With Malaysia expected to achieve herd immunity by the end of October this year and entering the endemic phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, the next step is to return Malaysia to a new normal.

Newly appointed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Jacobi (pix) Opposition leaders have vowed to find a “common language” to fight the pandemic and stimulate the economy, as well as defuse years of political unrest, a good start so far.

The Prime Minister has promised that the cabinet will be results-oriented, based on three principles: sensitivity to people’s needs, responsibility and reliability, and restoring people’s trust.

The focus of each ministry is on short-term and long-term planning and a highly effective work culture needed to achieve the goals that have been set. All ministers have 100 days to demonstrate the success of their short-term goals.

And while the ministers carry out their respective responsibilities for nation-building, it is now up to us to play the same role. After all, one of Ismail Sabri’s principles is to be sensitive to the needs of the community, therefore the community must work together to meet their increasing needs, especially in the post-pandemic era.

There is no better time or opportunity to rebuild this country than in the post-pandemic period.

Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, the youngest son of second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, called for a reassessment of the system imposed by his father.

“What we need is a national reorganization, a comprehensive reform of our democracy, our institutions and our social economy. This won’t be the first time. We did this after May 13, 1969, when the Westminster system we inherited collapsed in the third general election.

“Reset authors believe the system will work, but they know it can’t last forever; it needs to be reformed, a new reset may be needed. They call it NEP (New Economic Policy). In this case, it’s also set for a 20-year timeframe,” Nazir said. .

In 1990 the NEP was renamed but expanded, and the rest of the system remained pretty much the same. He said the longer this was, the more negative side effects it would have on his good deeds.

“Times have changed and we must not repeat exactly what we did in 1970, when everything was led by Thun Razak as head of the National Government Council.” Today we need a process that is much more consultative, inclusive and less elitist, and we have set an agenda on behalf of the Council – let’s call it the Better Assembly of Malaysia (BMA),” he said.

Public policy columnist and analyst, Dr. Lim Tek Guy, recalls that in 1988 the National Economic Advisory Council (NICC) was formed to formulate a post-1990 economic policy to abolish the NEP, which had a 20-year term. Then life ends.

He added: “The ready recommendations to lead Malaysia into the post-NEP era in both economic and non-economic areas and key administrations have made the report a must-have for prospective members and a starting point. The National Council was formed to restore the direction of the nation’s development.”

And recommendations from such a council could provide the nation with a high-level non-political body to ensure greater accountability in the implementation of government policies.

Malaysia’s new cabinet was sworn in a day before its 64th anniversary celebrations. And the main agenda is Malaysia’s exit from the pandemic era in the new normal.

The nation now needs a bipartisan government which can only be achieved if politicians listen to the king’s decree on a new political landscape where the interests of the people outweigh personal interests and political achievements.

As we celebrate Malaysia Day this week, there is no better way to bring together the diverse interests of different communities than holding a gathering like this. The results of such a meeting to complement government policies have the potential to be a paradigm shift towards a better Malaysia.

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