Whether back door or front, what matters is govt that delivers

FORMER Chinese president Deng Xiaoping once said: “It doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice, it is a good cat.”

This famous phrase underlies the pragmatism at the heart of the Chinese psyche, and embodies the spirit of China’s rise from an underdeveloped country to a world superpower in a matter of decades.

Deng, who took over the reins in 1976 during a tumultuous period, opened up China, allowed free enterprise to flourish, and set the country on a trajectory of modernity and growth at a speed and scale unprecedented in modern history.

If there’s any lesson that Malaysia can draw from this, it has to be the pragmatism and single-minded determination to put the country’s well-being above all else.

Not all Western thinkers – most of whom were brought up with modern ideals like social liberalism – subscribe to the Chinese model of governance. But the fact is that the nation once known as the Middle Kingdom has given their Western counterparts a run for their money in areas that the Americas and Europe once dominated, such as artificial intelligence, big data and nanotechnology.

Back in Malaysia, we’ve just witnessed a change of government that, frankly, not many are comfortable with. Lots of labels were thrown at the hastily cobbled Perikatan Nasional, such as “backdoor government”.

As a person who sees results as being more important than lofty ideals, I subscribe to a more unorthodox view. To me, we have reached a stage where it doesn’t matter if the administration is a backdoor, front-door or windowless one. If it is a government that can deliver, we should, by all means, give it a chance.

Let’s face it. Since May 2018, Pakatan Harapan has been assailed by endless court politics revolving around the prime minister’s succession. Investors were jittery, and the political anxiety crept into the public delivery system.

In a survey conducted by the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute before the recent political crisis, 81% of the Malaysians polled named domestic political instability as the most pronounced challenge in 2020.

The fact is that the instability is almost entirely PH’s doing. It was Anwar Ibrahim’s supporters who pressured Dr Mahathir Mohamad into fixing a retirement date. It was Dr Mahathir himself who quit, with no one pressuring him to do so. It was DAP’s overly strident stance that fuelled anxiety among Malay or Malay-dominated parties and the community.

And, this was made worse by PH’s ministers, who were largely inexperienced and gaffe-prone. How do you instil confidence when a PH minister, during a serious discussion with a diplomat, resorted to poking fun at the latter’s name with references like “Roti John”?

This is no laughing matter, considering what kind of diplomatic dispatches the embassy official sent back to his home country about Malaysia’s key policies, like those on defence and the economy, in the hands of such ministers.

I look at the collapse of the PH government as a political circuit-breaker. Like how a circuit-breaker kicks in as a protective measure when there is a power surge, PH fell because it was too erratic, with frequent clashes over competing interests and major lapses in delivery.

Let’s be pragmatic and give this new government a chance. We have spent enough time on political uncertainty, and worst of all, social anxiety, which, in a multiracial country, can lead to all sorts of undesirable things.

Let’s take a leaf out of the book of the late Deng, the architect of modern China, who, thanks to his foresight to put the country first, changed the course of Chinese history, and that of the world. – March 6, 2020.

* Dr Lee Kim Leng reads The Malaysian Insight.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.

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  • There is no whether, back means sh*t

    Posted 1 year ago by Tanahair Ku · Reply

  • Damn stupid writer to justify unethical betrayal of why they were voted in the first place. Principles mean nothing to this writer.

    Posted 1 year ago by Kinetica Cho · Reply

  • The end doesn't justify the means, Dr Lee. There are procedures based on the Constitution that need to be followed and followed expeditiously. Period.

    Posted 1 year ago by CD E · Reply

  • The writer could have written a better article than this and he knows it. Hint: he omitted to name the institution he works for out of embarrassment?

    We all know that since independence, the cabinet were chosen based on

    1) race and religion
    2) political parties quota, affiliation and hierarchy
    3) political leaders favourites and cronies
    4) etc

    ..... for selfish and self-interest reasons and to appease the racists and religious extremists (if chosen purely based on MERITOCRACY, Malaysia would have been one of the richest and most advanced country in Asia, if not the world. Instead we are an example of a failed state!)

    So you have morons and the incompetents in the cabinets, including the recent PH.

    Let's guess how the Perikatan National cabinet will look like. A third or more portfolios will go to a theocratic party which will only be competent in running the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. They will make a total mess of others.

    The rest of the cabinet will comprise those who employ racism, corruption, patronage, money politics and appointed idiots to stay in political power.

    Proven by the fact that the PM always hold the Finance portfolio concurrently and dumb and dumber and yesmen chosen so as NOT to pose a threat to the BOSS. The lack of intellect are accelerated from the top down.

    Wait and see.

    Posted 1 year ago by Malaysian First · Reply

  • The writer's eyes are half open and half close, that's probably the way he sees things.

    Posted 1 year ago by Tanahair Ku · Reply

  • The writer has no time for principles. To him the end is more important than the wishes of the rakyat. He is oblivious to the maxim that principles define a person. Lee and his kind is one major reason why the country is in the shit.

    Posted 1 year ago by Panchen Low · Reply

    • Agreed

      Posted 1 year ago by Yew Kit Yam · Reply

    • Agreed

      Posted 1 year ago by Yew Kit Yam · Reply

  • A government must first and foremost have legitimacy. Good governance can only be in consequence. Morality is subjective to many factors in a pluralistic and multicultural society such as ours.
    The present govt seized power by immoral and unethical means but it is still legitimate. This legitimacy must be put to the test at the next sitting of parliament and ultimately be decided by the people.

    Posted 1 year ago by G.Selva Ganeson · Reply

    • Agreed

      Posted 1 year ago by Yew Kit Yam · Reply

  • What if the Front door and Back door both also can deliver? On top of that the Front door government was already in the middle of delivering? You still want to try out an untested back door delivery? With this I believe the Principle of a legitimately government takes front seat.

    Posted 1 year ago by Teo Kh · Reply