Photo – Institute of Policy Studies

While acknowledging that Malaysia’s ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) is undergoing teething issues, Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago rejected the assertion of Singapore’s former Ambassador-at-Large Bilahari Kausikan’s that PH is “falling apart”.

Mr Santiago’s response to Mr Kausikan’s comments was published on Malaysiakini on Tue (26 Feb).

“I am not denying that Malaysia’s ruling coalition is experiencing teething problems, but we are certainly not collapsing,” wrote Mr Santiago.

“Yes, we are falling short of some election manifesto promises. But we are also seeing significant improvement.

“For example, an administrative overhaul by the government will see nine agencies operating as independent entities and reporting directly to Parliament.

“Among these are the Election Commission, the MACC, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia and the National Audit Department,” he added.

“Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad,” added Mr Santiago, “is focusing on repairing damage in the administrative machinery and improving the country’s financial position, which is hampered by huge debts”, in addition to “sticking to institutional reforms, particularly weeding out corruption”.

“So to wave a pretty wand and take pot shots at Pakatan Harapan only goes to demonstrate Kausikan’s rather shallow analytical skills,” charged Mr Santiago, adding: “He did not stop to think that his observation is not befitting that of a long-standing diplomat.”

“Maybe Kausikan was hoping that with his radical comment the mainstream media would start fizzing like a freshly opened soda bottle,” he quipped.

Mr Santiago also pointed out an error made by Mr Kausikan in sharing “untrue news” regarding Bersatu, a component party under PH, from a reportedly dubious source.

He alleged that Mr Kausikan had “shared an article by parody news site The Tapir Times, which claimed that Mahathir’s party, Bersatu, vowed to only accept Umno MPs who have less than 10 pending criminal charges”.

“If Kausikan can’t understand parody from a self-identified troll website, I wonder how he comprehends regional politics?

“And this time around, he has made a media headline that won’t age well,” concluded Mr Santiago.

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