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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Muhyiddin’s problem is lack of available talent, says ex-Umno man

 

The “Sheraton Move” in 2020 involving Malay political leaders had left Malay support splintered, says Tawfik Ismail.

PETALING JAYA: The call for “Malay unity” is the only motivation behind Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration, according to former Umno politician Tawfik Ismail.

He said the core problem faced by Muhyiddin is the lack of talent available to him in the coalition government that he leads.

“What is the manifesto that motivates this government? So far the public sees the motivation is “Malay Unity”,” he told FMT in an interview.

Tawfik said the state of politics after the “Sheraton Move” in February last year had splintered Malay support further and divided Umno, with progressive Malays becoming increasingly concerned over the running of the country.

Tawfik Ismail.

“After the Sheraton Move, Muhyiddin inherited those who fought against him in the GE, so how sure is he they won’t undermine him?” he said.

Tawfik said party leaders would usually have time to plan for general elections and choose candidates with a view to their loyalty to party and leadership, and who possess a certain level of competence.

He said the civil service had worked under Barisan Nasional for over 60 years, “so much so the succession within the civil service may be tied to relationships forged with political dynasties who have a foot in many fields.”

The Malay extended family could have quite a wide reach. “So loyalty can be divided. If they obey it will be at a pace they are comfortable with, not based on the Cabinet,” he added

On enforcement of Covid-19, Tawfik said not all civil servants are on the same wavelength as many of them have relatives in the commercial sector.

“Also there’s a perception that the “experts” are not given much attention if it contradicts political priorities,” he said, in a reference to the health ministry’s proposal for a total lockdown which was viewed by ministers as being risky for bringing the economy to a halt.

On the economy, he said the ringgit is stronger because of a weaker US dollar, rising commodity prices caused by increased demand because Covid-19 had restricted supply and output.

“This makes our economy stronger,” he added.

Nazari Ismail.

Nazari Ismail, professor at the Department of Policy and Strategy of Universiti Malaya, listed several reasons for the present anxiety within the rakyat.

He said Malaysia is facing a weak economy caused by the movement control order restrictions, administered by a weak government. This is causing political uncertainty, he said.

Malaysia is also facing buildup of debts that may cause long-term problems as the nation passes the debts to the younger generation to deal with and pay off, he said.

Deterioration due to rising corruption does not augur well for the country, he added, referring to the recent report of worsening graft in the country after Malaysia dropped six places to rank 57th in the Corruption Perception Index for 2020. - FMT

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