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  • Writer's pictureKerk Chee Yee

Melaka Perikatan Nasional state government - a regime that has failed in legitimating itself

During the Melaka state assembly held in July, the word ‘pengkhianatan’ had caused commotion in the hall [Refer Link 1]. Former Pakatan Harapan—now Perikatan Nasional—EXCO protested the use of the word by Pakatan Harapan reps, claiming that it is hurtful ("menyakitkan hati", as per Section 20 (m) (iii) of Standing Orders of the State Legislative Assembly), and that it was an inaccurate accusation, because what they had done was not a betrayal, but supposedly ‘saving the country’.

Whether or not the word ‘pengkhianatan’ was an accurate description for their defection that formed the Perikatan Nasional regime, is still up for debate. However, this much is certain: the Perikatan Nasional regime has yet to legitimate itself as a government that is fit to lead, for the following reasons. A) Lack of vision  Several questions have been raised in and out of the assembly hall. Will policies / initiatives that were planned and carried out by the Pakatan Harapan government be continued? During Pakatan Harapan’s 22-month administration, not only did it fulfill over 80% of its General Election manifesto, several previously unplanned but necessary initiatives / policies were also formulated and completed. Just to name a few, Rumah Peduli, Skim Rumah Belia, NFCP in Melaka, ICT Blueprint, eSports development, Kad Peduli Sihat and leasehold land extension policy were carried out during Pakatan Harapan’s time. Melaka Perikatan Nasional government has chosen to discontinue some of these initiatives, while others have seen little to no progress to date.  It would be unrealistic to ask for a full manifesto from the Perikatan Nasional regime at this time; nonetheless, a fair question to ask would be, in what way does Perikatan Nasional want to prove that they are different and better than Pakatan Harapan? B) Condone abuse of power? The 1MDB case was undoubtedly the epitome of corruption and abuse of power that had led to the defeat of Barisan Nasional in the 14th General Election. During Pakatan Harapan’s tenure as Melaka state government, much has been done to ensure corrupt practices are eliminated.  However, it was utterly disappointing and baffling that two staff, who were previously sacked from a government-linked company (GLC) for abuse of power, got ‘invited’ back to work after Perikatan Nasional came into power [Refer Link 2, 3, and 4].

I have elaborated on the incident via media statements. When I questioned the state government during state assembly, I was provided with a vague and non-committal answer [Refer Link 5].  Unsurprisingly, to date there is still no further statement from the state government, nor was there any action taken on the GLC staff mentioned.  What is Perikatan Nasional’s stance in combating corruption and abuse of power, as well as upholding good governance? Do cases of serious misconduct and abuse of power, especially in agencies such as GLCs, not matter to Perikatan Nasional? C) Rakyat-centric? In their state assembly closing speeches, two former Pakatan Harapan EXCOs who are now serving under Perikatan Nasional, claimed that their defection had to occur because Pakatan Harapan had allegedly deteriorated Malay rights. The instances mentioned in their speeches include: the leasehold land extension for Kampung Baru, the release of Bumiputera housing quota, and nominal charges for Independent Chinese Secondary School in leasehold land extension.  These were carefully put together with selective information to mislead the public into buying their malicious and unfounded allegations. One good example to that is the omission in their speech that Danaharta Bumiputera was set up to utilise levy charge of Bumiputera housing quota and intended to provide financial aid to, among others, Bumiputera entrepreneurs [refer link 6].

This was a blatant attempt to propagate the narrative of “DAP must not be in government”, fanning the flames of racial dissension, especially towards Malay audiences. That narrative is perhaps, the lamest attempt to justify their defection from Pakatan Harapan.  The following questions must be asked: Where were these noble defectors when the policies were decided upon? Why didn’t any of them resign in protest over the 22 months, if policies were so disagreeable? Why only speak ill of Pakatan Harapan now, when the rakyat is angry and lashing out at them after defecting? 

If the Melaka Perikatan Nasional state government is serious in leading the state, there must be a clear stand on whether all races in Melaka -  the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Peranakan, Portugese, Chetti and all - can be fairly and equitably treated, and whether the multi-culturalism in Melaka will continue to be exploited as political model by its representatives. Fanning racial sentiments to justify the backdoor incident is an insult to the Malaccan spirit of exercising moderation, tolerance and mutual respect. I urge Perikatan Nasional state reps who have taken the reins to speak with substance and govern with integrity, competency, and leadership, instead of pursuing racial-centric politics. Otherwise, the regime will only see itself crumble in the near future.  ------------------------------- Link 1 - Use of ‘pengkhianatan’ in Dewan: Link 2 - 'PN-led Malacca gov't reinstates two GLC officers sacked for abuse of power': Link 3 – Kronology: Link 4 - Domestic inquiry: Link 5 - Melaka state assembly answer on MICTH issue: Link 6 - 'Isu tuduhan penjualan aset Bumiputera untuk biayai bolasepak Melaka'

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