|Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad,||12 March 2013|
The task for the next Malaysian Government with regard to national transformation is of a different order of magnitude to that witnessed thus far, from the time of Merdeka. Doing more of the same things would not place us on a different trajectory of change and competitiveness.
This resource-rich nation requires a sea-change in its social, institutional and economic system, in short a ‘revolution’ in the strategic approach of redressing the economic woes and the mind-sets of all stakeholders namely the Rakyat.
Weary of being subjected to the unending failures, with every changing of the guard that has helmed this nation, there is a growing despair and a sinister contempt for anything to do with ‘power’ and the ‘authority’. This presents an obstacle to effecting genuine change and sustainable reform.
Worst of it all, is the negative perception, real or otherwise, and a sense of a lost trust, that whatever policies be proposed and whatever resources and however colossal, be devoted to pursuing them, social and economic position of the vast majority of the Rakyat, will not change. For that reason and that reason alone, the time has come for this nation to seriously consider a regime change as to allow the nation to take a political breather.
At this critical juncture of the nation history of socio-economic development and with the ‘mother of all elections’ looming ever closer, Pakatan Rakyat, now presents to the rakyat a manifesto entitled: ‘Pakatan Harapan Rakyat’ or ‘The People’s Pact and the People’s Hope’.
It has been a week over now that the Pakatan’s People Manifesto has been officially launched. Audacious though it may seem, but Pakatan, well ahead of its political nemesis, the Barisan Nasional, is consciously and willingly subjecting herself to the thorough scrutiny of the entire nation.
Overtly disturbed by the challenger to her uninterrupted hegemony to power, the BN however insisted of launching her manifesto only after the official dissolution of the parliament, a task ostensibly so agonising to the incumbent premier.
But what is a manifesto? The Free Encyclopedia, Wikipedia has it that ‘A manifesto is a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government’.
That definition fits PR’s manifesto comfortably. Taking centre-stage position quickly thereafter, in both the off-line and on-line media by the BN-controlled and particularly so in the New Media, the manifesto was scrutinised closely by all. Expectedly there was a mixed response of outright support and downright rejection.
More importantly for Pakatan Rakyat, through its initiative of launching her manifesto early, it has gotten a free platform for exchanges of ideas and feedback, to be gleaned, discoursed and debated by all, despite being disadvantaged by an asymmetrical access to the mainstream media.
Notwithstanding all kinds of critiques and recommendations which would surely be put to good use, this writer intends to now highlight of what makes this Pakatan Manifesto unique.
Going by the above definition, this writer is not duty-bound to rationalise how Pakatan would pay for the many reforms that it vouches to undertake as opposed to presenting a budget. Nonetheless this small writing would attempt to allay the anxieties of those who seemed so concern that Pakatan would bankrupt the national coffer in the first year of being in office in Putrajaya.
While there is a consensus that Malaysia’s economic growth and social indicators have outperformed our regional peers like Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, other countries like Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong have arguably outperformed us by many times since decades ago. So, what went wrong?
Although many wouldn’t doubt that Malaysia is at a cross road, many others would also not doubt that the UMNO-BN’s formula of socio-economic development has failed us to achieve the socially just development that all the rakyat cherished and dreamt of. The long deferred reform agenda must be now addressed.
The Rakyat as the true owners and stakeholders of this beloved nation is now ready to make the next quantum leap of nation rebuilding and Pakatan is here to together realise this mission. Paktan Rakyat truly believes that this Manifesto of ‘Pakatan Harapan Rakyat’ provides for a vision and a mission of a people that has been subverted and denied of seeing a better, nay of A New Malaysia!
Premised on four fundamental pillars – Fraternity-Brotherhood of the People (Rakyat Bersaudara), the People’s Economy (Ekonomi Rakyat), the People’s Well-being (Kesejahteraan Rakyat) and the People’s Government (Kerajaan Rakyat), the Pakatan’s Manifesto promises and is committed to ensuring justice, peace andequality for all the rakyat.