The common good of the nation requires less of power politics and more substantive consensus to confront an existential threat, Ronald Benjamin writes.
It is unfortunate that Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya have to go through a conditional movement control order from 14 October 2020.
While many countries have failed to contain the coronavirus – due to a failure to detect it early, a failure to comply with procedures or early opening up of the country after an initial lockdown, without understanding the impact and exponential characteristics of the virus – Malaysia had done all the right things in containing the coronavirus at the beginning, but ultimately succumbed to the weakness of power politics, resulting in the resurgence of Covid-19.
The act of trying to create a backdoor government in Sabah and, in doing so, triggering an election should have been avoided if the common good was the principle of the Muhyiddin Yassin government.
How could one honestly plot a power grab in Sabah when Covid-19 was spreading fast in that state? What was important for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Sabah Barisan Nasional politicians was to consolidate power at the expense of the rakyat. Merely ranting after the event and pinpointing certain officials for not following procedures is lame.
Unfortunately, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who has a great ambition to become the prime minister, was also indulging in power politics when what was needed was a consensus to reign in the pandemic, which has created much damage to the economy.
What has made things worse is the failure of the elite within the Muhyiddin government to adhere to Covid-19 prevention procedures while demanding such adherence from the people. This has dented the credibility of the Perikatan Nasional government.
It is time for Prime Minister Muhyiddin to initiate a political ceasefire and reduce his unethical quest for the politics of power and start a dialogue with the opposition on how to work together to rein in the spread of the coronavirus.
The common good of the nation requires less of power politics and more of substantive consensus to confront an existential threat. Service for the common good should be the core principle that inspires political behaviour among politicians.
It is unfortunate that unethical power politics seems to have contributed to the resurgence of the coronavirus in Malaysia.