By LIM SUE GOAN
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily
Two major news were announced Wednesday, one was positive and another was negative to the BN coalition. The positive news was, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that over 70 diploma and advanced diploma courses offered by Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TARC) have been given retrospective recognition by the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA), benefiting some 160,000 TARC alumni. As for the negative news, The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission decided to take action against the three officers implicated in the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock in 2009, only after three years of the incident and the commission has failed to tell what action would be taken.
Najib has recently announced a few good news, including the Federal Land Development Authority to distribute RM1.69 billion to more than 112,000 members of its planters’ cooperative, as well as three good news for taxi drivers in the country, namely a RM520 tyre subsidy voucher for two years, an allocation of a RM1 million fund for an accident insurance scheme and the end of the era of giving taxi licences to individual companies.
One after another good news might stimulate the rate of support, particularly when the number of beneficiaries is large. However, the BN still lacks the ability to respond in fighting for the support of middle-class voters and urban voters.
Originally, the repeal and revise of draconian laws had further pushed the country towards the route of transformation. However, the Bersih 3.0 rally was a turning point as members of the people were disappointed at the outbreak of conflict, the government's change of attitude from soft to hard, as well as its sensitiveness towards yellow colour shirts.
Therefore, BN leaders make other efforts to try to restore the people's support, including allowing the revival of a Kuantan Chinese Independent High School. Opening up education is indeed a viable strategy.
However, while they are working hard to create an election atmosphere, they must also beware of bureaucracy, as it could undermine their efforts.
For example, Najib introduced the 1Malaysia concept and the people-first policy after he took the office on April 3, 2009. However, the mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock took place three months later affected the image of Najib's administration, resulting defeats in a few by-elections.
With great difficulty, the people's memories started to fade, but the DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) held a series of memorial service activities on the third anniversary of Teoh's death, which reminded the people of the incident. The case might become an election issue if no legal action is taken.
Why hasn't the MACC's internal investigation not completed even after the trials and hearings of the Coroner's Court and the Royal Commission of Inquiry have ended? Why only disciplinary actions are taken, instead of charging the involved officials in court?
The key lies on the lack of an institutional reform. Some officials have turned arrogant because of power while the authority does not address the problem of bloated bureaucracy.
Institutional reforms should be started since the administration of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. It is a symbol of surrender when the government took ambiguous attitude towards the Police Royal Commission's suggestion of forming the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) during the administration of Tun Abdullah Badawi. Since then, it has become more difficult to deal with problems like the defiance of public power and violation of human rights.
That is why, we can still hear about incidents of abuse, power abuse and human rights violations. No one knows when such kind of incidents would happen again. It has become a thorny problem for the BN coalition and it can only hope that nothing happens before the next general election.
To avoid being criticised and condemned, the authority limit of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC), which was introduced to replace the IPCMC, should be expanded to check and balance bureaucracy, and at the same time, restore confidence of the middle class.