By John Isaac
TAN Sri Rafidah Aziz, the tough-talking former trade minister, sees a need for concern over the state of leadership in Malaysia, saying many people wanted to “be in charge” despite lacking the competence to do so.
Rafidah, who served as international trade minister for two decades under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said there was a stark difference between ”being in charge” and actually “taking charge”.
Breaking down several problems faced by Malaysia, Rafidah said one of the biggest issues was that the country’s politicians often went against their word.
“To me, what you say is what you will do, and actually would have done,” she told FMT in an interview. “So when you don’t do that, and there is a mismatch between what you say and what you do, then there is no credibility. When you have no credibility, everyone has no confidence (in you).”
She also spoke about the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration’s tendency to sugarcoat its statements while promoting various stimulus packages. Instead, the government must be honest and “communicate from the heart”.
However, the PN government has gained a reputation for marching to the beat of their own drum by declaring an emergency and gazetting ordinances that allow it to dip into the National Trust Fund.
“You look at it from that context, instead of getting votes, you’re losing votes left and right. The people are not happy. There is no reason for an emergency.”
Rafidah also said she worried for the future of governance in Malaysia, given that many experienced civil servants were now either retired or on the brink of retiring and in the meantime younger officials were taking charge without proper guidance and nurturing about public service.
Rafidah said there was a need for proper and pre-emptive planning, instead of government leaders making one-line announcements without knowing how to elaborate further.
“Life is simple if you know how to organise things,” she said “It’s only when you are not competent and lack management abilities that everything becomes complicated and messy,” she said.