Exactly one year ago, Malaysia experienced its first regime change in history. A lot of things has happened since then, and lots of them silly. Welcome to the countdown of our picks for the top 10 Pakatan Harapan fails.
At number 10, the black shoe policy. As his first directive as Education Minister, Dr Maszlee chose to focus on the colour of our children’s shoes instead of tackling the myriad of issues plaguing national education. Without citing sources, he said many had complained about how easily soiled white shoes can be. No wonder he will now forever be stuck with his legacy as a “Shoe Minister”.
Number 9, fake degrees. It started with people questioning the authenticity of Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya’s degree which he claimed to have acquired from Britain’s University of Cambridge. Only after a police report was lodged did he finally admitted his degree was actually from a suspected degree mill. Soon, five other Pakatan Harapan’s Ministers and Excos were accused of possessing dubious qualifications. Embarrassing, especially coming from a coalition that claims to be full of integrity.
Number 8, the broken promise of UEC. Right before GE14, former opposition and current Deputy Education Minister, Teo Nie Ching, uploaded a video of her declaring that PH would immediately sign and recognise UEC as soon as her team won federal power. This promise was also made in ink within the pages of their election manifesto — Buku Harapan. However, when the time came for her to make good on her words, her ministry announced that a five-year study would need to be conducted beforehand, effectively pushing the issue till after the next general election.
Number 7, the flying car project. The contraption you see here looks like a toy drone that you could easily buy online for a hundred ringgit, maybe two hundred tops. But, it took the government RM1 million to build this. Really? Even Dr Mahathir didn’t look too pleased with it here. Still, Entrepreneur Development Minister Redzuan Yusof declared it a success by his ministry in the aerospace sector.
Number 6, increasing matriculation intake. In their haste of appearing “reformist” while still keeping the 90:10 quota, the PH Cabinet had come up with the bad idea of expanding matriculation intakes to 40,000 students. The economics of this decision was not properly thought through. For instance, the number of public university spots has not increased correspondingly, resulting eventually in an excess of STPM and matriculation graduates with nowhere to go.
Number 5, the third national car. After his first pet project — Proton, failed spectacularly, requiring billions of taxpayers money to bail it out, Dr Mahathir sets his eyes on yet another car project. Despite repeatedly assuring that this time around, it will be funded fully by the private sector, an estimated RM20 million of public funds had already been injected into the R&D phase of the third national car.
Number 4, abolishing tolls. Back when he was in the opposition, Tony Pua smugly claimed that he could abolish all tolled highways for only RM25 billion, a mere fraction of the RM400 billion cost cited by the PH government when they took power. Clearly, he would be the best man for the job but where is he now? To date, the furthest PH had gotten with toll abolition was rebranding it as congestion charges.
Number 3, leapfrogging. In a bid to strengthen his tiny party in the PH coalition, Dr Mahathir started welcoming en masse opposition MPs who jumped ship. He even accepted former PAC chairman Ronald Kiandee into his ranks. This triggered outrage throughout the local political scene as the PAC portfolio was reserved for the opposition to perform check-and-balance. So much for PH’s pledge to be an incorruptible and transparent government.
Number 2, Lynas. Many leaders of PH promised the closure of Lynas refinery plant, and one even vowed to burn the factory down himself. Nonetheless, Lynas continues to pump out toxic waste till today one year after PH took charge. There is no way to dispose of the waste safely, so they had to store it on our grounds. Even Lynas home country Australia refuse to take the waste back.
Number 1, the RM1 trillion national debt. All our economic headache and downturns today can be traced back to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. In order to find an omnipotent excuse for all of PH’s unkept promises, he irresponsibly and erroneously exaggerated our national debt. On the bright side, the plan worked: many ate up Lim’s misreporting without question. Unfortunately, foreign investors took him for his words too. In the following months, our economy plunges and right now, ringgit is the worst currency in Asia.