By Hasnah Abdul Rahman, Editor-In-Chief, NMH
As at Monday, 17 August 2020, Malaysia is at the crossroads of Should and Must.
Should we, as citizens remain apathetic about the political future of the country? Or must we, as citizens, do something about it to ensure that the future generation can look back and say that we have contributed to the well-being of the country?
Malaysians are generally politically-conscious, but not necessarily politically-savvy. From the aunty at the market to the pakcik (uncle) at the mamak stalls, a lot of them have lots to say about the current political situation in the country, and are not worried about openly declaring their support for whichever politician or political party of choice. However, the intricacies that come with Malaysian politics during the past 60 years and recent happenings have shown that the media, particularly social media today, plays an important part in influencing the minds of the voters.
POLITICAL ALPHABET SOUP
Today, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, comprising Muafakat Nasional (Barisan Nasional and PAS) and Bersatu (headed by the current Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, is also at its own crossroads. Citizens are confused which Member of Parliament is in which camp as rumours are rife about possible party-hopping, votes of no-confidence, possible dissolution of Parliament and a few other scenarios. And that’s only on the government side.
On the part of the Opposition, the much-touted Pakatan Harapan (comprising PKR, DAP, PAN and Warisan) have in a way, dissolved. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is divided as the Azmin Ali faction has left to join PN while Anwar Ibrahim and his supporters are still there. Needless to say, the latter’s freedom is now hung in the balance with disclosures about another sex scandal and the alleged questionable pardon by the King who was purportedly ill-advised. The Democratic Action Party (DAP), meanwhile, is in a bit of disarray with the slew of corruption and criminal charges against its Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng and his wife Betty Chew with the possibility of more charges against its other members coming soon. And then there is a new party called Pejuang Tanah Air helmed by twice former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Next is Sabah which, due to a political upheaval as well, will face a state election in September.
If you think this sounds like an alphabet soup, you are not far from wrong.
MAJOR RECESSION IN THE WINGS
The question now is where does this leave us, the Malaysians? We are still battling the effects of Covid-19 which does not seem to disappear anytime soon, the world economy is reeling with a major recession and expecting to peak in the later part of the year, people are unhappy due to loss of income while some are undergoing depression.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has not been tested yet. While we should laud him and his Cabinet ministers for excellent handling of the Covid-19 issues, we have yet to see how he will fair with bigger challenges. If he fails, then the Parliament has to be dissolved because having a small majority in Parliament is not comforting to the citizens of Malaysia.
The people want fresh elections with the hope that the winning coalition gets a strong majority to drive home the message that it is the party voted in by the people as opposed to one made up of various parties who were once sworn enemies, but got together for the sake of having enough power to rule the country.