Posted: 25 Jun 2013 02:50 AM PDT
The people have experienced a chaotic political confrontation for five years. The history should not repeat itself. If the ruling and alternative coalitions are not able to cooperate, the competition should at least be healthy to avoid causing harm to the country. Political confrontation should be eased and the country should be brought back on trail.
Soong Phui Jee, Sin Chew Daily
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim recently announced that Pakatan Rakyat has no plan to hold more Black 505 rallies at the present time. Instead, Pakatan Rakyat's protest would still go on through election petitions. They would also continue to work with foreign countries to expose incidents of fraud during the recent general election.
Since the country is currently blanketed by haze, outdoor protests should indeed be stopped for the sake of the people's health. Moreover, so many rallies had been held and they should be enough to clearly express the people's discontent with the electoral system and the Election Commission (EC). In addition to rallies, there are in fact other ways and means, such as through the Parliament, to fight for democracy.
Members of Parliament were sworn in yesterday. The Dewan Rakyat is a palace hall to discuss politics, convey public opinion and correct defects. Pakatan Rakyat MPs should play well their supervisory role to enhance the status of Dewan Rakyat and through it, educate the public and promote the progress of democracy.
However, politicians of both the ruling and alternative coalitions have not yet started to actively perform their duties even seven weeks after the general election. Political confrontation remains intense and thus, Dewan Rakyat sessions are very likely to be degenerated into another round of political wrangling.
For the country's and the people's interests, all politicians should return to their respective positions. For instance, in the face of the current haze problem, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry should take actions more rapidly while Pakatan Rakyat can point out the weaknesses of the haze handling mechanism.
Another issue that needs the cooperation between the ruling and alternative coalitions would be, how to reduce the budget deficit. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently announced the establishment of a fiscal policy committee headed by himself to achieve the target of reducing the budget deficit to 3% in 2015.
On the eve of the recent general election, the BN launched a manifesto covering 17 commitments to fight for support, including gradually increasing BR1M up to RM1,200 for households and RM600 for singles while maintaining it on an annual basis; increasing 1Malaysia Book Vouchers to RM300 & Schooling Aid to RM150; gradually reducing personal and corporate tax; and building 1,000,000 affordable homes.
These commitments will add difficulties to the efforts of reducing the 2014 budget deficit. The people should not forever live in the "election period" and just enjoy the candies. Subsidies should also be rationalised. If the national debt continues to rise, it would burden the younger generations and lead the country towards bankruptcy.
Deficit reduction will inevitably bring some pain. The BN government is expected to face resistance from the society when it tries to reduce subsidies. Therefore, Pakatan Rakyat should help explaining to the public for the sake of national interests.
If the government fails to open up new income sources, it should then try to reduce public expenditure, including curbing corruption and waste. Pakatan Rakyat can also make some contribution like stepping up supervision and exposing more acts of fraud and waste of public funds to enhance discipline and integrity in the public domain, and save valuable resources.
If the deficit reduction plan is politicised, the government would not be able to reduce subsidies or implement the goods and services tax (GST). The national debt could then exceed 55% of the GDP in a short period of time.
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