The year of living dangerously

2020 has now become a make or break year for Pakatan Harapan.

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Published by Malaysiakini, Malay Mail, The Star & Sin Chew, images from Malaysiakini.

2019 was a tricky year for Pakatan Harapan. After winning the election the previous year, the pressure was on full steam for the new government to meet the high expectations of the electorate.

Perhaps a resounding success was never realistic, but when you belt out a tune that is so different from what’s written on the song sheet, then there is no choice but to face the music.

In quick succession, Harapan wavered on repatriation of 1MDB’s stolen cash, dithered on punishing the criminals responsible, withered in the parliamentary by-elections and – most importantly – haven’t delivered on economic fulfilment of the rakyat.

The list goes on, but suffice to say the missed opportunities have weakened the coalition’s stability, stunted foreign investment, encouraged the opposition and discounted the government’s credibility.

This is a dangerous cocktail as we head to the mid-way point of Harapan’s maiden term. The same concurrence of outliers that converged to sink BN in GE14 could potentially do the same for Harapan in GE15.

Still, before you cork the bubbly and smother the sparklers, there is still reason to hope in 2020, which has now become a make or break year for Harapan – and for Bersatu and PKR in particular.

After fumbling through much of this year, it is imperative the administration takes decisive action in the coming year in order to give itself enough runway to showcase definitive results ahead of the general election in 2023.

This includes clarity on many of the big debates that fill the digital newsprint and social media, namely, those of leadership succession, economic vision, digital transformation, recouping stolen funds from the 1MDB conspirators and hunting down, prosecuting and jailing the criminals involved.

This means a direction from the top on prioritising objectives and discipline among the ranks in achieving them.

This isn’t the time to get sidetracked on pie-in-the-sky schemes around flying cars; rather, it means grassroots common-sense policy around curbing inflation, increasing knowledge workers, enhancing food security and, most importantly, setting a generational course for transforming Malaysia from a low-cost manufacturing economy to a high-wages innovation one.

Indeed, this was the very objective laid out for the country in the 1990s by the then (and now) prime minister in his Vision 2020 programme.

Let us use 2020 to set us on the path towards this destination, even if takes us a generation to achieve it.

We played with fire to get the chance to build a new Malaysia, and achieved what many thought was impossible.

No doubt there will be critical challenges ahead, as the opposition turns up the dial on divisive identity politics and we look down the barrel of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

2020 is the year to walk tall and carry a big stick, for, truly, fortune favours the bold.

Happy New Year, Malaysia, may we enjoy the peace and prosperity we all deserve in the year ahead.

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

中文

刊登在:星洲网 (Sin Chew).

2019年对希盟来说是棘手的一年。在去年赢得选举后,新政府要满足选民的高期望的压力是非常巨大的。或许巨大的成功从来都是不现实的,但是当你弹出与乐谱上完全不同的音符时,别无选择,只能面对音乐。

在一连串快速的行动中,希盟收回了一马发展公司被窃的现金、惩罚罪犯、在每一次补选中受挫、以及——最重要的是——尚未实现对人民的经济承诺。

以上事项还在继续,但可以说错失多次机会削弱了希盟的稳定、阻碍外国投资、让反对党鼓舞、并贬低了政府的信誉。这是危险的鸡尾酒,因为我们正迈向希盟执政中期。在第14届大选中同事发生的异常事件让国阵败北,这也很有可能在第15届大选中同样发生在希盟身上。

尽管如此,在你试图塞住泡泡和闷住火花时,仍然有理由寄望2020年,现在对希盟,尤其是对土团党和公正党来说,这是决定成败的一年。在经过去年的摸索后,政府必须在来年采取果断地行动,以在2023年大选之前给自己足够的时间来展示最终结果。

这包括在涉及网络新闻和社交媒体的许多重大事项的辩论中提出清晰的日常,即领袖的接班、经济愿景、数码转型、从一马发展公司串谋者那里收回赃款、追捕、起诉和关押涉及此事的犯罪者。

这意味着要从头到尾确定目标的顺序,并在实现目标时遵守纪律。现在不是绕着飞行车计划空想的时候;反之,这意味着需要落实草根都知道的政策,如抑制通膨、增加知识员工、增强粮食安全、最重要的是让大马从低成本制造业转型成为高收入国家。

实际上,这是1990年代当时(以及现在)的首相在2020年宏愿中为我国制定的非常目标。让我们充分运用2020年以踏上通往这一目的地的道路,即使我们还需要一代人才能实现这一目标。

我们玩火以获得建立新大马的机会,并实现了许多人认为不可能的目标。毫无疑问,未来的挑战将是严峻的,因为反对党将继续玩弄身份认同政治,而我们还受到第四次工业革命的威胁。2020年是抬头挺胸,大棒在手的一年,因为,说实话,财富偏爱大胆的人。新年快乐,马来西亚,愿我们在来年享有我们应有的和平与繁荣!

莱斯福贤是EMIR Research的总裁兼首席执行官,EMIR Research是一个独立的智囊团,专注于根据严格的研究提出战略政策建议。

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