Astro Awani’s Consider This Program Debat With Ambiga Sreenevasan

In this excerpt from the 27 February episode of #ConsiderThis on Astro AWANI hosted by Melisa Idris and Sharaad Kuttan, I debate with Ambiga Sreenevasan on whether a unity government or minority government is the best way to solve Malaysia’s current political crisis.

First time Sharaad interviewed me was in 2001 when I was a 19 year old kid who just got hooked onto Reformasi.

Credit: Astro Awani.
Full video: https://www.facebook.com/astroawani/videos/1126734654385391/

Unity or Minority Government? Nik Nazmi debates Ambiga

In this excerpt from the 27 February episode of #ConsiderThis on Astro AWANI hosted by Melisa Idris and Sharaad Kuttan, I debate with Ambiga Sreenevasan on whether a unity government or minority government is the best way to solve Malaysia's current political crisis.First time Sharaad interviewed me was in 2001 when I was a 19 year old kid who just got hooked onto Reformasi.Credit: Astro Awani. Full video: https://www.facebook.com/astroawani/videos/1126734654385391/

Posted by Nik Nazmi on Thursday, 27 February 2020

The Pakatan Harapan Consensus Is The Better Choice Compared To The ‘Non-Party Government’

Not long after the broadcast by PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday, the Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council came out with its own press conference at the KEADILAN Headquarters.
It was officially revealed that Pakatan Harapan – KEADILAN, DAP and AMANAH MPs nominated Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for PM.
Malaysia doesn’t need this the proposed ‘Non-Party Government’ even with the best possible intentions.
This proposed form of government is only ever really necessary during a time of great national crisis, such as how the UK had all-party coalitions or “National Governments” during The World War 1 the Great Depression and World War 2.  
One could argue that Malaysia is facing a “crisis” right now, what with the global Covid-19 outbreak and weakening economy. However, no other country in the world has chosen to meet these challenges by suspending their political processes or expecting their parties to surrender their autonomy to one leader.
The choice conveyed to His Majesty Yang Dipertuan Agong among three blocs of MPs are clear: Anwar as PM, Dr Mahathir as PM or dissolution of Parliament.  There is no consensus on the matter and I believe the option with the biggest bloc of support – Anwar – is worthy of consideration.
Dr Mahathir likes to use the example of Japan, but post World War 2 Japan never had to resort to all-party governments or setting up unaccountable leaders with no checks-and-balances.
Indeed, the only real “crisis” Malaysia is facing currently is the one manufactured by the “Langkah Sheraton” plotters. They are the ones who rejected Pakatan Harapan’s consensus and manifesto. So the urgency for a “unity government” is simply not there. Also, the utility of such an arrangement is questionable.
We must allow our nation’s constitutional processes to take their course. Setting aside “politics” is not going to help improve our economy or ease the distrust between our different communities.
NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN CHIEF ORGANISING SECRETARY
KEADILAN CENTRAL LEADERSHIP COUNCIL MEMBER
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR SETIAWANGSA

What Stunt Is PAS Trying To Pull?

What stunt is PAS trying to pull with its so-called “confidence motion” for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to continue as Prime Minister for a full term?

Clearly, the party is not acting in good faith.

There’s really no need for it. The current administration’s position in the Dewan Rakyat is not in question.
The government is still in the majority with 139 of the 222 seats (i.e. 129 from Pakatan Harapan and 9 from Warisan as well as 1 from UPKO).

No one has tried to lodge a vote of no confidence.

Indeed, PAS’ motion, assuming it even gets debated and passed (because government business takes precedence in Parliament) is in no way legally binding.

It won’t prevent Dr Mahathir from resigning when he wants to. And the government will still fall if someone manages to get a motion of no-confidence passed later on.

Also, PAS’ behaviour is strange given that it’s ally UMNO has just won 2 Parliamentary by-elections straight.
A normal, rational Opposition would be using this as proof that the incumbent government is losing the confidence of the people, not trying to enter it through the backdoor.

Indeed, most of its GE14 campaign was focused on demonising Dr Mahathir.

So why is PAS going against the wishes of its voters as well as those of its so-called “Muafakat Nasional” ally, UMNO and Barisan Nasional?

There’s all kinds of rumours that this will be the precursor of the formation of a new, “backdoor” government.
The purpose of this move is supposedly to prevent Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from becoming Prime Minister as agreed under the PH consensus.

The legitimacy and sustainability of such a government, that would more or less be monoethnic in every possible scenario, would be deeply problematic.

Also, it would be atypical of PAS to engage in such tactics, given that they fell victim to “backdoor tactics” during the 1977 Kelantan Emergency.

Basically, there was a split in PAS (which was then part of BN) between Kelantan Menteri Besar Dato Mohamed Nasir and party President Tan Sri Asri Muda.

The Kelantan State Assembly then had 36 seats: PAS had 22, UMNO 13 and MCA 1.

20 of the PAS State Assemblymen passed a no-confidence motion against Nasir, while the BN reps walked out.
The Menteri Besar refused to resign and attempted to dissolve the legislature. Protests broke out.

