(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): In the Philippines, the end-game in the crumbling and toppling of the Philippines President, Joseph Estrada in a "people’s power" revolt is being played out.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad will shed no tears for Estrada’s fall and may be personally delighted as he would not have forgotten or forgiven Estrada’s open support for Anwar Ibrahim when the former Deputy Prime Minister became an international cause celebre after his sacking and persecution by Mahathir.
However, Mahathir will at the same time feel increasingly isolated and threatened by pressures for reforms, as he has become the last survivor in this region who had refused to step down or yield to popular demands for far-reaching political, economic and social changes to introduce greater government openness, accountability and transparency; end corruption, cronyism and nepotism; restore human rights, the rule of law and democracy; and lead Malaysians to the new politics of Bangsa Malaysia and "Malaysian unity" instead of harking back to the old racial politics of divide and rule and "Malay Unity".
If there is any message from the recent Cabinet reshuffle, it is that Mahathir is not prepared to respond to the popular aspirations for far-reaching political, economic and social reforms and restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
This explains the Cabinet reshuffle which will make the latest Mahathir government the most unrepresentative in Malaysian history in having the most number of unelected Senators in any government since Independence in 1957, as well as the recent scandalous and outrageous corporate shenanigans like the RM1.79 billion government buy-out "bail-out" of Tajudin Ramli’s 29.09% stake in MAS as well as the RM6 billion bail-out of the two Light Rail Transport companies, STAR and Putra.
In the Philippines, the Vice President, Cabinet members and even top government officials are prepared to take a public stand to dissociate themselves from Estrada’s rule.
The question is whether there are equally patriotic Malaysians in the Cabinet and Government in the country who are prepared to make a public break with Mahathir to drive home the urgency for reforms in the country for the good of the nation and people.