Voters have the right to change the government, but they must first give Pakatan Harapan the full five-year term to prove its mettle, former Umno veteran Rafidah Aziz said.
“Give them five years and if there is no visible change, then you have the right to replace them,” she added at a dinner talk organised by law firm Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill yesterday.
Rafidah stressed that the Harapan government’s performance cannot be gauged during a short period.
She was responding to critics who accused the government of policy U-turns and breaking pledges in its election manifesto.
She hit back at critics of Pakatan Harapan who threaten to vote the coalition out.
“Wah, so powerful ah. You do that at your own peril. Please give them time.
“Some of us are merely armchair critics, listening and watching, but try and do the work,” Rafidah said.
She added that the current government has to contend with so many problems.
“We are in a state of flux where we haven’t finished a term yet and have to contend with so many problems, external and internal.
“In this country, so many people want to be in charge. But we want people who can take charge and put the country’s interests first.”
To a question, Rafidah said religious bureaucrats should stay out of people’s private affairs.
“To me, no one shares my grave or sins and they cannot force their values on others,” she said
In a report today, The Star quoted Rafidah as saying that racial division in the country is festering because its diversity has been used or abused to suit political agendas or personal interests.
To stop it, she said policymakers must hear the voices of all segments of society and address their needs.
She said for one, socio-economic development policies will have to take into account the country’s diverse nature.
“The caveat is that these diversities must not be allowed to evolve into issues that can become political platforms that trigger and reinforce dissent and disagreement.
“When we have diversity like in Malaysia, there is a need for a balancing act – trying to develop the nation, balancing the pressures and demands of some segments of society.
“You cannot simply ignore (their voices),” she was quoted as saying.
Rafidah said there is racial division because “there are people out there whose job in life is to create trouble”.
She said they can stir up trouble by at any time by fanning issues about dignity or issues about one’s ancestry.
With today’s social media, what they say will reach a greater audience, therefore the impact is greater than what it was in the past with “surat layang” (poison-pen letters), she added.