Najib takes over as PM in style, releases 13 ISA detainees
I welcome Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak as the nation's 6th Prime Minister. As I've said in my earlier posting, I have been looking forward to this for a long time.
If we go by his address to the nation tonight, Najib seems serious about getting closer to the rakyat.
I also welcome his decision to release 13 Internal Security Act detainees with immediate effect. Some of them have been rotting in prison. Some of them have been detained under the ISA for so long that they had completely missed their children's growing up years.
Najib also said the Government would review the ISA. While I think it is necessary for the Government to review the Act and expunge loose clauses which enables the Home Minister to make unjustified detentions for political reasons, the Government should not completely abolish it. The Act is still necessary as a preventive law to curb extremism, terrorism, etc. Advanced countries like the United States and Britain now have such preventive laws.
I also welcome Najib's decision to lift the suspension on Suara Keadilan and Harakah. I wonder why Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar suspended them in the first place.
If the two publications make allegations against the Government, it is the Government's duty to clarify them. The Government should not find the easy way out.
Najib has made a fantastic first impression as Prime Minister. I hope he will continue to reach out to the rakyat. If each of his Cabinet colleagues listen to the rakyat, the next general election will be a sure victory for the Barisan Nasional.
Speaking about Cabinet Ministers, I can't wait for Najib's announcement of the new Cabinet line-up. Yes, the appointment of Cabinet Ministers is the prerogative of the Prime Minister, but I do hope that he will not keep the corrupt and those who have run foul of the law. Najib's Cabinet should not only be clean, but seen to be clean.
I was told that at least 40% of Najib's Cabinet is going to be new blood. I welcome that.
I hope under Najib's able stewardship, Malaysia will continue to achieve success after success.
My name is Mohd Ashraf Abdullah. I was born and raised in Tampin, Negeri Sembilan. I am a journalist at heart. I served the New Straits Times as a journalist for 17 years, beginning as a cadet reporter in 1988. I was trained to be a political writer. I served the NST in various capacities including as Staff Correspondent of the Kuantan Bureau and London Correspondent. I resigned as News Editor in 2004 to join Golden Hope Plantations Berhad as Deputy General Manager, Group Corporate Affairs. Two years later I was made General Manager, Group Corporate Affairs. When Golden Hope and Kumpulan Guthrie Berhad were merged with Sime Darby Berhad in November 2007, I chose not to accept the offer of employment by the merged entity. I was a scholar of the British Government and possess a Masters Degree in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. I am also a Jefferson's Fellow of the East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.