All we can hope for is a practical govt till GE15


All we can hope for is a practical govt till GE15
By Zan Azlee

Firstly, I apologise for constantly ranting about being frustrated with the situation in Malaysia, from the politics to the pandemic. I have been talking about how we have no control over matters that involve us. We are just forced to sit back and accept the outcomes that come our way.

In March 2020, we were only able to watch as the Sheraton Move removed everything that the majority voted for in the 2018 general election. The elected officials disregarded the voters and made their own path in forming a government that they saw fit. It could have been fit for them or fit for us – who knows.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic happened. In the beginning, it looked like we were all in it together. Lockdowns and standard operating procedures (SOPs) were established and the whole country realised that we needed to work together in order to overcome it. For the first few months, it actually worked. We all stayed home, practised diligent hygiene and encouraged others to do the same.

The infection rate reduced so much that at one time, it even reached only one case. But then in a blink of an eye, all of that disappeared. What went wrong? Was it the Sabah polls that caused it? Was it the so-called ‘golongan kayangan’ (elites) that started flouting the SOPs? Was it frustration? It was probably all of that.

But the key thing is that the people were not confident in how the government was handling the pandemic after the first few months. So many people voiced their displeasure with how the government managed it. Different civil society organisations raised all kinds of displeasure too.

Of course, the opposition (who were actually the ones elected to be the government) questioned the administration. Then what happened? The government decided to declare an emergency and Parliament was also suspended. Yet again, everything is being taken out of our hands.

There was even more displeasure. As usual, the people and civil society called for Parliament to sit. Eventually, there were even calls for then prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin to resign. But, I felt like all of this fell on deaf ears. So many people were investigated for expressing their thoughts. Those who gathered were detained and fined.

Maybe all of this contributed to the people’s frustrations. Lockdown after lockdown and yet the daily infection numbers continued to rise. People started losing jobs, businesses were suffering, and yet the ‘golongan kayangan’ seemed to be enjoying all kinds of privileges. How do you expect people to keep it together?

The government must have felt the pressure and eventually Parliament reconvened. But there were all kinds of conditions and bending around loopholes – no debating on the emergency ordinances, no motion of no confidence, backdating of the lifting of the emergency, etc. More signs of how all of this is out of our hands.

Then the political game started. A few Umno MPs publicly pulled their support for the prime minister. After a little bit of stubbornness, Muhyiddin eventually offered his resignation and that of his cabinet. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong then did the responsible thing and is determining who will have the majority support to be the new prime minister. Now we wait.

The game is ongoing. Now that Muhyiddin has stepped down, Umno MPs have rejoined the same Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition and nominated Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob as the new prime minister.

Bera MP Ismail Sabri Yaakob

 

Of course Pakatan Harapan is united in nominating opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. But with the few Umno MPs who pulled their support from Muhyiddin now back in the PN fold, it would mean that PN will still form the government just without Muhyiddin as prime minister.

Technically, there is nothing wrong with that. If we follow everything that is stated in the Constitution, no laws would be broken. But I will put forth this question, yet again. In this entire process, where is the role of the people? Have the people been consulted? Are the people’s wants and needs being considered? Is it still being taken out of our hands?

If they were really listening to the people, the results of the last general election in 2018 would have been heard. The majority voted for Harapan. BN, which was led by its single largest component party, Umno, lost. So now, there is a chance that Umno will be back at the helm? Nobody says they can’t, but would it actually be because of the will of the people?

The Agong has decreed that whoever is appointed must go through a vote of confidence in Parliament. That’s good. But with the state of politics in Malaysia, does Parliament actually reflect what the people want? The original coalitions during the 2018 general election no longer exist. Whoever we voted for, or didn’t vote for, no longer exist as how we knew them.

So in my personal opinion, let it all just happen and unfold. Nothing that we say or do is going to matter anyway because it is not in our hands. All we can really hope for is a practical government that can bring us out of the pandemic, fix our economy and protect the people. We just need to last a little bit longer until the next general election where, hopefully, we can start to feel empowered again like in 2018.

[This article was originally written for and published at Malaysiakini.com]

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