Utilising The Memorandum To Achieve Reform And Stability

KEADILAN and our Pakatan Harapan partners acceptance of the government’s Memorandum was driven by our concern for the rakyat particularly on the need for institutional reforms and overcoming the socio-economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government must now promptly and comprehensively undertake the reforms it has promised.

It must redouble its efforts to fight Covid-19 in an inclusive, science-drive fashion, revive the economy as well as the livelihoods of all impacted Malaysians and decisively abandon the failed policies of the past with a bigger economic intervention.

There must be no more excuses or delays given that the current administration has accepted the Memorandum as well.

Responsibility for its success or failure lies in the words and deeds of the Prime Minister and his government.

The Memorandum is by no means a free pass or a carte blanche for them to do what they like.

The Opposition will continue to remain vigilant in its role as a watchdog to the government and the guardian of the national interest.

For its part, KEADILAN and PH will continue to discharge our duty as an active Opposition. This is not a Unity Government. We cannot and will not hesitate to call out or vote in Parliament against any move that hurts the welfare of the rakyat.

For instance, we will closely scrutinise the upcoming 2022 Budget to ensure that it not only benefits the rakyat, but also that it implements the highest standards of good governance and transparency in all spending.

If the government wishes our support to pass the Budget, it must live up to the spirit of the Memorandum and comprehensively negotiate all aspects of it to the satisfaction of PH before tabling it in Parliament.

The negotiations must also be done with the maximum amount of transparency possible and also involve related stakeholders where appropriate.

The Memorandum is hence not an end or suspension of Malaysia’s democratic and political process but an act of patriotism for the national interest on the part of KEADILAN and PH.

This same spirit will drive us to ramp up our work as a check-and-balance to the government with the goal of ensuring the country’s recovery as well as the upliftment of the rakyat.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
CHIEF ORGANISING SECRETARY
PARTI KEADILAN RAKYAT

Muhyiddin’s Political Appointees In GLCs Must Resign

With the resignation of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, it is only right that his polical appointees in the various GLCs, GLICs and other bodies immediately tender their resignations as well.

This is the proper and honourable thing to do.

With the resignation of the PM, their reasons and legitimacy to stay on in their posts has come to an end as well.

Most of these bodies are professionally run and so any disruption should be minimal.

However, Malaysia’s new government must commit to fill these positions professionally and based on merit rather than purely political considerations.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

Bankers Pay Hikes And Bonuses During Covid-19

There has been much controversy lately over senior bank officers in Malaysia receiving pay hikes, bonuses and other incentives despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the socio-economic straits it has put our country in, including many rakyat experiencing pay cuts or losing their jobs.

It is not wrong for companies—including government-linked ones—to reward and incentivise their talent, even in times of economic difficulty or crisis.

The question we should be asking rather is whether these benefits are justifiable against the performance of these banks.

It is true most of them turned a healthy profit. But we must also not forget that Malaysia’s banking sector is highly regulated now.

Turning a profit is, logically, the bare minimum in terms of how we judge the “performance” of our bankers.

So, what did they do to deserve these magnificent sums?

Also, the fact that the banks were able to pay out benefits like bonuses is surely empirical proof that the 2020 MCO loan moratorium had a negligible impact on the profitability of the banks.

Indeed, the moratorium arguably also helped stave off a deluge of non-performing loans (NPL) from their balance sheets.

As such, it is very strange that the banks and the current administration, particularly the Ministry of Finance, was adamant that the blanket loan moratorium should have been ended.

Why end it if they could still pay out these bonuses?

Why not—especially for the GLC banks who also have a national mission—be more compassionate and not hurt the livelihoods of millions of the rakyat in the pursuit of additional marginal revenue, whose purpose seems to be to fund high bonuses for the selected few?

Again, these are questions that the Boards of these banks and the Ministry of Finance must answer.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN CHIEF ORGANISING SECRETARY
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

Competency Of English Is Only Part Of The Challenges Facing Bumiputera Graduates

The Executive Director of the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) Shamsuddin Bardan has recently argued that the poor command of English is the main reason why Bumiputera graduates find it hard to get jobs in the private sector.

This is not a novel idea and indeed, Shamsuddin made this exact same argument in response to what was virtually the exact same question in 2018.

I do not deny that competency in the English language is a crucial skill that all Malaysians need. It is valuable in and of itself. And I also do not deny that it is a problem facing many Malaysian graduates—Bumiputera or otherwise.

