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What if I Were the Pakatan Rakyat Prime Minister of Malaysia Today

Updated on May 29, 2014

Pakatan Rakyat is a loose coalition of 3 major opposition parties in Peninsular Malaysia, namely:

  1. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR);
  2. Democratic Action Party (DAP);
  3. Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS).

Time and again, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition has attacked the Pakatan Rakyat as a non-viable political coalition because of what it claims to be the diverse and irreconcilable agendas of the 3 component parties.

It is true that PAS has always aspired to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state, while the DAP has pointed out that the Merdeka Constitution (the original Independence Consitutition of 1957) has stated very clearly and in no uncertain terms that Malaysia is a secular state.

The DAP has always advocated a 'Malaysian Malaysia' where all citizens are treated equally, strongly opposing the Barisan Nasional's apartheid system of dividing Malaysians into Malays and non-Malays in its so-called affirmative actions to bring about a "more equitable society". PKR and PAS, apparently support such a stance, since apartheid and Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) are antithesis to the teachings of Islam.

DAP's Uneasiness with Islamic State Doctrine

Resolving the Islamic state issue

It seems obvious clear to me that the Islamic state issue has to be resolved one way or another, if Pakatan Rakyat is to become a viable and stable, long-term political coalition. In as much as it is inconceivable for the DAP to drop its "Malaysian Malaysia" agenda, so also is it inconceivable for PAS to drop its "Islamic state" aspiration.

To me, there is only one solution, i.e. to allow all state governments controlled by PAS to run their respective states as an Islamic state, while maintaining the country as a secular nation, as agreed upon at the time of independence. The status of "Islamic state", however, will persist only in so long as PAS rules the state.

Prime Minister Najib Razak Lied on CNN with Proof (July 2011)

A nation based on honesty and integrity

Malaysia ranked No. 54 in Transparency International's 2012 Corruption Perception Index, and No. 60 for both 2010 and 2011. Now, these figures does not take into consideration institutionalized corruption, or to call a spade a spade, "legal corruption".

Where else in the world can you find a government that allocates shares to its Ministers, when privatizing a government asset? Where in the world can you find a government that awards contracts to its own party members via "negotiated tenders" wherein the tender price is confidential? Thus, if institutionalized corruption, the bigger evil, were taken into consideration, it is my belief that Malaysia would be lucky to even be ranked at No. 100 in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index.

There is absolutely no reason why Malaysia, with Islam as its official religion, should fare so badly, as compared to secular Singapore, an island state that was once part of Malaysia. Something is truly wrong. Some claim that Singapore is easier to control because of its much smaller size. How then did Finland, a country slightly larger than Malaysia, managed to become No. 1 in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index in 2012?

If I were Prime Minister, I would make Malaysia one of the Top 10 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index as my top priority. As it is, many problems that Malaysia are facing are closely tied to corruption:

  • Racism to justify why one race should have more than its fair share of the nation's wealth;
  • Cronyism;
  • Lack of transparency and accountability;
  • A civil service that is nothing more than a pliant tool to the Barisan Nasional;
  • Constant lie-telling (as is often said, you need 10 lies to cover one);
  • Abuse of power;
  • Removal of the independence of the judiciary so that the government can get away with murder, so to speak.

If we are really committed to eradicate corruption, then most of the problems that Malaysia faces will automatically go away.

Institutionalized Racism

Combating racism

If I were the Prime Minister, I will make it illegal to require anyone to declare his race in any application form, whether be it for government or for employment purposes. Why is race so important? Aren't we all Malaysians? While making it illegal to require one to declare his or her race will not wipe up racism, it will definitely be a positive step toward making people become more aware and conscious that we should not indulge in racism.

On this note, we have to tell the Malays who, according to the Malaysian Constitution, must be Muslims, that Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) is forbidden in Islam. Surah al-Hujurat (49:13) clearly stipulates that, and the Prophet himself said in his Last Sermon: "All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white, except by piety and good action."

Ketuanan Melayu was strongly promoted during the premiership of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, an Indian Muslim who claimed himself to be a Malay through his mother's lineage. Many have said that it would take many decades to undo the harm that Mahathir had done to Malaysian society.

