Ministers, you've fewer than 100 days left to prove competent

IN just over three years, Malaysians are “lucky” to have had the luxury of experiencing four different governments. We had Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan, Perikatan Nasional and now a government with no specific identity. God has given us the privilege of evaluating and learning from each of them.

Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and it is unfair to compare them against one that has had longer experience.

To the new government, hats off to the finance minister who invited the public to share ideas for Budget 2022.

Meanwhile, the sports minister made two apologies in a period of just over two weeks. The first was over a misunderstanding about a statement on the Super League, even before he officially began his duties. Another was for a miscommunication in the reopening of gymnasiums in states under phases 2 and 3 of the national recovery plan, as his deputy was either misquoted or misinformed. His deputy had said that the gymnasiums would reopen from September 17 onwards.

On August 11, the Home Ministry secretary-general said the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme would be reactivated with improvements in the security and economic aspects. New applications will be processed and managed by the Immigration Department beginning October. The cabinet agreed on July 14 and 30 to the suggested improvements. 

The improvements are to ensure that only those who are of “good quality”, genuine and can contribute to the nation’s economy are admitted. The programme was suspended in September 2018 for a review.

Amid calls to review the improvements the home minister told foreigners not to worry and gave assurance that he would take another look at their standing. He pointed out the programme had not been updated or reviewed for almost 20 years. The Johor ruler said it would dent the country’s revenue and frighten off investors.

Most existing MM2H permit holders will no longer be eligible under the new programme.

I do not wish to dwell on the security and economic aspects or whether it is timely but the process itself.

Notice it was the secretary-general who announced the improvements and not the minister. Incidentally, the minister is from the PN government.

It begs the question whether it was thoroughly discussed with input from stakeholders? And why is the Home Ministry taking over the programme from the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry?

Strangely, Sarawak has its own MM2H programme under the Sarawak Tourism Board with slight differences in requirements and incentives.

Compare the above with the Youth and Sports Ministry. The “misquoted” announcement was made by the deputy minister where the minister had to apologise later. Similarly with the miscommunication on the Super League.

There seems to be no proper and in-depth discussions and understanding among the minister, his deputy and the civil service.

It does not augur well for the Keluarga Malaysia concept.

It would be an arduous task to save our family (Keluarga Malaysia) from the pandemic and other issues if there is no cohesiveness at the top.

I am attracted to what the sports minister said, “…I will work hard with deputy minister, Ti Lian Ker and my colleagues at the ministry to improve the quality of sports, and not to talk politics and unnecessary things.” 

I trust the prime minister will caution all ministers and deputies on these issues and when the 100 days is up with not much improvements, to take the necessary actions and not merely give a slap on the wrist.

One more thing, if we need  “good quality” MM2H participants, what about foreign workers, are we happy with them?

What say you… – September 19, 2021.

* Saleh Mohammed reads The Malaysian Insight.

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

Sign up or sign in here to comment.