But it is just one component of the problem. It may be a very big one, perhaps the biggest—but again, it is just one piece of the puzzle.

The danger is that we rely on simplistic assumptions in trying to understand a complex issue, especially if it involves blaming the real victims of a problem.

The fact is that the Malaysian job market has become more challenging in general over the last couple of years.

Indeed, it is no stretch to say that it has collapsed, and this will likely be compounded by the recession created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jobs can be created, but if there are not well-paying, or rather, if they don’t provide opportunities for growth, no one—except perhaps cheap migrant labour—will take them.

You cannot demand workers surrender to perpetually low-paying jobs they can never escape from—which leaves them nothing to save or build families with.

On the other hand, academic studies such as 2016’s seminal “Degrees of Discrimination: Race and Graduate Hiring in Malaysia” by Dr. Muhammed Abdul Khalid and Dr. Lee Hwok Aun has shown that there are real instances of private sector discrimination against Bumiputera graduates.

Moreover, Shamsuddin contradicts himself when he reportedly said that: “There’s no need to be afraid or shy because when they improve, they will benefit from it, too. Companies can then teach them other skills.”

But how are Bumiputera graduates supposed to get such on-the-job-skills when they won’t even be hired in the first place because of the English issue?

Am I saying English is unimportant or should be ignored? I am not. Should employers be forced to hire mediocre workers? Of course not.

But the point I am trying to make is that there are nuances to the Bumiputera graduate unemployment issue than just a case of poor English skills. The same can be said for the challenges facing graduates of all races in Malaysia.

Solving this dilemma requires holistic solutions—including overhauling our education system, ensuring just wage growth and incentivizing companies to constantly upskill as well as develop their workforces to boost productivity.

But these won’t happen if we are stuck in the belief that the onus is only on the workers to improve themselves without any aid from the government or private sector. This is simply not realistic and will hurt all sides—including business owners—in the long-run.

The MEF’s stand is hence tone deaf. But it is also par on course when one considers that this organisation, perhaps unsurprisingly, has always resorted to blaming workers for their plight rather than confront the real issues at hand.

It would be very unfortunate if the current government takes such wrong-headed and dangerous ideas seriously—if it ever gets down to formulating serious and much-needed policies to address our deepening unemployment crisis.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN PARLIAMENTARY SPOKESPERSON ON EDUCATION
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

The Decision On The Najib Case

Justice has been done today with the conviction of Dato’ Sri Najib Razak in the SRC International case involving all 7 charges of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering.

This proves that the years-long struggle to expose and bring to justice the abuses of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal by so many patriotic Malaysians has finally been vindicated.

There should be no longer any doubt that a grievous wrong was done to Malaysia via the 1MDB scandal. The rakyat can now judge for themselves after years of attempts at denial and obfuscation not just by Najib but by his enablers.

It is crucial that the various investigations, court cases and efforts to recover stolen funds in relation to 1MDB must continue without delay, fear or favour.

Every cent that was stolen must be returned and all guilty parties brought to justice.

While today’s court case is a welcome development, it is just the beginning and not an end in the cause to bring this sordid saga to an end.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN CHIEF ORGANISING SECRETARY
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

All Parties Have Stated Their Positions , Focus Should Be On The Rakyat

The Opposition should not be focused on positions but on defending the interests of the rakyat in these difficult times.

We should not be trying to relitigate the past but focused on the future. Still, it cannot be denied that Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the 2018 General Elections was not the sole work of any one individual or party.

It was a collective effort, borne by the sacrifices of many, which came to fruition because of the support of the people of Malaysia.

The rakyat backed us because of our Buku Harapan manifesto as well as our pledge that a transition of power would take place. That is what defeated UMNO-Barisan Nasional. That is why KEADILAN won 47 seats, DAP 42, BERSATU 13, AMANAH 11 and our ally WARISAN 8 in that election.

Again, we should not be preoccupied with questions about who our next Prime Ministerial candidate should be. Each party, including Pakatan Harapan has stated its position. The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament has also been named. These facts should be respected.

The crucial thing is for the parties in Opposition to concentrate on working to hold the government accountable for its actions as well as to ensure that there are wise policies in place to facilitate an economic recovery.

We were sent to Parliament to make sure that Malaysians have the jobs, education, aid and opportunities they deserve.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN ORGANISING SECRETARY
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT