(The Star - Monday, 12 Aug 2019 11:13 AM MYT)

PETALING JAYA: A DAP parliamentarian has called for a review in the decision-making the process at the Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council.

Klang MP Charles Santiago said there seemed to be too much power in the hands of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said this power needed to be shared equally among the component parties in Pakatan. He added that controversial issues in government involving race and religion should be coursed through the council.

“We can’t get rid of former premier Najib Razak, only to become just like him,” he said in a statement on Monday (Aug 12) that touched on the khat issue.

Santiago said Dr Mahathir had been making unilateral decisions for the people at a troubling frequency.

“Or that’s the pretty picture that he is sending: that Mahathir calls the shots despite coming from a minority party,” he said, adding that it was unfortunate that a beautiful form of calligraphy like khat was dragged through the mud by both the "hoi polloi and the privileged".

“And all of the discourses over the last two weeks have centred on the theory that khat is Islamic calligraphy to promote Quranic verses or that it’s a sneaky way of ramming Islamisation down our throats. And of course, the counter-narratives to this argument,” he said.

Santiago said people seemed to have carelessly overlooked the fact that one man was making arbitrary decisions.

“I am sure that Mahathir and Education Minister Maszlee Malik, were aware of the sensitivities surrounding this subject before the idea was floated around.

“And why wouldn’t people be suspicious? The Pakatan Harapan government is protecting controversial preacher Zakir Naik,” he said.

He also pointed out the fact that Malaysia bailed out on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) and turned their backs on the Rome Statute.

He said in the next week, the government would be backtracking on its manifesto commitments in renewing Lynas' operating license.

“The government clearly doesn’t have a good track record to win the confidence of the people.

“In sharp contrast, they (the people) are livid, furious and threaten to vote us out of power in the next general election. And I understand their anger.

“Mahathir, by now, should be able to read the mood of the people.

"And he must understand that arbitrary decisions, without consultation, will not get him far,” he said, adding that there were many other issues that needed to be addressed first, including the economy.

Source: The Star

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