Ministers need to buck up

K. Kabilan

Some of Anwar Ibrahim’s cabinet members have yet to show what is required of them: to work urgently to revive the economy, provide more quality education, address the cost-of-living issue and prepare better health facilities and infrastructure. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, May 26, 2023.

Commentary by K. Kabilan

IT is almost six months since Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced his cabinet of 28 ministers. There are also 27 deputy ministers to help the administration.

When the announcement was made on December 3 last year, the new government claimed that this was a smaller cabinet in recent years, but one that would do the job to set Malaysia on the right track again.

Anwar said his ministers, who will all take a pay cut like himself, would have to work urgently to revive the economy, provide better education, address the cost-of-living issue and prepare better health facilities and infrastructure.

In January, in his first monthly address to the Prime Minister’s Department staff, Anwar once again reminded the cabinet members to emerge from the culture of contentment and earnestly implement change in the national administrations.

He said the ministers and civil servants must have a desire to bring about change.

“The system has been consolidated for decades but there must be humility to acknowledge… there are strengths but when we have new people, there must be a desire to bring change… we must not allow the culture of contentment to bog us down,” he said.

Fast forward to the present day, one does wonder if the prime minister’s advice has actually been heeded by the ministers.

Why? Simply because many of us are still in the dark as to what some of them are doing to ensure Malaysia is reset on the right path in achieving greatness.

What are the mid-term and long-term plans of our ministers and their respective ministries to ensure that we get back on the right track, be competitive in the global arena and start our climb towards being a developed nation?

It is true that some ministers are more prominent than others, but some of the silent ones are sitting on important portfolios that decide Malaysia’s future growth.

They should be prominently announcing their plans, programmes and policies to take Malaysia to a greater heights.

Two things are clear from this situation.

First, are the ministers actually working? Maybe they are working their socks off to chart Malaysia’s growth in all areas.

But if that is the case, how come we are not hearing about it at all? Just posting bits and pieces on social media won’t do.

Second, the government’s information/propaganda unit is failing in its duty to inform people on what the ministers are doing. It has to be proactive in disseminating information about the short-term and long-term plans being initiated by all the ministers, and how they are being implemented.

The honeymoon period is over for our ministers. They will have to show the people that they are doing something concrete to make things better in Malaysia.

They must also remember that the government’s mandate is not to just make the prime minister look good at all times, or to charge opponents with corrupt accusations, or to talk politics. Their mandate is to ensure the promised reforms are put in place, starting now. – May 26, 2023.

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