Muhyiddin, stop playing politics when lives are at stake!

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P Ramakrishnan takes to task the prime minister for indulging in excessive politickin and for denying constituency allocations to opposition MPs.

When one loses the trust of the people, he ipso facto forfeits the confidence of the people. This is what is happening to the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

To be exact, this is Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s situation in present times. He has lost the trust and the confidence of the people in his leadership.

To begin with, there is hardly any national leadership. His leadership does not focus on the governance of the nation. The fact we are confronted with the most dangerous virus does not seem to bother him. His attention is not directed at combating this deadly enemy.

What then is his priority?

His immediate, worrying concern appears to be his position and power. Come what may, he seems determined to consolidate his position. His actions apparently confirm this.

He is perceived to be merrily playing politics when the nation is reeling from the onslaught of Covid-19. On 18 March, through a letter, he sacked Marzuki Yahaya, the Bersatu secretary-general, with immediate effect, without providing any explanation or reason for the dismissal.

The manner of the dismissal was questionable. There was no show-cause letter, no internal investigation, no disciplinary board hearing, no natural justice accorded to Marzuki.

It is alleged that Marzuki is a staunch supporter of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and he was, as secretary-general, in a key position – in charge of the administration of Bersatu. He would have played an important role in the upcoming party annual general meeting and internal leadership elections. These elections are scheduled to take place from April onwards.

Muhyiddin sees danger in Marzuki occupying the key position and, to deny Mahathir any advantage in the party elections, he decided to get rid of Marzuki. It is as plain as that!

Mahathir has contended that Muhyiddin, as party president, is obliged to discuss with him, the party chairman, before any action can be instituted. Since this constitutional requirement was ignored, Mahathir has declared that the dismissal of Marzuki was null and void and that Marzuki was still the secretary-general.

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Muhyiddin’s move was absolutely political and intended to consolidate his position in the party, caring a damn for the party constitution. To think he would spend his time manoeuvring Bersatu to his advantage, at a time when his energy and focus should be directed at combating Covid-19…  this is most unbecoming of a national leader. The people’s welfare seemed to have taken second place.

In pursuit of political power to entrench themselves, overtures are being made to entice MPs from Pakatan Harapan(PH) to switch camp, according to Anwar. “We have leaders, ministers, including the home minister who, instead of looking into the virus and national security (issues), are trying to entice people, calling up our party MPs and persuading them, promising all sorts of perks to join them,” he told CNBC in an interview.

It is appalling that the home minister and certain other ministers are allegedly so actively involved in attempting to persuade MPs to ditch PH when their attention should be focused on how to save the nation from the Covid-19 danger.

In further politicking, five PH-controlled state menteris besar and chief ministers were excluded when a meeting to coordinate efforts to combat Covid-19 was held in Putrajaya on 17 March. When we are confronted by a deadly virus that threatens the lives of Malaysians, PN chooses to play partisan politics.

Though, subsequently, the government’s chief secretary, Mohd Zuki Ali, apologised for leaving out the five states, it is difficult to believe this was an honest mistake, Zuki clarified that Muhyiddin had instructed the meeting’s secretariat for all heads of state governments to be invited to the meeting, without exception.

If that was the case, how could the invitations have gone to the state development directors of Penang, Kedah, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Sabah? But they made no mistake in inviting the menteris besar and chief ministers of PN-controlled states. His explanation sounds like a cock-and-bull story!

If the invitations had also gone to the development directors of the PN- controlled states, it could be accepted as a genuine mistake. But that wasn’t the case. For these states, the invitations were correctly sent to the menteris besar and chief ministers.

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Even if we assume that a genuine mistake was made, shouldn’t the absence of appropriate representation from the five other states have been stark enough to make the PM bewildered when he attended the meeting that morning?

Since the meeting was meant for all the states in the country, shouldn’t the PM have ipso factor cancelled the meeting and reconvened it the next day for all of them to jointly address the Covid-19 threat and find a way to fight this menace? Why didn’t the PM apologise for the mistake, if that was what they are claiming?

It was only when NGOs and others reacted strongly to the exclusion of the five states that Zuki apologised late in the day. But his side of the story wasn’t convincing.

As the political games continue, opposition MPs are denied their allocations for servicing their constituencies. The Prime Minister’s Office did not include opposition MPs in the annual allocations approved for MPs.

During these difficult times following the movement control order, many people are without jobs and incomes. The marginalised and the disabled are in dire straits; yet Muhyiddin could carry on with this heartless and cruel political victimisation. In withholding these allocations, Muhyiddin is not just punishing the opposition MPs, but the innocent citizens as well through no fault of theirs.

Three opposition MPs – Muar MP Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil and Johor Bahru MP Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir – had their allocations withheld. If these allocations were from his party funds, Muhyiddin could decide how they are to be distributed or who deserves them. But these allocations come from public coffers. This is the people’s money! And Muhyiddin has no right to deny them this. These MPs are entitled to their allocations.

Syed Saddiq laments, “Many are suffering in Muar because of Covid-19 and need assistance as quickly as possible…. When Covid-19 is flooding the country, this is when the people of Muar had their assistance pulled.”

READ MORE:  To save the nation, show us your list of MPs, Muhyiddin

This is nothing but dirty politics. There is no conscience. It is a blatant abuse of power.

It is shocking to learn of Syed Saddiq’s other disclosure: “I have been offered all kinds of bribes to buy my soul so that I will stab my party in the back, so that I will hold a press conference to slam Mahathir…”

What unscrupulous politicians we have. Don’t they know anything else except bribery? Bribery seems to be their specialty in politics!

Pathetically, Syed Saddiq asks, “What wrong have the people of Muar done? What wrong have I done?”

In similar fashion, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil moans, “They even picked the middle of a pandemic as the time to do this.”

Likewise, Johor Bharu MP Akmal Nasir had his allocation for his constituency frozen. Johor Bahru is the capital of Johor and many petty traders and hawkers are badly hit during this movement control order.

Petty politics is punishing Johoreans, thanks to a politician who was elected from Johor and who is the PM now.

Johoreans have proudly called themselves Rakyat Johor, something His Majesty, the Sultan of Johor, had also promoted very vigorously. We wonder what His Majesty’s reaction will be when his subjects are unfairly and unjustly punished and denied constituency funding assistance by a Johorean who is now the PM of Malaysia? What are his thoughts when his subjects are made to suffer cruelly through no fault of their own by ungrateful politicians?

To think this injustice is perpetrated by this new Malay-Muslim government claiming to champion race, religion and country. It challenges common sense, surpasses understanding and defies imagination!

In the past, the lie that was promoted was that the Chinese and the DAP were out to do in the Malays. Now who is the enemy of the Malays? Who is trying to do them in?

During this difficult time while the virus rages on, we are reminded of the saying: “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.”

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