The New Economic Policy

The New Economic Policy (NEP) was supposedly a socio-economic restructuring affirmative action program, launched by the Malaysian government in 1971. Along the way, it was hijacked and became a Malay agenda. But let's look at what its two-prong objectives are:

  1. to eradicate poverty, irrespective of race; and
  2. to restructure society, so as to eliminate the identification of race with economic functions.

How does a program that attempts to eradicate poverty, irrespective of race, became a Malay agenda? The power of the mind to rationalize and justify is indeed amazing. There have been pressures to abolish the New Economy Policy but personally, I think that the policy is good for all times and should be implemented according to its spirit, with hijackers of the program being put behind bars where they rightly belong.

Autonomy, as far as state economy is concerned

Why should the Federal Government have a bigger say as regards to the state economy, as compared to the respective state governments? Why should the Federal Government take 95% of the oil revenues from the oil-producing states, leaving them with only 5% each? Despite being resource-rich and one of the oil-producing states, Sabah is today the poorest of all the states in Malaysia. Why?

Personally, I would think that it is better for the respective states to be responsible for their own economy, with the Federal Government acting as a mediator and coordinator, when economic development involves two or more states. The Philippines moved successfully to a decentralized system in 1992 and the change has had an invigorating effect on local politics and business, as people assumed greater responsibility for and control over their own communities. Indonesia is following suit. As a matter of fact, many successful MNCs are empowering their subsidiaries these days to become independent profit centers.

Vernacular education

Vernacular education has always been a bone of contention since Independence. The two major minority races in Malaysia have always fought for the continuance of Chinese-medium and Tamil-medium schools. Some 96% of Chinese children and 56% of Tamil children go to Chinese- and Tamil-medium schools respectively. The parents of these children want mother tongue education for their children for the building and the preservation of cultural heritage, identity and dignity. The Barisan Nasional government, while practicing race-based political parties, has time and again pointed out that allowing vernacular education would lead to racial polarization. It simply does not add up.

In 1983, the Malaysian government made an exception to its National Education Policy by allowing the International Islamic University Malaysia's (IIUM) language of instruction to be in English and Arabic. As Malaysian law does not allow for this, UIAM was incorporated under the Companies Act 1965. Today, the medium of instruction and administration of practically all private universities in Malaysia are in English. This being so, why then does the government still oppose vernacular education? Why the double standards? It must be borne in mind that China and India are potentially two of the world's largest economies and that proficiency in the Chinese and Tamil languages would serve as a competitive advantage for Malaysians trying to do business in China and India.


Independence of the Judiciary

The 1988 Malaysian constitutional crisis was a series of events that began with the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party election in 1987 and ended with the suspension and the eventual sacking of Tun Salleh Abas, Lord President of the Supreme Court. Many saw the sacking as the end of judicial independence in Malaysia, with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's actions condemned internationally.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who would eventually become Malaysia's 5th Prime Minister, said: "For many, the events of 1988 were an upheaval of the nation's judicial system. Rightly or wrongly, many disputed both the legality and morality of the related proceedings. For me, personally, I feel it was a time of crisis from which the nation never fully recovered."

For me, I personally feel that the only way to restore judicial independence is to allow appeals to the Privy Council in England or a court of similar standing. In this way, even if the Executive were to interfere with the independence of the Judiciary, it would not succeed.

Higher Salaries for Members of Parliament and No Business Involvement

In Singapore, the salaries of ministers and top civil servants are pegged at two-thirds the average income of the top 4 earners in 6 professions: accounting, banking, engineering, law, local manufacturing firms, and multinational corporations. These professions were chosen because their top members had general management skills which ministers also need to have. The Singapore government's rationale is that while it does not want pay to be the reason for people to join the government, it also does not want pay to be the reason for them not to join, or to leave after joining.

I think Singapore is doing the right thing. Why should politicians holding government office be paid lower than market rate and then tolerate corruption? A Member of Parliament or State Assemblyman should run his or her constituency like a business organization. And to avoid conflict of interest, all government personnel should not engage in business. They have to choose one or the other.


Addressing a bloated civil service

At 4.68%, Malaysia has the highest civil servants-to-population ratio in the Asia Pacific, topping:

  • Indonesia's 1.79%;
  • South Korea's 1.85%; and
  • Thailand's 2.06%.

