Ten KPIs for Najib

By Wong Chin Huat (The Nut Graph)

THIS Saturday, 11 July 2009, will mark Datuk Seri Najib Razak's 100 days as prime minister. Be prepared for the swamp of praises for Malaysia's sixth prime minister and for his 1Malaysia vision.

Three months ago, upon his succession, even his pinkish skin complexion was a subject of compliment in a Sin Chew commentary. Today, one could add a list of achievements that are more than skin deep: bold economic liberalisation, the cabinet's position on unilateral conversion of minors, and his recognition of mother tongue education.

To win back the non-Malay Malaysian vote at all cost, Najib seems willing to dismantle the ethnocracy his late father built with the New Economic Policy (NEP) and other pro-Malay policies after the 1969 post-election riots.

Some foreign observers have expressed their astonishment at Najib's boldness in ethnic relations. But they perhaps ignore the fact that Umno's economic ethno-nationalism is untenable because of the external force of globalisation and the internal force of post-8 March democratisation.

The crude choice before Najib is abandoning Umno's economic ethno-nationalism in the hope of saving the party, or risk having both Umno and its ethno-nationalism swept away by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Pakatan Rakyat come the next elections.

"Where is democracy?"

The real test for Najib's reformist substance is therefore political democratisation, not economic or sociocultural liberalisation.

Why? Umno's electoral one-party state is what upholds Umno's ethnocracy. In a multiparty democracy, communalism, corruption and mismanagement cannot be so easily shielded from public scrutiny.

Hence, it shouldn't be surprising that what is conspicuously missing from Najib's list of reforms is politics and governance. Netizens have already succinctly framed this lacking ingredient in Najib's reforms in the 7-11 question addressed to Najib: "Where is democracy?"

Read more at: http://www.thenutgraph.com/ten-kpis-for-najib