Abdullah Badawi was a better PM, says DAP MP

Former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was a better prime minister than his successor Najib Abdul Razak, says DAP’s Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong.

Liew (right) said at very least, Abdullah had a clearer vision of the country’s future although he failed “miserably” to see it through, such as his attempts to reform the police force.

“At the least there was an agenda. There was a clear agenda on the police, which he failed to deliver, but at least we know what could be the benchmark.

“At least there is some discussion of what Malaysia could have been, but today we don’t hear that. Today we don’t even discuss what Malaysia could have been, what could be the future?” he said.

Liew was speaking at a forum in Kuala Lumpur today held in conjunction with the launch of the book Bangkit, the Malay edition of an earlier English language book, The Awakening, on Abdullah’s tenure as prime minister.

Abdullah served as prime minister from 2003 to 2009, and had formed a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on police reform in 2004.

‘Abdullah’s term was more democratic’

A key recommendation of the RCI was to establish an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), but a watered-down version known as the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) was formed instead.

Liew said that although Abdullah’s tenure had been “chaotic”, it was more democratic compared with his predecessor Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s tenure, and that Abdullah was sincere in pushing his reforms, although failing to deliver.

He said this was likely because Abdullah tried to please too many interest groups.

Compared with other regional leaders, Liew said, unlike former Indonesian president BJ Habibie, Abdullah’s reforms failed to make a fundamental change in Malaysia’s institutions.

Meanwhile, another speaker, former law minister Mohd Zaid Ibrahim (right), also agreed that Abdullah was a better prime minister than Najib because he would not tolerate hatred and bigotry.

“This country can only be built and prosper on goodwill, on common grounds, on common values, on respect. If you destroy these fundamental criteria, you destroy (the country).

“So any leader who cannot defend these principles is not a leader in my book,” said Zaid, who served in Abdullah’s cabinet.

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