He missed a crucial opportunity to soothe the frayed nerves of a nation, writes JD Lovrenciear.
When Malaysia’s eighth Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin addressed the nation for the first time last night, he stressed, “I am here to save the country from prolonged political turmoil.”
Going by the overwhelming reaction on social media and online portals, the response from many can be summed up as “Indeed?”.
Whoever wrote that speech for the PM (hopefully, he did not pen it himself) should be fired from the job.
That very statement connotes egotism. It ignores the millions of people who have always stood by this nation in difficult times, making selfless sacrifices to see through the overthrow of a corrupt regime in 2018.
Perhaps our new prime minister needs to be advised.
As someone coming on stage through a convoluted, mysterious process, he could have said: As your prime minister, I need every one of you to play a role in helping me to save this nation for the future of all Malaysians. I believe I could not have become your eight prime minister if not for your prayers and our common desire to save this nation from political turmoil.
That would have been far more soothing to the ears of people suffering from shock and betrayal. But sadly he missed a crucial opportunity to soothe the frayed nerves of a nation.
His maiden address instead prompted a replay of a video over social media, where in addressing constituents, he decries Umno and Pas. (When will our politicians learn that this is the age of the new media, which have sidelined traditional media.)
Can we fault many for being angry with their leaders?
Judiciary in the spotlight
Meanwhile, the one institution that many will watch most intently from now is the Malaysian judiciary.
Given the number of high-profile criminal court proceedings under the global spotlight, the conclusions emerging from these cases will be a test of our justice system. This is one of the grave outcomes, foremost in a line of others that the new government under the eighth prime minister has to face.
If the success of the back-door government allows the Malaysian judiciary to be compromised, global watchdogs and more principle-centred nations will react. And such reactions will directly impact on the economic health of Malaysia.
In the rising global thrust for transparency, accountability and democratic principles of governance, ethical business conduct is symbiotically intertwines with cross-border trade arrangements.
If the back-door government slips in relation to the judicial conclusions of these high-profile cases and other lesser politically related crimes, there will be no room to talk about progress for the people as pledged by ambitious politicians.
The truth will prevail.