One Malaysia: An empty slogan disguised as a solution

The thing about slogans is that we often fall into the trap of mistaking them for real solutions. The reality is that slogans by itself are often nothing more than convenient rhetoric with an inside as empty as a pauper’s pocket.

Thus far, One Malaysia has been just that. It is an empty slogan disguised as a solution. Like a lost child, we find it limbering confused and naked along Malaysia’s political road by virtue of it being left without a definition from its maker.

Utusan Malaysia’s whispering Awang Selamat has of course rather kindly ventured its take on One Malaysia and so have many others but until Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak breathes life into it with his own definition, the phrase has no value.

The wait for this may well be in vain. But should an official definition be forthcoming, the hope is that it will firstly describe this One Malaysia entity as something completely blind to race and colour but sensitive to the pain, suffering, potential and aptitude of any ordinary Malaysian.

On the matter of aptitude, it must be said that the new Prime Minister’s decision to apply Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in evaluating the performance of Ministers is one that is both refreshing and long overdue. It is for all intents and purposes the stick that seeks to enforce Individual Ministerial Responsibility.

In a country where the principle of Individual Ministerial Responsibility is almost completely alien, KPIs are the best way to boot out the poor performers. With proper implementation, the days where the Minister of Works keeps his job after a substandard public construction project comes to light is over.

Gone also are the days where the Minister of Youth and Sports manages to remain snug in her seat on the back of an official loss-making tin cup international youth football tournament played to no one in particular.

With any luck, the country will also see the Home Minister being booted out should he bungle up and purport to arrest a person under the draconian ISA “for her own protection”.

Ministers are reminded that Individual Ministerial Responsibility does not only cover his own actions. It also includes the overall performance of his ministry and his official’s actions or lack thereof. Poor marks in any of these areas will result in a lowly KPI which in turn must see the last of the Minister concerned.

Of course no one is holding their breath that the KPI system is going to work. However, putting cynicism aside, it must be said for now that at least there is a system in place. The enforcement is another matter.

Head Ministerial Prefect Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon has an unenviable job. The thought of him actually marking down and disciplining Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz would bring a wry smile to many faces.

At the end of the day though, should the Minister in charge of Performance Management fail to deliver, the new Prime Minister would have to walk the talk and remove him for falling short of his own KPI.

Now that would indeed be a right mess - the Minister in charge of Performance Management being sacked for poor performance.

Speaking of poor performance, the continued failure of the Penang Pakatan Government to appoint a new Deputy Chief Minister to replace Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin smacks of inefficiency. Having incessantly criticised Tun Pak Lah previously for procrastination, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should look himself in the mirror and ask why he too now moves at glacial speeds.

It is no excuse to say that political pressures or internal party issues need to be resolved first. That is not the people’s problem.

Pakatan’s delay in appointing a new Deputy Chief Minister for Penang and also in constituting the long awaited shadow cabinet is unacceptable. This stationary state of affairs must be resolved soon lest the people soon start to actually see little difference between the BN and the PR.

On the subject of delays, welcome back Elizabeth Wong. It took Pakatan long enough to return you to the people of Bukit Lanjan. (By DAVID D. MATHEW/MySinchew)

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