Putrajaya’s small window for own agenda, not narrow interests

  • Putrajaya submits early report on flight MH370, but won’t publicise it, says CNN
    Putrajaya submits early report on flight MH370, but won’t publicise it, says CNN

    Putrajaya has sent its preliminary report on the disappearance of flight MH370, but has yet to release it publicly, CNN reported today, despite insisting that it has nothing to hide. “It just adds fuel to the fire – which is like a furnace now – of disbelief, particularly in China, as to what is going on,” Geoffrey Thomas, managing director of... …

  • It’s Obama’s right to see Anwar or not, says Dr Mahathir – Bernama
    It’s Obama’s right to see Anwar or not, says Dr Mahathir – Bernama

    Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said it was up to the president of the United States whether to see opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or not. "It is his (Obama) right, up to him who he wants to see, he does not even want to see me, a former prime minister," Dr Mahathir (pic) told reporters in Putrajaya today. He was... …

  • Karpal’s Bukit Gelugor seat will stay DAP’s, analysts say
    Karpal’s Bukit Gelugor seat will stay DAP’s, analysts say

    GEORGE TOWN, April 24 — Analysts believe that Barisan Nasional (BN) does not stand a fighting chance in Bukit Gelugor, and even said it may not be worth the ruling pact’s time to contest the seat... …

  • Tuhan Harun case postponed again to July 22 – Bernama
    Tuhan Harun case postponed again to July 22 – Bernama

    The Lower Shariah Court today postponed again the case of leader of the “Tuhan Harun” deviant sect, Harun Mat Saat, to July 22. Judge Abdul Wahid Mohd Ali set the date after hearing the application from Pahang Islamic Religious Department deputy prosecutor Mohd Fahmi Abd Jalil that he needed more time to examine the legal representation... …

  • What if flight MH370 is never found?
    What if flight MH370 is never found?

    Despite assurances from Malaysia and Australia that the search will continue for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the lack of significant leads after almost seven weeks are leading many to ask: What if the jetliner that disappeared over the southern Indian Ocean is never found? At the start of the massive international search effort, such a... …

  • New law to give Sarawak natives freedom in purchasing customary rights land
    New law to give Sarawak natives freedom in purchasing customary rights land

    Bumiputera from Sarawak could eventually buy Native Customary Rights (NCR) land outside their ethnic group or community when the state amends its Land Code in November. Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem (pic, right), in disclosing the government's intention to table the amendment at its Budget sitting, said with the amendment the Iban, for... …

By Jahabar Sadiq

MAY 28 — Just more than three weeks with a fresh mandate, the Najib administration only has a small window to set its own agenda or allow its policies to be dictated by the fringe right wing.

While Datuk Seri Najib Razak began his government with the 1 Malaysia concept four years ago, he has yet to outline his administration’s priorities after winning a smaller majority in the May 5 general election from Election 2008.

Malay rights group Perkasa is already pushing for 60 per cent Bumiputera equity targets and quotas for enrolment in public universities, double the current 30 per cent quota, ostensibly on the back of increased Malay support in the polls.

But should the government go further to the right and reward one community, or continue its 1 Malaysia policies that promise more for all rather than less for some?

Several Western leaders have called up Najib to congratulate him on his election win and encourage him to push through with his reforms.

“He is being encouraged to push forward with reforms,” a Western diplomat told The Malaysian Insider, adding there will be a flurry of visits next month to reinforce that point.

But voices encouraging the country’s sixth prime minister to continue his New Economic Model (NEM) are not that vociferous in Malaysia where the political hangover from the elections has made things more racial.

“The government should be thankful to the Malays,” added the Malay group’s acting president Datuk Abd Rahman Abu Bakar,referring to the results of Election 2013 that showed a bigger victory for Umno.

He pointed out that Barisan Nasional (BN) had enjoyed increased support from Malay voters in the May 5 election, noting that Umno had bagged 88 out of the ruling coalition’s 133 federal seats, up from the 79 seats it won out of BN’s 140 seats in Election 2008.

“We’re not asking for something that’s unrealistic,” the Perkasa deputy president said.

Hours after polling finished and the results were trickling in, BN had blamed its poor performance on a “Chinese tsunami” as it won more in rural areas than urban areas, which appear to be predominantly Chinese.

Yet, rapid industrialisation and urbanisation since the 1970s had led to migration from rural areas with more Malays in the cities and towns, and they too did not vote for BN.

A case in point is in the Selangor capital Shah Alam where PAS’s Khalid Samad defended his seat with a bigger majority against Perkasa vice-president Datuk Zulkifli Noordin, who stood on a BN ticket in Election 2013.

Several snap analyses have revealed that apart from losing the Chinese vote, BN also lost a fair number of Malay votes in its bastion and birthplace Johor, Kelantan, Selangor and Terengganu.

But Perkasa’s demand for increased racial quotas will likely complicate Najib’s efforts to reform the economy and roll back race-based policies to transform Malaysia into a developed nation by 2020.

It can also affect foreign direct investment especially the free trade pacts where Putrajaya is under pressure to end race-based procurement policies.

To his credit, Najib has kept his economics team intact, naming Maybank Berhad chief executive Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar as economic planning unit (EPU) minister to replace Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop who did not contest in the elections.

He has also kept his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as education minister, and added Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh as the second education minister in the ministry that now takes back the higher education portfolio.

All eyes are on them for policy directions in both the economic and education fields and pressure from Perkasa and other fringe groups could further narrow BN’s support base in the next general election.

And turn into another vicious cycle of pandering further to communal interests.

Putrajaya has to act now at this fork in the road, to either go down that path of narrow interests or open up for a bigger pie to be shared by all Malaysians.

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily news updates.

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.

  • MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer The Malaysian Insider
    MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer

    The partner of an American passenger aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has spoken about how a Fox executive who was recently sacked by the news station had contacted her offering to raise funds on her behalf. Sarah Bajc, whose partner Philip Wood is among the 239 people on board the missing plane, told the Sydney Morning Herald... …

  • My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh The Malaysian Insider
    My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh

    A week after the tragic crash that took the lives of veteran lawyer and politician Karpal Singh and his personal aide, Michael Cornelius, his son Ramkarpal recounts the final hours with his father that fateful day. This is his story, as told to V. Anbalagan, assistant news editor. “My parents (Karpal and Gurmit) had gone to Pantai Hospital... …

  • In Disney's shadow, homeless families struggle Associated Press
    In Disney's shadow, homeless families struggle

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — When they moved from Georgia to the theme park playground of central Florida four years ago, Anthony and Candice Johnson found work at a barbecue restaurant and a 7-Eleven. Their combined salaries nevertheless fell short of what they needed to rent an apartment, so the couple and their two children have instead been hopping among cheap motel rooms along U.S. 192. …