Such a situation obviously promotes inefficiency. At the moment, civil servants are also poorly paid. On February 19, 2013, the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) pressed for a review of the civil servants’ salary scale, pointing out that it has been stagnant for the past 20 years.

Won't it then be a win-win situation to reduce the size of the civil service and increase every civil servant's salary to market rate?

Due to space constraints, I will not touch on many other matters, not the least of which is electoral reforms. Notwithstanding, I believe that even if any Malaysian Prime Minister can achieve just half of the above, many Malaysians would be quite satisfied for at least another 5-10 years.

Inside Story - Is It Time for Change in Malaysia? (4 April 2013)


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    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi 25252525, sorry for the misunderstanding. Admittedly, I am very disappointed that PR did not win. Anyway, there's always a next time.

    • profile image

      25252525 5 years ago

      Hi WalterPoon i think you misunderstand. I am worried that they (BN supporter ) may counter this idea that all. But since you have explain that this idea will not work, hey bro keep fighting man. I hope to see that day (superman)丘光耀 full-fill his dream.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi 25252525, why are you so worried about your post that you felt the need to delete it? There's nothing seditious. Looks like we are so fearful that we dare not even exercise our rights as provided by the Constitution and say our piece.

      First of all, PAS is an Islamic party and DAP is not. So the effect of a merger is that one party will be totally destroyed. Second, why would DAP that was formed in 1965 and which is more successful than PKR take down its name in favor of a less successful party that was formed more than 3 decades later? And do you think that your solution can guarantee a BN defeat? I don't think so.

      All of us knows that the Election Commission is BN-friendly, and that's to put it very, very mildly. The indelible ink that was introduced is pure rubbish. It's no better, if not worse, than the normal ink from our fountain pen, or ballpoint pen. That speaks volumes about the 2013 general elections. I don't blame Anwar for claiming that there was cheating because the circumstantial evidence from the indelible ink seems to point to the fact that there was actually an intention to do so.

    • profile image

      25252525 5 years ago

      I mean it as a strategy. As u know the malays always feel that DAP is a chinese party. And their winning in parliament sit might be a threat to the malay base party or malay interest as a whole. In order to eradicate all these assumptions, why not try to show the malays that DAP is willing to take down there party name and join PKR and PAS to become one single party so as to represent the will of the malaysian people. I believe by doing that i think state media will have to report that. The purpose is to take over the federal government by more support from the malays. May be even some BN member might come over when they know they are with a losing party. The most important thing is to check the incumbent deeds once take over.

      In 2011 singapore GE when one opposition party took over from the current incumbent GRC, many past deeds was dig out and expose. But of cos they alone can’t do much. But at least all Singaporean get to know abt it. But what if the opposition took over and become the incumbent... what will we find out???? Once u read and understand what i mean. Can you please delete my post. Share my idea with the DAP leaders i don't know can it help, but its just an idea. Thanks

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Errrata: "National Economic Policy" should read as "New Economic Policy".

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi 25252525, thanks for dropping by. I cannot catch what your proposals attempt to achieve. Is it an attempt at national reconciliation/unity, or is it a strategy to successfully take over the federal government?

      What I think is that UMNO lacks honesty and sincerity. They appear to me to want power only to help themselves with the public coffers. And if Islam, as the official religion, as they had proposed and made into law, cannot help, it is unlikely that anything can help. They are so good at turning and twisting, such that even the National Economic Policy (NEP), the first-prong objective of which is the eradication of poverty, IRRESPECTIVE of race, could be turn into an agenda to benefit ONLY the Malays, then you can say and do anything under the sun, and nothing will work, except to dump these hypocrites.

    • profile image

      25252525 5 years ago

      Hi WalterPoon Keep hearing DAP is a chinese party and Chinese has won big this time. What do think if DAP would merge with the other two party and become one party? & may be Vernacular education should stop and all Malaysian should have a malay name like Indonesian. By doing that can this stop them from using it as a point to attack them. Isn't the most important thing is to get into the parliament and do a check on the past deeds of the incumbent. When all those top corrupt leaders had been dealt with, then you guys will be free to have a fair election to choose capable Leaders and not party base leader. What do u think?

