There’s no place for parallel government in Malaysia

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BY PHLIP RODRIGUES – It has become a disturbing trend to see the Pakatan Harapan government often caving in to the demands or threats of activists and pressure groups when they do not agree with policies they deemed detrimental to national interests.

Their strident actions give the impression that they are the true defenders of all the sacrosanct things spelt out in the federal constitution. But their “enemies” are more often than not their fellow citizens.

This unelected, parallel government operates with seeming immunity as no one dares to throw the book at them. When a policy is announced, or decision made, for the good of the country, invariably there is an immediate outcry from these self-appointed guardians, who only see darkness when they should see light.

Even the lawful, elected government, after hearing the loud, fearful noise, will change course to appease the clamorous dissenters who frequently play up sensitive issues to underpin their argument. Thus a transparently good policy can get shelved or dumped.

A government is elected by the people to serve the interests of all the people, but unfortunately Pakatan Harapan seems to come under the spell of the parallel government. The latter’s views are treated with deference lest the proponents cause trouble to the extent of jeopardising the new government.

In some instances, these self-anointed potentates would take to the streets to press home their case without looking at the larger picture. As long as they feel or imagine their constitutional rights and privileges are threatened, they would raise a firestorm of protests to serve as dire warning to their fellow citizens.

A parallel government, largely a pressure group, does not have the authority to impose its opinions on the country nor dictate terms. It does not have the force of a properly constituted legal entity to push for amendments or abolishment of laws in order to advance its own narrow, often race-based, outlook.

Certainly, the conduct of all governments must come under intense scrutiny to ensure they do not work against the public interest. If a government is inefficient, corrupt, oppressive, then it is morally right to denounce the elected leaders, or even topple the regime through the power of the ballot box.

But if a government is doing something good that will benefit all citizens, irrespective of race and religion, there is no reason at all to criticise its policies or agitate for its removal. Such a government must indeed be given undivided support.

Pakatan Harapan came into our life on the wings of change and hope. It has the mandate of all races to mould a better nation that can stand proud of its achievements in science, technology and economy. To forge ahead, it must not be derailed by reactionary, parochial forces.

A parallel government would only mess up Pakatan Harapan’s bold agenda. It would frustrate all good-intentioned attempts to rebuild confidence, trust and integrity. Worse still, it could lead to irrational actions resulting ultimately in chaos and a breakdown in law and order.

There can only be one government to represent the interests of all citizens. Only an elected government can introduce, or reintroduce, policies and strategies that can propel the country into the desired goals. Only a government voted into power fair and square can determine the destiny of the nation.

There can be no place at all for a parallel government whose sole purpose is to obstruct or sabotage the efforts of the legally elected government to roll out blueprints, ideas and roadmaps to rejuvenate the country.

Time is running out for Pakatan Harapan. Soon it will face another test at the ballot box where its weaknesses and shortcomings will be weighed against its achievements. The true voice of the people will be heard loud and clear.

For now, Pakatan Harapan must single-mindedly pursue its objectives without having to kow-tow to any pressure groups. It must ignore all threats to its political life in pursuit of bold approaches and methods for a better Malaysia. There must be no postponement, hesitation, U-turns.

PHLIP RODRIGUES is a retired journalist.

*The opinions expressed above are those of the writer or publication and do not necessarily represent the opinions of New Malaysia Times.