Carpe Diem

The Manifesto may need some recalibration due to current, true and new realities, and it can be certainly done and communicated to the Rakyat, transparently.

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Published by The Malay Mail, image from The New Straits Times

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed took the centre stage at the UNGA yesterday with a powerful message for world peace and equality for all people. He did not neglect to recount his “greatest hits”: Israel and Palestine, Rohingya refugees, unconstrained capitalism, and Western imperialism and terrorism.

Malaysia will surely miss this enigmatic leader when he finally vacates the world’s political stage. We may never again enjoy his unique cocktail made of fearless truth, force of will, charisma, and political agility.

While he is a natural star in the international spotlight for his contrarian and stinging dialectic, this time he is perhaps less prudent, using his precious energy given the ground realities at the UN that is anchored to the interests of few, to the angst of many. And especially when the glow from the historic GE14 election win has started fading, and any fiery speech against Israel and America has less resonance right now with the Rakyat, than before.

Ending the brutality towards the Rohingya is surely important, but many citizens have turned their attention inwards upon their own stagnant economy, backward innovation, and spiritless politics. The frustration of the voters who overhauled the status-quo has turned energetic hope into lethargic disappointment.

The source of this angst is unmet expectations. The rakyat wanted the kleptocrats in jail, a reversal of rising costs, better quality of living, an influx of credible investment, high value-employment, affordable homes, affordable healthcare, and people-driven policies. Instead, we have endless court cases, widespread urban inflation, throw-back industrial ventures, and back-biting party scheming.

Yes, the government came into power burdened with the legacy of a decade of severe mismanagement — not to mention unfettered theft — by the former administration, but it’s fair to say that the incoming leadership are still struggling in executing the sea-change called for in its Manifesto. Tough as it may be, due to the inherited liabilities and debts, but time is surely fast running out. The Manifesto may need some recalibration due to current, true and new realities, and it can be certainly done and communicated to the Rakyat, transparently. This will enhance their understanding with what the present administration had to face and ease their unhappiness.

Also the good news is that the present administration still have time to turn the tide. A renewed calling from the leadership to face the light and spring into action instead of staring at it like frozen deer. It’s time to seize the day.

The economy is front and center. We don’t have any time to waste. Day by day it looks more likely that the US will slip into recession and the China growth “miracle” will disappear like the mirage it surely is.

The government must support the private sector to innovate and give more than just lip service to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) digital transformation. Where we are deficient in talent we must import it so that we can transfer the necessary skill sets that will put us definitively on the path of a high-value, high wages innovation economy.

The new administration is a unique opportunity to cut through the red tape and bureaucracy that has kept Malaysia in second place, as an also-ran economy compared to Singapore and Hong Kong. We cannot allow the inertia of the past to plague our future, readily embraced by our peers in Vietnam and Indonesia.

We must also recognise that the political acrobatics of race and religious divisiveness — identity politics — that kept Umno in power was toxic to the development of the maturity of the Nation. It further served to suppress the social underclass so that they felt they could only voice the concerns of community through identity politics.

The seemingly internal bickering in PH has fuelled optimism in Umno and PAS that it can return to the old status quo. This would be a tragedy for Malaysia, which has been given the rare “black-swan” chance to address the causes of problems over the symptoms. We must make the most of the present for the sake of our future.

Dr. Rais Hussin is President & CEO of EMIR Research, an independent think-tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based upon rigorous research.

文章来源:星洲日报 (Sin Chew)

敦马哈迪在联合国大会上成了焦点,为了世界和平和所有人的平等发出强而有力的讯息。他没有忘记重述他的“经典论述”:以色列和巴勒斯坦、罗兴亚难民、不受限制的资本主义以及西方帝国主义和恐怖主义。

当他最终退出世界政治舞台时,大马一定会想念这名谜样的领袖。我们可能再也无法听到他无畏的真理、意志力、魅力和政治敏捷所混合出来的独特调调。

尽管他因采取相反的态度和尖锐的辩证法而成为国际关注的焦点,但这次他或许不那么慎重,考虑到联合国的现实是关注少数人的利益和多数人的担忧。尤其是当历史性的第14届大选的胜利光芒开始消退,而针对以色列和美国的任何激烈言论如今与人民的共鸣都比以前少了许多。

终结对罗兴亚难民的残酷行径固然重要,但许多公民将注意力转向了我国停滞不前的经济、落后的创新、和死气沉沉的政治。想要改变现状的选民感到沮丧,让充满活力的希望变成了昏昏欲睡的失望。

这种焦虑的根源是没有达标的期望。人民希望盗窃者入狱、扭转生活成本的问题、提高生活品质、大量可靠投资、高价值就业机会、可负担房屋、可负担医疗保健、以及以人为本的政策。取而代之的是,我们有无休止的法庭案件、普遍的通货膨胀、落后的工业投资、以及互相抹黑的政党诡计。

是的,政府背负着前朝政府几十年来严重管理不善的负担──更别说是不受控制的盗窃──但上台的领导层还在对落实其宣言苦苦挣扎。由于继承了负担与债务,要落实宣言确实件难事,但是时间很快就不够了。由于当前、真实和新现实情况,宣言可能要进一步重新调整,将其落实并透明地传达给人民。这将让他们对现任政府有更好的理解,同时减少他们的不满。

好消息是,现任政府仍有时间扭转局势。领导层再次呼吁正面面对并采取行动,而不是像死鱼般盯着它。现在是时候抓紧时间了。

经济是重中之重。我们没有时间可以浪费。日复一日,美国似乎有可能陷入衰退,而中国的增长“奇迹”将像海市蜃楼般消失。

政府必须支持私人领域进行创新,并为第四次工业革命数码化转型提供更实际的服务。在缺乏人才的领域,我们必须引进人才,以让我们得以转移必要的技能,这将让我们最终走上高价值、高工资的创新经济之路。

新政府有一个难得的机会来减少繁文缛节和官僚主义,以让大马持续保有第二顺位,毕竟与新加坡和香港相比,大马也是一个经济发达的国家。我们不能让过去的惰性困扰我们的未来,这在邻国越南和印尼已经可见一斑。

我们必须意识到,维持巫统权力的种族和宗教分裂伎俩──身分认同政治──对国家发展是有害的。它进一步压制了社会下层阶级,让他们感到他们只能通过身分认同政治来表达对社群的关注。

希望联盟看似出现内部分裂而为巫统和伊斯兰党注入乐观的情绪,并让他们可以重回活力。这对大马来说是一场悲剧,因为大马难得有“黑天鹅”的机会以解决问题。为了我们的未来,我们必须充分利用现在。

莱士胡先是EMIR Research的总裁兼首席执行官,EMIR Research是一家致力于数据驱动型政策研究的智囊团,主要围绕敬业度,适度,创新和严谨原则。

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