The long road of reforms

(The Malaysian Insider) Life would be easy if every wish is a command that is done instantaneously. But it isn’t and sceptics remain at large as to Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s announcement that several laws are to be revised or repealed.

After all, some of Najib’s boys had blamed hardliners like Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim and to a lesser extent Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for giving the PM wrong advice on how to handle Bersih.

In fact, even during a recent Cabinet retreat Hishammuddin lauded the government’s handling of Bersih. And other ministers joined in to praise the police for a good job done.

So will these “hardline” elements now truly support Najib or will they place enough obstacles to ensure the reforms (euphemistically called the Political Transformation Programme) are diluted when finally set in stone?

Because there is a world of difference between policy statements or announcements and the final product, especially in Malaysia.

Just look at what Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi promised during his time in power, for example, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). Without a doubt, the predecessor Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) was far less controversial than more powerful MACC.

Two people have died now during investigations into corruption in the government. Some cases have gone to court only to be overturned. Yes, it’s more effective but also deadly. And the corruption perception index continues to show Malaysia as more corrupt.

Similarly, Abdullah’s promise to overhaul the police faced resistance from the police and more far-reaching proposals by the police royal panel were not implemented. Recommendations to relax regulations on freedom of assembly remain in dusty files that are trotted out when more announcements are made.