Rebuilding trust in Barisan Nasional

MEMBERS of the government should remember to move cautiously to rebuild trust if they want 1Malaysia and Vision 2020 to succeed.

With some 2,000 nationwide activities, more than 2,000 projects and 100 programmes, the Government Transformation Programme by the administration declares that it “focuses on generating positive outcomes which are based on what the rakyat wants and needs (People first) by ensuring fast delivery of results (Performance now) to contribute to 1Malaysia and Vision 2020”.

I admit it takes a great plan to improve efficiency for the government bureaucracy. Unfortunately, in the enthusiasm to produce the visible public goodies to fulfil the National Key Result Areas identified to spearhead the government’s transformation, the government has neglected to care for and manage the public distrust for the Barisan Nasional as a political entity.

Poor communication and unprogressive comments by BN leaders dismissed, rather than effectively ministered to, concerns on issues like security (theft of jet engines and attacks on places of worship).

These contributed to heighten the suspicion of voters that BN has not learnt or understood a cause for its poor showing in the 2008 general election.

Literate Malaysians are served generous servings of unthinking and autocratic decrees from some ministers when replying to issues of constitutional rights in religion and right to information.

Apologetic acknowledgment of the problems without legislative follow-through over issues by BN’s large stable of politicians made the people more bewildered, agitated rather than informed.

Why are the lawmakers unable to perform their duty to effectively resolve the citizens’ fears and insecurities?

Perhaps, our Yang Berhormats’ media communications were not meant for the everyday rakyat’s consumption. Maybe their messages are a form of instructions for their underlings, not the rakyat.

I do not envy Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim who has to bear the load for 1Malaysia as the information,
communications and culture minister. I can empathise with his patriotic concern on the dangers of Twitter, Facebook and Internet culture affecting the Malaysian identity and culture. But his choice of words failed to convince minds and unfortunately, entrenched him as a Twitter celebrity for the wrong reasons among twitterers. Perhaps it is a result of a clash between the old and young lifestyles and changed aspirations.

It is commendable that political parties recognised the perils of modernity and have taken the trouble to invest and keep up their messaging through the combined forces of new and established media since its lesser electoral win in 2008.

However, fervent BN propagandists and their cyberspace avatars have diluted the message of BN’s love, caring and sharing vision for 1Malaysians.

News articles and web postings populate the Internet with more emotive religiosity, racism, magnifying distrust and plays on the illusion of Malays or Chinese or Indians under siege.

To be fair, it is not justifiable to rebuke only the members or fans for they must be severely limited in their training and the scope by BN’s political ideology of race nationalism.

Umno fights for Malay nationalism and bumiputraism. MCA usually retreats to negotiate behind closed doors for its Chinese “rights”. MIC is seen to beg for its Indian “rights”.

The words “fights”, “retreats” and “beg” invoke unintended responses in youths and the undecided voters’ brains.

And so, in the interest of political sustenance, relevancy and lifelong learning, it is not a bad option for BN leaders to go back to the drawing board, to understand that fundamental constructive approach to communication based on clear political ideology.

I applaud the Federal Court’s recent decision to uphold justice to protect landowners from losing their lands to forgers. After nine years of waiting under the shadow of the Adorna Properties decision, many landowners could finally be assured that their property rights are once again secure in law.

This is one good way to start again into the new economy.

Ho Aoi Ling
via email