PUTRAJAYA, 23 Ogos -- Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob memulakan tugasnya sebagai Perdana Menteri kesembilan di pejabatnya di Bangunan Perdana Putra hari ini.
 --fotoBERNAMA (2021) HAK CIPTA TERPELIHARA PUTRAJAYA, Aug 23 -- Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob begins his official duty as the ninth Prime Minister of Malaysia at his office at Perdana Putra today. --fotoBERNAMA (2021) COPYRIGHT RESERVED

Cabinet does not inspire confidence

When you see the dreary Cabinet line-up with the usual faces of politicians who have been around for decades, do you feel inspired? No!

What else do you see? Many yes-men!

The Muhyiddin Yassin administration failed to kickstart the economy and save businesses and jobs. Despite emergency rule, the previous prime minister failed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Muhyiddin allowed his ministers and supporters to flout the social distancing and lockdown rules, then expected the rakyat to rigidly obey them. Why should they? Will Ismail allow the same double standards to continue?

The nation faces an uncertain future and the rakyat are afraid. Swapping ministers around like passing the parcel is not going to give them confidence in the Cabinet. Most of the ministers are known for their lack of performance in previous Cabinets. They have no new ideas about solving Malaysia’s innumerable problems, many of which revolve around race, religion and rasuah. How successful will this new Cabinet be in jumpstarting the economy?

Many also left problems unresolved, like education minister Radzi Jidin, who failed to handle the issue of sexual harassment and abuse in schools when he was in the previous administration.

Making Khairy Jamaluddin the health minister may take the spotlight away from the underperforming former minister, Dr Adham Baba, but the rakyat are reminded of Khairy’s stint as the former sports minister, when his ministry was embroiled in a scandal over the alleged embezzlement of RM107 million by an officer. Many questions remain unanswered.

Hishammuddin Hussein’s credibility as a former defence minister is questionable and yet, he is back in his former post. Same, too, with Hamzah Zainudin, the home minister.

Not surprisingly, the appointments under the new Cabinet have been met with scepticism. Many were in the same Muhyiddin government who were confident and euphoric that the Bersatu president would lead the nation back to glory. They were proven wrong.

They could not put the economy right, tackle the Covid-19 pandemic and unite the nation. Families are struggling, many are running out of cash, and businesses have shut down. It is not that foreign companies do not want to return, it is just that they do not trust the government.

Look at the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) debacle. If foreign individuals are treated shabbily, what’s to stop the government from reneging on its promises to foreign investors? The government messed up the MM2H rules because they wanted richer foreigners to pump more money into Malaysia, which is in deep financial trouble. Those who dictated the MM2H rules did not realise that really wealthy foreigners will not come to Malaysia.

If they wanted to stay in Southeast Asia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Bali are better places to retire. Those who do not wish to remain in the region will go to the Caribbean or the south of France or Dubai.

After losing much of our freedom under the administration, such as freedom of expression and the right to protest, how will women fare? The women in the Cabinet are not exactly inspirational material.

One test is to see if they will agree, without reservation, to ban child marriages. I think they won’t, because they will receive the opprobrium of the men who will say it is their religious right to marry a minor. In the end, Ismail will get nowhere because it’s all about pandering to the Malay electoral vote.

If he wants to make a difference and change Malaysia for the better, he needs to get rid of the NEP and affirmative action policies. He can’t because he needs to appease the voters. Instead of doing things for the good of the nation, he will only do things for his own benefit.