INTERVIEW | Ahmad Soffian Mohd Sharif, who recently resigned as press secretary to Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, disclosed that he is in midst of drafting a ‘critique’ of the Pakatan Harapan government.
Soffian (photo, above), who had worked for the minister for more than two years, said he was not receiving any payment for his writing, but considers it his civic duty to the country and the people.
“Let Allah decide what I will receive. I think my resignation and what would follow is a service to the nation and would be a professional critique.
“I will speak frankly for myself, with no (backing from any) political party. I am acting on my own accord and I don’t know how far will my voice be heard. But I will try because it is like a calling based on my experience working in government.
“What I want is for the critique to be useful and be something that the government and the people can see, and if it proves useful, they can use it,” Soffian told Malaysiakini in an interview yesterday.
He had earlier resigned, citing a loss of faith in the Harapan-led administration.
The 33-year-old said although he still holds Zuraida (photo) in high regard, the same cannot be said about the Harapan government.
“We can sort out the problems within our ministry, but when people ask about other things, we cannot answer.
“So, I think it is better for people like me not to serve under the government.
“That is not to say I am criticising the government to put it in bad light. I’m not like that; I’m more into intellectual arguments. I want to do my own studies, and give my views freely and transparently,” he said.
Soffian added that his decision to resign was also influenced by the government’s decision to drop his wife, lawyer Syazlin Mansor, from the inquest into the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
Failure to deliver election promises
Other issues, he said, include Harapan’s failure to deliver its election promises and in finding a solution to the loans given out by the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN).
The UiTM law graduate also gave Harapan a measly score of three out of 10 for failing to achieve what it should have accomplished within a year in power.
“In my view as a layperson, the first year is for formulating good policies that will see us through for the next three to four years.
“Although some ministries have certain policies, we don’t know what they want to do in the three or four years to come. Most ministries don’t.
“What they have are development plans, but there is no proper action and it is simply rebranded by attaching ‘Harapan’ to its name,” Soffian said, with a chuckle.
He added that he could not openly criticise the government during his service in the Housing and Local Government Ministry, even though something was amiss, in order to protect the government’s image.
“If I openly criticised while serving the Harapan government, I would be seen as not doing my job.
“I had a responsibility to protect the government, and because of that, I think it is better for me to step away and say what I want because I would not be held responsible for my actions outside the government,” he said.
The Johor native also said that all leaders should accept criticism with an open heart, for everyone’s benefit.
“People say that blind faith in politics is not only found in BN but also in Harapan, to the extent of thinking that what the leaders say is maksum (perfect). That can’t be allowed.
“We have to have space to criticise the leaders, and the voice of the people should be heard,” Soffian said.