An intimate moment between Pak Lah and his wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah after the interview. (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)
Some said that we are going to miss Pak Lah once he steps down. To be honest, I was having such a feeling right after the interview ended, even though he has not step down at the moment.
In any case, he is a good man. It is rare among politicians. This is also our first impression of him: gentle, moderate and honest. Otherwise, the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition would not gain 92% of the parliamentary seats in the 2004 general elections.
The people used to have high expectations of him, hoping that he could lead the country to change. But the 2008 general election results were the other way round. What are the problems?
Why he did not fully launched the reform when he was popular? Why he has to bear the consequences after the election to retire early?
Nothing can be done if Umno remains unchanged
Perhaps, his does not get the needed support from within the party like he does among the public. If he fails to control Umno, he can change nothing; if Umno remains unchanged, nothing can be done.
However, many are sharing the same thought with me. He should look pass Umno and go to the people. The people would back him and the result would be different.
However, all are now in past tense and Pak Lah must end his term of office early.
He wishes to speed up the completion of a number of commitments he made before he steps down. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) bills presented by him were passed in a very short period of time. It shows that he can still be dynamic.
The historical appraisal will be as well different.
He has to present the Special Complaints Commission (SCC) bill and call for the BN Supreme Council to restructure BN within the time left before his retirement. Meanwhile, he also has to improve racial elations and promote religious understanding.
Pak Lah will have more space to develop his ideas after getting rid of the party elections and interests. If he uses the past few years to complete these huge tasks, it would surely a different situation today.
When asked which were his most successful and unsuccessful efforts, he said he does not want to make a conclusion yet.
He added that he allows views from different people so that he can listen and observe before making any decision when dealing with a problem.
He thinks it is unfair of the public to fault his way of dealing with problems which sees it as his weakness.
Pak Lah's simple but comfortable single-storey house in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)
Pak Lah is optimistic
Pak Lah's strengths and weaknesses have unexpectedly contributed to the rise of Pakatan Rakyat. He believes that Umno can change and BN is able to win back support. However, he didn't sound convincing. He feels like optimistic to me.
Along the interview, he bluntly expressed his views on some sensitive issues, as well as some inside stories. However, he thinks it is not the time to reveal them.
When we were still talking after the 45-minute interview ran over time for 80 minutes, his lunch arrived. A simple fried noodle and Indian rojak, which reflects his simplicity.
Just at that time, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah returned home and Pak Lah looked happy and contented.
What Pak Lah has lost is not as heavy as we imagined, and what he has gained is more than we thought. (By TAY TIAN YAN and LIM SUE GOAN/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily)
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