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Peachpurple, it's a black day for many of us. Most of my FB friends went off to sleep before midnight, when it was quite obvious that PR had lost. BN's win in Skudai and Pasir Gudang, after a coincidental blackout during the recount, is not comforting. So also is the fact that EC took so long to confirm a win for PR, as compared to a win for BN, for each of the constituencies. But I am glad that Nurul Izzah won against Raja Nong Chik, despite the huge amount of federal funds pouring into Lembah Pantai. I hope to see her becoming Malaysia's first female Prime Minister.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      So, BN has won, what's your opinion? Sure hope to hear your thoughts.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Yo, my friend. You have written a very good hub. Very looooong indeed but worth to take time to read. You should run for the seat. You have the potential.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Isaac, honestly, the salaries of Singapore's ministers, when viewed alone, especially in a small island state, are exorbitant. In principle, I agree with the rationale that "while it does not want pay to be the reason for people to join the government, it also does not want pay to be the reason for them not to join, or to leave after joining." However, I don't agree with using the average income of the top 4 earners in 6 professions (why not 6 earners?) but this is very subjective. Ministers are responsible for the entire country, while CEOs are just responsible for their respective companies.

      In Malaysia, ministerial salaries are so low, when compared to the private sector, that everyone is tempted to indulge in corruption, so much so that when a civil servant purchased an RM1,940 night-vision binoculars for RM56,350, no action was taken. Why? Because that amount is just peanuts to these ministers, so they don't even realize that it is wrong. That's how drunk they are today!!! When they wallop, they wallop by the hundreds of millions! So can you now see why I agree with Singapore's ministerial salaries?

    • profile image

      fxcollection 5 years ago

      Hi WalterPoon thanks for this site, it is a well written article. But can you explain more on the salaries of ministers in singapore. Why do you agree on that? BTW I am from singapore.

      Isaac Kang

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Pramodgokhale, you are right about the first Prime Minister. He is Tunku Abdul Rahman. Mahathir Mohamad is the 4th Prime Minister. He is ethnically Indian. His real name is Mahathir s/o Iskandar Kutty. His paternal grandfather was from Kerala, India but because he wants to be a Malay, he says that he is not sure where his grandfather came from. Other people have to tell him that his grandfather came from Kerala to Penang in the 19th century. After his retirement, he is more open and now says his grandfather came from South Asia but is not too sure exactly where. Neither is he interested to find out. He is more interested in talking about Malay history.

    • pramodgokhale profile image

      pramodgokhale 5 years ago from Pune( India)


      I am an Indian, since childhood i have had an impression Malaysia as most friendly country. Mr. Tunku Abdul Rehman was the prime minister we know. Then recently Dr. Mohathir Rahman was well known chief of Malaysia , i heard under his leadership Malaysia economy had grown and became one of the emerging economy.

      there are always right and wrong in the system.

      Thank you.

      pramod gokhale

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Just pulling your legs... seems like articles on Malaysia is not a huge draw. I asked a question in Q&A : "When was the first time you hear of the word "Malaysia" and what impression does it gives you now?" It attracted 2 responses in 10 days, LOL.

    • profile image

      EmilyZ 5 years ago

      What was their reply to that? Need to show them your potential. Show them this article.

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 5 years ago from Malaysia

      I did ask to run for a seat and they told me, "You are not even a member of our party, how can you run?" And I replied, "As soon as you promise to give me a seat to run, I will apply."

    • profile image

      EmilyZ 5 years ago

      Great article. I hope that Pakatan Rakyat will win this General Election. It will be a big task to bring change to Malaysia. You have many ideas. Any chance of you running for a seat?

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Jen888, once you hit hard on corruption, most of the other issues will disappear by itself. Reason? Many of these issues surfaced to support corruption, e.g. a pliant civil service. If there is political will to wipe up corruption, would you think that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) dared to say that there was no corruption in the acquisition of an RM1,940 night-vision binoculars by the Marine Department for RM56,350? Try that in Singapore and the MACC chief will also lose his head!!!

    • Jen888 profile image

      Jen888 5 years ago

      There are just too many issues for any new PM (from the opposition coalition) to tackle. Let's hope more time will be given (should the opposition take over) to right all the wrongs!


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