Yes, Pak Lah’s promises of a slew of reforms persuaded me to vote for the first time for BN in the 2004 GE.
Until then, I had always voted for the opposition.
Looking at the huge mandate he got, it would seem that I was not the only one taken in by his promised reform agenda.
Today, Pak Lah concedes that his reform agenda fell by the wayside due to resistance to the same from within his own party and his own government colleagues.
“Perhaps when I was in office I should have been more forceful about it considering the resistance I was facing,” , Malaysiakini reports Pak Lah as saying.
Pak Lah was also quoted in an earlier Malaysiakini report as saying that Najib, too, might face the same resistance from within to his proposed repeal of the ISA.
My take, though, on why Pak Lah failed to deliver on his reform promises is that, post the 2004 GE, he was preoccupied with consolidating his position in the party in the hope that he could lead the charge into the next GE and return for a second term as PM.
Delivering all his pre-election promises would make him popular with the rakyat generally, but would earn him the ire and thee wrath of the UMNO warlords, most notably, Dr M himself.
It was common knowledge then that Pak Lah was facing a revolt from within the party, led by Dr M.
In the end, Pak Lah opted to renege on his pre-election promises to us so as to keep the peace with the UMNO warlords.
Today, Najib faces the same dilemma as his predecessor.
And like his predecessor, Najib does not have it in him to go against the UMNO warlords.
I will not hold my breath waiting for the repeal of the ISA to become a reality during his watch.
Firstly, it might simply not happen.
Secondly, it remains to be seen how draconian the proposed anti-terrorism laws that are intended to take the place of the ISA will be.
Finally, and, for me, most importantly, is that Najib, unlike Pak Lah, came into office weighed down with a litany of scandals.
Murder and corruption.
Najib is no reformist, in my books.
He cannot afford to be one.
Not with the kind of dark and seedy secrets he must continue to keep away from public scrutiny.
For these reasons, I say again that there can be no reforms post the 13th GE unless BN is replaced in Putrajaya.
Let’s say we are able to kick BN out of Putrajaya post the 13th GE and replace them with a new non-BN regime.
Who will lead?
Such a person, man or woman, must be brave, must be focused on reforms rather than re-election for another term in office, and must be motivated, not by party needs, but the needs of the rakyat, most particularly those who have been marginalised for so long and who now live in impoverished conditions.
Many, including Anwar himself, expect that he will be convicted on the sodomy charges presently being tried, and imprisoned.
It must therefore be anticipated that Anwar might not be available to lead, even if he is seen as having the requisite qualities to lead and reform.
Are we, as a nation desperately in need for honest leadership, ready to take a chance with either of these two?
Is Kuli ready to turn his back on UMNO to focus on rehabilitating the nation?
We have the right to have answers to this burning issue even as we contemplate the make up of a non-BN coalition that we might confidently work to have installed in Putrajaya post the 13th GE.
Who will lead in Putrajaya post the 13th GE, and who will give us the reforms we now demand?