The Road to Reform is a book that being written for the sake of the peoples of Selangor which is obviously have it's own political millage for the Pakatan itself. Even though it seems that all the writers seem to be judging the Selangor state government fairly by taking note of some of the flaw being done by the state government nevertheless it is more than a book of compliment to Pakatan.
It was written by various peoples from a variety backgrounds to fulfill its own objective from various areas of discussion. It consist of four part; politics, economics, society and culture. As it was written by various peoples I have to admit that there were issues were being repeated a few times by some of the writers. Tricia Yeoh should pay more attention to the focus that all the writers should write on to avoid this.
Here, I highlighted some of the assays that have a strong view for the state government.
1. Law, Constitution and Governing (Yeo Yang Poh)
According to Yeo, good governance, however, involves more than simply having good laws. He believe that it requires at least the simultaneous existence of the following components; Law that are sound, sensible, fair and just; An efficient administrative system; An independent and progressive judiciary; Strong and independent institutions; free media; and An educated public.
I agree with Yeo's points and reading his essays made me realized that it's not only the law is important but understanding the law by all is more important. Best words from Yeo Yang Poh:
"Justice and social struggles are a stage on which the curtain never falls."
2. Abdul Aziz Bari views more onto the federalism problem faced by the Selangor state government. I agree with him that some of the problem faced by the state government is due to the limited power that were caused by control by federal government. In order to effect real transformation there has to be a party or coalition at the federal level that is equally committed to a new ethos of governance as the state government of Selangor wishes to be.
3. I noted that Mavis Puthucheary as an associate professor at the Faculty of Economic and Administration, UM do keep her eyes on politics happen in Malaysia. She raised her concerns of PKR supporters that is not merely strong compared to PAS which is has been longer on the political scene. I also agree with a statement given by Mavis that Pakatan Rakyat must not sacrifice democratic principles for political expediency. This is true since that is the main reason why the voters chose them to lead the state.
4. Most of the writers show their concerns because the state government cannot hold any local council election. PKR and DAP seem to be very eager to bring back the local council election when they represent their manifesto.
5. The most fascinating issue on economy is the issue on water. Under the title Water for Rakyat, Tony Pua does explain what happen behind the scene of privatization that had been done to water in Selangor.
" In 2009, SYABAS was allowed under the agreement to raise its tariffs by up to 37 per cent. The tariffs are scheduled to be increased by up to 37 per cent. The tariffs are scheduled to be increased by up to 25% in 2012, 20% in 2015, 10% in 2018 and 5% in 2021. The water privatisation process in Selangor has effectively been hugely lucrative. Concessions were granted to politically-linked private companies with neither the skills nor experience in the water industry, nor the necessary equity funds to operate these business. As a result, the residents of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur were forced to pay high prices for the water supply, unreasonable penalties as well as often poor service quality."
Instead of that, there are not much reform were done by the Selangor state government on education. This is due to the limited power that they can act on education since it was under the federal goevernment. Only a few new program were introduced like Jejak Ilmuan, education funds and scholarship.
Besides there are also certain issues regarding freedom of information were raised on Part4: Culture written by Mustafa K. Anuar. For me, freedom of the media is still far away from my expectation from the state government. They ought to improve more if they want to win the peoples' heart for the next election. They shouls provide full information to the public on what actually happened in the government.
I am quite disappointing by Fahda Nur Ahmad Kamar writing about the youth in Selangor. It is a need for involving the youth with a clean and healthy politics from now not only giving them 'youth programmes'. I dont agree with Fahda that young people in general primarily seek two things opportunity and security. Young peoples for me should be entertain as an adult now and let them be more matured for a brighter future of Malaysia.
Overall other issues that being raised in the books are about Women, Orang Asli, BTN, education, water, and etc. It is not the best medium to know all about the state government but this book is one of the way to view on the Selangor state progressed. I am in the same mode as Mavis which she believe that the biggest challenge of Pakatan Rakyat is how to maintain a sense of unity in a coalition rocked by internal tensions and contradictions.
However, overall The Road to Reform does show the sincerity and the courage of the state governments to make sure that the peoples know what had being done by them. Compared to the previous experience there is no such book being published. Not to mention, however I am kind of disappointed because there are no such step were being taken by Penang, Kedah and Kelantan as the Selangor state government have done. Whats up guys??
Finally, good and clean governance can work and Selangor should show us it does happen. The state government of Selangor must be aware that they don't have time since change should be now!
p/s: hmm 3 stars for the books..