Learn from failed reform movements worldwide, Saifuddin tells PKR

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail attributes such failures to leaders who had forgotten their initial struggle.

(FMT) – PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail reminded party members to learn from the examples of various failed reform movements in other nations, whose leaders ignored their original struggles after becoming part of the government.

He said these leaders forgot the aspirations they had in the opposition and instead accumulated wealth for personal gain.

“As the opposition they suffered, but then forgot the basic principles of their struggle when they became part of the government and enjoyed its perks.

“They accumulated wealth, which did not bring success to their struggle for reform,” Saifuddin said during PKR’s 25th anniversary special convention.

He said that these failed reform movements also felt the pressure of managing the people’s expectations for promised reforms.

Saifuddin, who is also home minister, said the success of PKR’s reform agenda is measured by its ability to deliver its promises through government policies that benefit the people.

He said that PKR as the main ruling party needs to do the right thing, even if it must make unpopular moves at times.

“The success of our reform agenda will be measured by how successfully we translate policies the people can benefit from and not how many ministers or MPs we have.

“The country’s finances must be managed wisely. We may do something ‘bitter’ in the short term, but we know we are doing the right thing. That’s why we started talking about targeted subsidies, for example,” he said.

Saifuddin also attributed the failure of reform movements to their leaders’ incompetency in delivering promised reforms when in the government.

Yesterday, the unity government led by prime minister and PKR president Anwar Ibrahim was warned that failing to deliver on its promised reforms will drive away fence-sitters in the 16th general election.

Projek Sama spokesman Thomas Fann said the people have started to become disheartened over the lack of substantial legislative reforms, more than a year since the unity government took over Putrajaya.

He said frustration, especially among PH supporters, would possibly cause them to sit out GE16, or even back extremist leaders offering populist promises.

In February, Bersih held a gathering outside Parliament attended by 100 participants to demand that the government implement political reforms.

The reforms include passing into law a Political Finance Act, separating the office of public prosecutor from that of the attorney-general, and limiting the prime minister’s term of office.

In response, Anwar said the government was acting on some of Bersih’s proposals and considering the others after a meeting between the two.

Anwar said his administration was open to recommendations from the electoral watchdog, especially those that could improve the electoral process.