We want an agenda, OK, but what is the agenda?
The Pakatan Harapan manifesto can improve lives, no less the 10 key promises within the first 100 days.
However, these are priorities as perceived by the four parties inside the coalition.
The issues the nations have, the pressing needs are many, and since the nation’s start the following has occurred: contrarian views muzzled, responsible agencies muted and even culpable, and civil society removed. There is a need for the damn to break. For the truth to come out.
It will be loud, and too much bluster, but within the expression, a set of priorities will emerge.
No one expects the government to solve them overnight.
But they need to be identified, which what public hearings can do, an exercise in social accountability.
To have a series of hearings about ex-number of issues.
May it be undocumented Malaysians, The state of Orang Asli Semenanjung, Native Customary Rights in Borneo, higher education, rights of young people, government contracts, environmental concerns from Belum Reserve to Rivers or discrimination in the private sector.
None of the hearing results will be binding, but they will be streamed online/posted and a report will be generated and submitted to Cabinet, lawmakers and related government agencies. It will be valuable intel, processed information.
It will be incumbent to ensure the objectivity of those conducting the hearings, and Suhakam among other rights organisations should be involved.
It is necessary for all given issues, groups from the spectrum are invited to speak. This is not to prosecute or find anyone guilty. This is for information to be made available, and clarifications made.
All who testify are still subject to laws of defamation, and can’t use the opportunity to rundown any persons.
If the hearings show the matter is petty and only needing administrative corrections, then those who need to know that can’t claim they are not aware.
If the hearings highlight the material need for legislation, then lawmakers can pick up as to their passion and push for new laws or amendments
If the hearings highlight serious matters of concern, then the government cannot look away.
Mind you, the hearings will be tedious and volumous information will come to bear. But that is what the country needs, to hear from people stuck in permanent whirlpools all these years.
Government needs to know, and so does the present opposition even if they are the ones responsible for these issues to be suspended in limbo. They can pick up those issues, and be the new heroes.
We can all set our egos aside.
The hearings however, should not wait.