“At the end of the day, It’s not the promises made, fear mongering or the hurling of accusations that will make a difference in GE15,” says Romen Bose, but what matters most will be being able to deliver to the Rakyat.
I recall it was past one in the morning, on a cloudless Putrajaya night as the moon shone bright in the sky, reflected in the waters below the Putra Mosque and the Perdana Putra complex, which glowed in silhouette.
It was really a majestic sight and I was privileged to see the lovely view as I sat facing then PM Najib Razak, on the patio outside the Prime Minister’s private residence in the Sri Perdana complex, on the banks of the Putrajaya lake.
Looking thoroughly exhausted, Najib who was dressed in Baju Melayu and nursing a hot tea, wanted to meet me to discuss some ideas he had, despite a very long day of government meetings followed by religious functions and even more meetings at his home, which finally ended slightly after midnight.
I was supposed to meet him that morning but the meeting kept being pushed and pushed throughout the day because of other more pressing issues and matters that needed the PM’s immediate attention.
I thought the meeting had been cancelled and would be postponed to another day but at 10pm, when I was already getting ready for bed, Najib messaged me to ask me to come to his home so we could have a discussion. So, I quickly changed into work clothes and headed to Sri Perdana.
Sitting on the patio chair after having loosened my tie, I asked Najib why he was willing to meet me so late into the night, during his private time at home.
Gazing at the moonlit skyline, Najib said: “You know Romen, some say that this view from the residence is the best view in Putrajaya.”
Symbol of Power and Status
“It is like a prize for the political party or coalition that is in power, and so, many view being the occupant of Sri Perdana as the ultimate symbol of power and status.”
“But for me,” he said, taking a sip of his tea, “this view means something very different.”
“It only reminds me of what really matters. And the only thing that really matters is what we can do to help the people, how we can make their lives better, improve their livelihood, get jobs for their children, ensure a brighter future for all Malaysians.
“That is what I think of, every time I see this view, what I and the Government need to do, must continue to do, for the people, the ones who own this view and this amazing place, which I temporarily occupy,” he said.
“These are the values that my father passed on to me and which I have pushed ever since I first became an MP.”
“And that is why I keep working like this, because it is my duty to do all I can for the people who put us here, who put BN here, they have entrusted us to do right by them and we will deliver, we have delivered.”
Looking around for his meeting schedule, he added: “You know all my meetings today were dealing with the Rakyat’s needs, from approving funding for welfare homes to studying plans on new urban redevelopment projects as well as providing aid to struggling fishermen and farmers in some rural areas. In fact, I just now finished a meeting on how we were going to increase allocations for flood mitigation projects in a northern state.”
“That’s why I wanted to meet even now, it doesn’t matter how tired I am, what matters is that we get things done. There is much to be done. The UTC, RTC, the Pan Borneo Highway, the MRT, these are things that the Rakyat wanted and they deserve and this is what we have delivered and will continue to deliver.”
We discussed ideas and plans for more than an hour and I didn’t get home till 3am.
It has been more than seven years since that late night meeting but what stuck with me was Najib’s total commitment to delivering what the Rakyat wanted.
Over the last few weeks, I have been following the campaigning hustle and bustle following the declaration of GE15; the allegations, the threats, the name-calling and the sweeteners on offer in the various party or coalition Manifestos.
And as we get closer to polling day, there will be more promises, offers and deals that the various candidates and their parties will try to strike with voters as campaigning reaches a fever pitch.
While all this may appear highly entertaining, none of this really matters.
Because, as I was reminded all those years ago, what really matters are not empty promises but the individuals and their parties that will really deliver for the people.
Not the ones who promise the sky only to later say their promises were more a guide because they didn’t think they would actually win!
I believe Malaysians are savvy enough to know who the ones are who have delivered and who can and will continue to deliver on their promises, to bring back economic and political stability, put money in pockets and provide more jobs and opportunities for young people.
In the end, that’s what really matters. – NMH
About the writer: Romen Bose is an international correspondent with over 22 years of reporting experience in the region. He worked as a Political Communications Consultant for former Malaysian Premier Najib Razak for six years and he recently published his book Final Reckoning, an insider’s account of the fall of the Barisan Nasional government in 2018.
The points expressed in this article is that of the writer’s and do not necessarily represent the stand of the New Malaysia Herald.