Malaysia Dateline

Monitoring The Government by Barisan Nasional

1. The move by the Barisan Nasional (BN) to form a task force to monitor the government is commendable more so when the Parliament has been rendered ineffectual by the emergency.

2. It’s better late than never. The BN, in particular Umno, might not have found themselves in political purgatory had such a committee been formed when they were in power.

3. Instead the three key people in the committee – Mahdzir Khalid, Azalina Othman and Johari Abdul Ghani – were in the thick of things that contributed to the defeat of the coalition in the 2018 general elections. Other members of the committee is Richard [email protected] of Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) and Sivarraajh Chandran of the MIC.

4. I had as early as the mid-1990’s been urging Umno, of which I was a member from 1983 to 2015, to make a distinction in its role as a political party representing the Malays and the lead member of the Barisan Nasional (BN) arguing that what the BN government did would not necessarily benefit the Malays. Of course it fell on deaf ears. Umno was then too mighty to bother with the nitty gritty.

5. But the formation of the committee may not be for altruistic reason entirely. The party needs to monitor and put a brake on the breakaway mentality of its own leaders who are members of Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

6. Incidentally, Mahdzir himself was amply rewarded by Muhyiddin with the prestigious and well paid chairmanship of Tenaga Nasional Berhad. So can he be independent and impartial in his monitoring of Muhyiddin’s government?

7. Azalina is one of the two Deputy Speakers of the suspended Dewan Rakyat. She represents the government side but, to her credit, she did speak up against the House suspension.

8. Johari is a business and as former Finance Minister Two of the defeated Mohd Najib Abdul Razak BN government. He was responsible for some of the major business decisions that have proven to be burdensome to the country and the people like the purchase by Felda of the shares of Peter Sondakh’s Eagle High Plantations in Indonesia.

9. Johari is building up a formidable presence in the media and information industry through the purchase of shares in Media Prima Berhad and is rumoured to have also participated in the ownership of the news portal Free Malaysia Today. He is reported to own 9.89 percent of Media Prima shares. He is also majority shareholder and chairman of KUB Malaysia Berhad.

10. The committee is divided into five teams namely education headed by Mahdzir, economy led by Johari, law and democracy (Azalina), national unity (Richard [email protected]) and 18-year-old voting (Sivarraajh Chandran).