading partners.

The bloody nose inflicted on BN last year also left the ruling coalition with little choice but to respond to an unhappy electorate. That it took more than a year and a change of leadership to finally see some reform noises being made speaks volumes of the inertia that BN suffers from.

So far the signals also appear to be mixed.

Read more at: Malaysians are the real agents of change — The Malaysian Insider