An emergency was declared, lasting between 8 November 1977—12 February 1978, essentially allowing the Menteri Besar to remain in office.

PAS was ousted from BN while Nasir created the BERJASA party. In March 1978, elections were held in Kelantan: UMNO won 23 seats, BERJASA 11 and PAS 2.

UMNO ended up with the Kelantan Menteri Besar-ship while BERJASA then joined the BN. However, PAS regained Kelantan in 1990 and has held it ever since.

PAS had for decades been campaigning on its victimisation by UMNO in 1977. Indeed, this was why the late Tuan Guru Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat was vehemently against any future PAS-UMNO tie-ups.

I can only hope that PAS return to becoming the responsible Opposition they once were.

There’s so much work to be done for Malaysia—including navigating the renewed global economic uncertainty due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

PAS can either help the country or make a nuisance of themselves. The choice is theirs.
Either way, the rakyat will judge.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN CHIEF ORGANISING SECRETARY
KEADILAN CENTRAL LEASERSHIP COUNCIL MEMBER
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

Learn From The Mistakes Of PPSMI

I strongly urge the government to reconsider the announcement made by the Prime Minister cum Acting Minister of Education, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad over the possible revival of the use of English in the teaching of science and mathematics in Malaysian schools.

We must accept the importance of English, but to reintroduce PPSMI has a major impact on the effectiveness of education. It is hence important for us to recall why the PPSMI was abandoned back in 2012.

Basically, the PPSMI as implemented led to students with weak English skills facing difficulty in learning mathematics and science.

An entire generation of students from such backgrounds were arguably “lost” to those subjects as a result.

Indeed, there were teachers during that period who faced the dilemma whether to make the switch to English as they had students who simply could not keep up.

This was to say nothing of the fact that there were also educators whose English was not good and who could not be brought up to scratch or be easily replaced.

We must be clear about what our objectives are in the first place.

If Malaysians want to strengthen the standard of English among students, we should work to improve the quality of that subject and its syllabus in our schools.

That would do more to improve the standard of English in our country rather than switching the teaching of other subjects to it.

On the other hand, if we want to strengthen our mastery of mathematics and science, we should not forget that the Dual Language Programme (DLP) has been in place since 2016.

The DLP basically gives eligible schools the flexibility to use either Malay or English in their teaching based on the capacities of their students and choice of parents.

I am sure that this is the better approach as parents and individual schools will have a better gauge of their own students and teacher’s abilities compared to a one-size-fits-all system.

Look I am a father of a school-going kid in a national school. I would rather the government make the existing system work than keep tinkering with things.

We should avoid making sudden and changes to our education system without planning and patience. The students and teachers will suffer as a result.

We should be seeking to uphold the spirit of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 that was issued by the-then Minister of Education, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. The parameters that it set ought to remain the framework that governs our educational policies.

Our focus should be ensuring that all Malaysians have access to the best educational opportunities possible as well as boosting investment in the same.

Also, efforts to strengthen Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) should continue, as well as ensuring that our students at all levels are being prepared to compete in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Again, what is required is consultation, foresight and patience.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN CHIEF ORGANISING SECRETARY
KEADILAN CENTRAL LEADERSHIP COUNCIL MEMBER
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

Thoughts On Opportunities And Challenges For Kuala Lumpur 2020

Most of the key issues in KL are all related to the economy and development. The level of development and per capita income in the city can be said to be almost, or on par with developed countries.

However, the issues stem from the fact that the B40 in KL are often overlooked because of their higher income than their counterparts from rural areas and even other towns, while the cost of living in KL is not taken into account.

With regards, to income disparity, there is indeed no easy short-term solution.

The increase in minimum wage is positive. In fact, KL should be the pioneer for a living wage that was proposed by Bank Negara. In addition, programs for interventions in welfare, education and health should be expanded.

There is a lot to be done to improve the environment in PPRs, and I believe it is important to focus on children.

That is why I have innovated on what I learned with the Mentari Project in PJ with the Tunas Mentari football project in PPR Air Panas and the Reading Bus Program in AU3.

In the long term, I believe we should have some form of local council elections. But we must acknowledge there still exists long-held fears of racial dominance, dating to the days of 1960s, which was borne through local council elections as well.

The government should conduct a study on how to implement a system that is inclusive and will dispel any fears. Even if we cannot implement in nationwide, the democratic deficit justifies KL to have an elected local government.

KL is a city with a lot of potential, and really the sky’s the limit. However, we need to move beyond the nitty-gritty issues.

We need to focus on public transport, as it is crucial for the city. There has been a lot of work done by Prasarana, FT Ministry and DBKL in improving this.

Previously the free GoKL bus service was only utilised by tourists and foreigners due to its routes which mainly serves the downtown area of the city.

Now, the expanded and new routes go through residential areas and connect with existing LRT/MRT lines. We should look at restarting MRT3, whether using the original route or an improved route.

Ultimately, the KL City Plan must be viewed holistically for a sustainable development of the city. We can allow development, but work harder in providing new PPR areas to ensure the city remains inclusive.

At the same time, the character of KL must be preserved whether it is about the city’s heritage or green areas.