Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Datuk Seri Najib Razak will this morning hope to stanch the flow of negative headlines in Malaysia, with a slew of moves to address crime, corruption, public transportation and poverty.

The prime minister is scheduled to outline detailed initiatives, targets and the time frame for National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) at an event today. These plans will form the cornerstone of his government transformation project, a programme which Najib believes will help his administration ride through the storm of negative headlines and propel Barisan Nasional to victory at the next general elections.

Since November, the administration has been on the back foot following disclosures of the chauvinistic nature of Biro Tatanegara courses, the missing jet engines, and the controversy following a High Court decision allowing the Catholic Church’s Herald to use the word “Allah”.

The unabated flow of bad news has soured the political landscape, which had appeared to be becoming more accepting of Najib.

Before the “Allah” issue broke, the PM’s approval rating was around 65 per cent.

The Malaysian Insider has learnt that a pilot project conducted to reduce crime under the NKRA has proven successful and could be adopted to cut street crime in certain high risk areas.

A recent survey by the Merdeka Center showed that concern over the law and order situation in Malaysia was a main worry for Malaysians, surpassed only by the concern over the direction of the economy.

Aware of the cynicism on the ground over government programmes, Najib is likely to outline a timeline for the implementation of projects under the six areas of the NKRA. But missing will be a detailed roadmap of initiatives under the 1 Malaysia headline.

The Malaysia Insider has learnt that despite the efforts of Datuk Seri Idris Jala and his team, the objection by several Umno ministers have effectively scuttled wide-ranging and bold plans to improve race relations and remove some of the impediments to better ties among Malaysians of different races and religions.

During a retreat in December, several ministers including Datuk Rais Yatim and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin objected to several ideas, including a mediation council to resolves disputes between religions.

As a result, the document on 1 Malaysia initiatives today will be heavy on flowery rhetoric and thin on real mechanism and plans to improve race relations. For example, there is an acknowledgement that conversion cases and disagreements on the location of places of worship are incendiary points but no strategy or mechanism on how to deal with these issues.

Still, government officials believe that Najib will be able to win over doubting Malaysia with plans to combat crime, tackle corruption, widen access to education, raise the standard of living of the poor, improve public transportation and upgrade infrastructure in rural areas.

News courtesy of Malaysian Insider

1 comment:

Chauncey Gardener said...

Would be interesting to see or hear what the APCO PR consultant are really thinking !