Santiago: Merdeka mood sours as people are disappointed in Pakatan
(The Star) – The mood leading up to Merdeka Day has turned sombre for Klang MP Charles Santiago, who says the people are disappointed in the current administration.
He criticised the Pakatan leaders, especially Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, saying people were afraid that he was “back to his old tricks”.
“Today, we are not the champions of the people.
“In fact, people are livid and feel betrayed.
“And if another general election is called now, chances are we will lose Putrajaya, ” Santiago said in a Facebook post on Friday (Aug 31).
He said he had held out a “tiny flash of hope” for positive reforms, but this was “dashed” when Dr Mahathir said there was no vacancy for PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the new Cabinet.
“The premier’s words only go to show that we are more focused on holding on to power rather than nation-building.
“I am privy to the whispers on the ground. People are now willing to give Anwar a chance, fearing Mahathir is back to his old tricks.
“In short, the whispers that are growing louder by the day say that Pakatan Harapan is doing everything except governing the country, in line with the aspirations of the people and its manifesto, ” he said.
Santiago had previously spoke out against Dr Mahathir early in August, expressing concerns that too much power was concentrated in the Premier’s hands.
He added that when Pakatan Harapan won the election last year, he envisioned a government that would put the people’s interests and needs first.
“After all, many of the former Opposition leaders, who currently make up the Cabinet membership and were elected to Parliament, risked everything to speak truth to power.
“I remember May 9,2018, as if it happened yesterday.
“I can still feel the euphoria of the people, who had peacefully overthrown a dictatorship government.
“And more importantly, I can still hear the pulse of the people who believed in Pakatan Harapan, who believed we would bring about the promised reforms, ” he said.
Santiago, who is also National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chairman, said this vision did not materialise.
“Unfortunately, just a little over a year of electing us, the rakyat feel they have swapped a corrupt regime with an authoritarian government.
“Dr Mahathir is adamant about a national car, while Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof is focused on a flying car project.
“A total of RM980 (income a month), according to the government, doesn’t reflect poverty, although this means a family of four will (only) have eight ringgit to spend a day.
“And we wonder why the people, who voted us into power, wouldn’t feel cheated, ” he said.
Santiago, however, urged the rakyat not to despair or “give up on a young government”.
“It’s time to help shape the new government in the interests of the people. We have a collective responsibility in helping the Pakatan government wake up.
“Let’s stand up and be counted. This Merdeka, let’s stand up for Malaysia and raise voices against bad governance and poorly thought out policies, ” he said.
He said Malaysians were free to make choices that would benefit themselves and the country, even if it meant giving Pakatan Harapan “the red card” in the next election.