A strong system of two political coalitions — the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) — has given the BN the opportunity to restore its image and bring about better change, according to Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said the political change following the general election in March portrayed the BN as being more transparent, and it has been able to fulfill its commitment to bring about a more transparent government.

“The change includes the passing of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Bill 2008 and the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2008.

“In fact, the BN has even amended the Universities and University Colleges Act 1987 to provide greater autonomy to the universities in adopting decisions pertaining to management and administration.

“All these clearly depict the strength of the BN government in championing the interests of the people although the number of its elected representatives may be short of the two-third majority in the Dewan Rakyat,” he said at a discourse on political transformation in Malaysia here last night.

Besides Khairy, the other panelists at the discourse were PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa and International Islamic University (UIA) law lecturer Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari. The discussion was chaired by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) political science lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff.

Khairy said he was of the opinion that the March 8 general election saw protest votes against the BN, and not a political transformation, to remind the BN, particularly Umno, to have more transparent and people-oriented principles of government.

As such, he said, PR and particularly PAS should not be over-confident with their capturing of five states in the general election as the people’s votes would switch if the BN was able to bring about a better government for the people.

“In fact, PAS, which has been a strong party, is seen to have shed much of its influence, evident particularly from the appointment of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) as the opposition leader in parliament,” he said.

He also said that PR was just waiting to break up because there had emerged ideological conflicts among the party leadership.

Husam said the results of the last general election were indicative of the people’s boredom with the BN over what he claimed was ineffective administration of the country.

He said the change of government in five states showed that the people wanted a new government which was more just.

Husam was critical of the BN government on the issue of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Judicial Appointments Commission as well as the proposed (and now called off) privatisation of the National Heart Institute (IJN) which he said would have had much impact on the poor.

Dr Abdul Aziz said the political change was a positive one because it took place within a peaceful framework.

“Like in the United States, there are two strong parties always vying to provide better service to the people, and this will benefit the people and the country,” he said.

However, he added, the change might not be permanent, and cited the case of Taiwan where the people returned the Kuomintang Party to power after a two-term “rest”.