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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Muhyiddin had his chance, but he didn’t take it

 

Many Malays were euphoric when Muhyiddin Yassin gained power. We were told to be patient and give him a chance to prove himself.

Almost 18 months later, he has failed Malaysia.

Instead of surrounding himself with competent Cabinet ministers, he retained many of the deadwood from previous administrations. He enlisted men and women who lacked integrity, who had no dedication to hard work, who lacked attention to detail and were incompetent.

The previous Pakatan Harapan administration was riddled with infighting and was slow to institute reforms. Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) is no better. Its leaders are busy clashing with each other, and holding secret meetings to plot their political futures.

What message does that send to the rakyat? What will our youth think?

The rakyat has been shortchanged. What did we get in exchange for the 70 ministers and their deputies who earn handsome salaries and perks each month? Most of these ineffectual ministers were promoted beyond their level of competence.

Muhyiddin was installed as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister, but it was not the rakyat’s choice. That decision was taken out of our hands.

He clawed his way up the greasy pole of politics, and while the PH leaders, now in the opposition, bickered among themselves (let this be a lesson to them to get their house in order), Muhyiddin acted.

Law minister Takiyuddin Hassan is out of his depth. He misled Parliament but he has at least taken the pressure off DAP. Takiyuddin advocated the use of Stalin’s tactics during the Battle of Stalingrad, when fighting Covid-19. Some people now call PAS the new Malaysian communist party, and not DAP.

Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun’s action in telling a woman MP to keep quiet, and switching off the microphone of another, was equally shocking.

Heidy Quah, a young woman who founded the NGO Refuge for Refugees and soon after won the Queen’s Youth Leader award, presented by Queen Elizabeth II, was charged with making offensive comments on Facebook. Heidy found that refugees were being ill-treated and she merely wanted Malaysians to show more humanity and compassion for these people. She related her experience about a refugee mother who had just given birth in a detention centre, but was vilified for the exposure.

What does that say about the Muhyiddin administration? Other social and human rights activists and campaigners have also received the wrath of the government? Why are they afraid of criticism?

Muhyiddin, who once declared that he was a Malay first and Malaysian second, has failed to rise to the test and prove that he is a first-class Malay leader.

He claimed he was going to save Malaysia but the previously slow vaccination programme, the failure to attract investors, the rising intolerance, coupled with the failure to protect the Orang Asli and the failure to safeguard the environment, have proven that he cannot govern.

Malaysia has many competent people who could run the country, but many have left or are leaving because our leaders are too busy politicking. The curse of the nation – racism, religious extremism and “rasuah” – means that it will not recognise its full potential.

People are suffering, they are grappling with issues like hunger, homelessness, the feeling of despair, and the threat to their physical and mental health. Things will get worse before they get any better, but Muhyiddin’s plan to tackle the pandemic by proposing a state of emergency has come to nought.

What does he want for Malaysia? Will he get rid of the incompetent and ineffective ministers? Will he wield the axe in the right places? Will he cling on to power? The pandemic has exposed Muhyiddin’s many flaws but does he realise this? - FMT

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

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