Welcome 2019! Adieu 2018. The people of Bangladesh are welcoming the New Year with the same enthusiasm, aspirations and hopes as the people across the globe. A year is not much time in comparison with eternity. Despite that, for a state or a person, it is crucial to assess the gains and losses of the past year. An impartial evaluation is required to shape the future.
Bangladesh had to face several challenges in socioeconomic, political and international spheres in 2018. Despite its pledge, Myanmar did not take back the Rohingyas. We had to bear the liability of over one million Rohingyas including the 300,000 entering into the country earlier. The international community has failed so far to take any effective initiative either. The stance of China and Russia particularly encouraged Myanmar’s strict policy even more. We hope the international community would come forward this year and force Myanmar to rehabilitate the Rohingyas.
Among the notable events of last year the quota reform movement and the safe roads movement were inspiring. The safe roads movement was a spontaneous, peaceful one. But, the government could not address these youth movements appropriately. The government declared to abolish quota in public service, but the issue of special preference for ethnic minority and physically disabled people has not been resolved yet. No measures have been taken so far to ensure the safety of the commuters despite movement. Though the government has passed the road transport act, transport owners and workers have taken a stance against the act. This is unfortunate. The transport workers would remain safe too along with the passengers if the roads were safe.
The biggest challenge for 2018 was the parliamentary elections. The first question was whether the election would be participatory. The opposition had all along demanded the election to be held under a non-party government and they had boycotted the 2014 elections for this reason. The ruling party persistently refused the demand saying it would never exceed the constitution. Despite this debate the elections took place on 30 December after a dialogue between the prime minister and political parties. Controversies over the election have not yet faded. The ruling party claimed the poll was free and fair while the opposition boycotted it citing huge rigging. The concerned quarters should be alert on this political crisis not turning into a huge one in the New Year.
In whatever manner the election was held, Bangladesh is going to receive a new government. Quick implementation of the running projects including the Padma river bridge are among the challenges for the new government. Even with continuous success in economy and trade, there are two weak points still-- corruption and irregularity in banking sector along with unemployment. We hope the government would take strong role to solve these.
Let peace and prosperity prevail in the New Year. Let the safety of the citizens get top-priority in every government plan. Happy New Year to all!