If I was the Prime Minister of Malaysia

Suppiramaniyam K.

One of the most powerful positions in a country which uses the Westminster Model Parliament is the conventional creature referred to as the Prime Minister. A first among equals is the saying. So centered is the power onto the office of the Prime Minister that the British model created so many conventions of practice to curtail, limit or balance the powers enjoyed by that office.

A classic example is the Prime Minister’s office during the tenure of Mrs Margaret Thatcher. So much so that she was branded as the “Iron Lady”. A brand unsurpassed to date.

Equally, back home we can regard the tenure of Tun Datuk Dr Mahathir Mohamed as a prime example of Prime Ministerial government vis-a-vis Cabinet government. The difference between Prime Ministerial and Cabinet government is obvious when we compare TDM’s tenure and Tun Hussain Onn’s tenure. It should also be noted that too much power onto the hands of one person would obviously lead to tyranny. Equally, if the power is not used or not used in a proper manner the country will be without proper direction and perhaps one can say the government has “lost the plot”.

Today, we have Datuk Najib Tun Razak as our Prime Minister. The latest news from a so-called Oracle is that Najib has lost the plot. This confirms my belief that either he does not understand the ambit of the Prime Minister’s power or he is bogged down by too many limitations created by BN, himself, ultra-powers in UMNO and more so by the man who can walk on water.

On afterthought, the latter is a more likely reason. To brand his government as a cabinet government does not make sense either. More so, he “seems” isolated and “seems” to be on his own. More like an island guarded by sharks.

If I was the Prime Minister today, the first thing I would have done is to create my own cabinet ministers and not carry the ministers of the past government to rule Malaysia. This I believe the PM failed to do or failed to do so in a proper manner. The PM should have shuffled the ministers in the cabinet, change some of the ministers or remove at least 50-60% of them.

The theme of the plot is, the ministers should be the Prime Minister’s cabinet. Not Pak Lah’s or TDM’s. What Datuk Najib inherited was not even Pak Lah’s cabinet but TDM’s. In one word I would say that I would have formed “my own government” not inherit others. I would ensure that the ministers were beholden to me and not the former Prime Minister.

I know that the power to appoint or sack a minister is my most powerful weapon to control “my ministers”. With this great power, I would have total control of the government and would be able to ensure all my policies go through as I want it to be. Today, we can’t see that control, we can’t see a coherence in policies and we can’t see the Prime Minister governing the country. We see an automatic government with knee-jerk problem-solving and trouble-shooting which is coupled with slapstick comedy of retractment of policies. Oh I wish I was the Prime Minister today.

If I was the Prime Minister today, I would call for election at the end of the year. I know that the tenure does end in March 2013 but I would put my foot down and say to myself, so be it if this is my last day, week, month or year as the Prime Minister of Malaysia. I will do everything I want to do today till the last day of the tenure which the rakyaat gave me. To do that I will shuffle the ministers, replace some with young ministers in place of the “wayward” ones. Take full control of the cabinet, ministers and government and move towards making this country for the rakyat, to the rakyat, by the rakyat. And on the day I declare the dissolution of Parliament, I can bare my chest and say I did everything possible which I wanted to do for this country, for the rakyat, and I am proud of what I have done.

I will walk to the ballot box hoping to win again but I will be able to put my head high up as no one can take away that proud moment from me. Oh yes, only if I was the Prime Minister today.

If I was the Prime Minister today, I would stop all race-based economic policies, political policies and repeal all laws based on race or religion. Why? What I have noticed is that Malaysia is peculiar. It has a number of races as citizens. Whether we like it or not some of us are stronger in certain aspects whereas others are stronger in some aspects which we are weaker. Secondly, the three future forces on earth is probably China (pop:1.4 billion) and India ( Pop”1.2 billion) and in terms of population, Indonesia (pop:0.7 billion). The total is nearly half the population of the world. And Malaysians have links with all three of these countries in so many aspects.

I would discover ways and means to create links for the rakyat with these countries, “to go out there and beyond” and exercise capabilities rather than fighting among ourselves for anything the government can dish out. I have seen in so many occasions companies doing so well when the workers are united without any form of segregation or preferential treatment. When the workers work in a friendly competition to ensure the company really makes profits, they are paid well and there is more satisfaction than ill-will. Yes united we stand, otherwise we fall.

We are depending on “artificial economy” and “petroleum-economy”, and we must strive to produce the greatest asset Malaysia has, its people. I would ensure that this asset is strengthened individual to individual, developed ground to the tip of the twin towers, fed with the finest education unsurpassed by none and most of all without hesitating for a moment if the ones I have educated belong to a race I don’t belong to as long as they are Malaysians. Yes I wish I was the Prime Minister.

In short, if I was the Prime Minister today, I would reshuffle the cabinet, remove some of the ministers, carry out policies which the rakyat wants and not the policies the party wants (I will name it as “policy rakyat”), take control of the government, set aside the man who walks on water so that he does not disturb me or the rakyat, fast pace the rakyat policies to be carried out as if I will not be the Prime Minister next term. Alas, I am not the Prime Minister of Malaysia nor a first among equals nor will I be one.

My two cents’ worth.