It is painful for Malaysians to hear of politicians fleeing from a party to form a new government – at the state or federal level – in contempt of the people’s wishes, Mustafa K Anuar writes.
While the entire nation is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact, Malaysians were recently made known to an interpretation of Pakatan Harapan’s collapse that occurred about nine months ago.
Former PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, who is now part of the Perikatan Nasional government, shared his observation with the politics-weary public of what happened in late February.
Although much water has gone under the bridge since 29 February, the international trade and industry minister’s rendition about the genesis of PH’s fall makes a curious read.
Azmin claimed that then-Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed hatched the idea of a PN government in the latter’s desire to form a unity government backed by a bigger majority of MPs.
But that plan went bust when Mahathir eventually resigned as PM on 24 February, creating a job vacancy.
So, Azmin said, Muhyiddin Yassin had to step in “to prevent someone else from rushing to the palace and filling the gap”.
Inquisitive and concerned Malaysians, let alone journalists, would be tempted to ask who that person could be.
In the interest of historical accuracy, Malaysians may recall that there was supposed to be a pact between Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim, leading up to the 2018 general election, that the latter would be passed the baton when the time came, and this was supposedly agreed upon by all in the PH pact.
So, the obvious question is, why was this gap not filled by the prime minister-designate himself when the whole world had been told all along that Anwar was the person intended?
Pulling out of the PH pact, as Bersatu and PKR defectors did, would have been an exercise in futility had the promised top job in the land been rightly handed over to Anwar, warts and all. The so-called political crisis could have been averted.
Equally important, the PH government, together with its promised reform agenda, would not have collapsed mid-stream – only to be pushed aside by a group of politicians cobbled together to form PN.
And of course, there would be no need for a general election amid or after the pandemic if the PH government was left to govern until its full term ended. Nor would there have been a need for the democratic process to be disrupted.
The label “backdoor government” has gained traction among Malaysians because it suggests a government takeover that left the people’s mandate largely by the wayside.
That is why it is painful for Malaysian voters to hear of politicians fleeing, without a blink of an eye, from a party only to form a new government – at the state or federal level – in contempt of the people’s wishes registered at the ballot box, as if these politicians are not answerable to the electorate. Hence, the loud cry in the public domain, what is the use of elections?
The people feel the pain when they see, for instance, rule of law not being adhered to as exemplified by ruling politicians flouting the Covid-19 standard operating procedures and an escalating use of the politics of race and religion, which is polarising our diverse society.
It is also discomforting for the people to learn of, say, PN’s controversial plans to revive Jasa or the Special Affairs Department and national service at a time when the focus should be to use large funds to help alleviate the sufferings of the ordinary folk who face unemployment, underemployment, poverty and are debt-ridden.
The recent incident of eight pupils in the Ranau district of Sabah who were injured after the suspension bridge they climbed over in order to get better internet connectivity gave way, is heart-wrenching and instructive as well.
Large amounts of money should be better spent on such important matters as providing better internet coverage, especially for online education.
Surely, ordinary Malaysians are not asking much if they insist on a government that takes care of their welfare, as well as electoral wishes.