Senator Liew Chin Tong acknowledged today that the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition’s image of a thriving democratic Malaysia is still on shaky ground after a regime change.
He noted PH continues to be plagued by rumours of factionalism, and that one of the biggest threats is the perception of “difficult” relations between Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his designated successor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“… imagine if Anwar were forced to work with Zahid Hamidi’s Umno while Dr Mahathir with Hishammuddin Hussein’s Umno. Both ideas are non-starters and bad for Malaysian democracy.
“Realising this potential nightmare, I believe that both Pakatan leaders will come to a common ground for the sake of Malaysia,” the DAP political education director said.
Liew, known for his past election strategies for DAP, described PH as a “grand coalition” that needs a lot of work to keep the sum of its parts together as it seeks to reconstruct the country as a proper democracy after six decades of authoritarian rule under the Umno-led alliance.
He said “for a democracy to thrive, the government needs to accept that governing is not just the decisions of ministers and top bureaucrats” but the involvement of all the institutions and a free press so the public can participate.
Liew also said change is never easy, and that changing how a nation is run and organised is not a painless task, but said it is Malaysians’ “collective responsibility” to make Malaysia work as a democracy.
He urged Malaysians to be more proactive and reject the narratives that say they are not ready or mature enough for democratic rights and freedoms.
“Now, we are an infant democracy that needs everyone to nurture it with keen interest, patience and tolerance,” he said.