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Monday, August 30, 2021

Did you hear the one about the PM and his Cabinet?

 

From Clement Stanley

Just a few days ago Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the whole world would laugh at us if we decided to change the prime minister again, in quick succession to Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Thus, he said, there should be no need for a confidence vote on Ismail’s leadership despite the condition set by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for the appointment of the ninth prime minister.

While the absence of the confidence vote may prevent Malaysia from becoming a laughing stock, Ismail’s line-up has already been the butt of jokes.

Consider the retention of the man who, as health minister, said you can kill the Covid-19 virus by drinking warm water, and who got confused between Spanish fly and Spanish flu.

Now he is the minister for science, technology and innovation. Perhaps he will come up with a new innovation to rid this country of Covid. Who knows?

How about the minister for women, family and community development, who had urged wives to speak to their husbands in the voice and tone of cartoon character Doraemon? You know, the one who was roundly ridiculed for playing a food delivery rider in an advertisement. The one who waded into the controversy of a teacher making a rape joke – more than a month after the incident.

She’s still there, leading the same ministry.

The minister who continued to flaunt SOPs without the slightest care is no longer the Federal Territories minister, but is now in charge of communications and multimedia.

Same old. Same old.

Could we avoid being a laughing stock under these circumstances? We are likely to become one not because we change our prime ministers but because we are afraid of change.

Everyone accepts that a PM who does not deliver deserves to be replaced. Yet, embarrassingly, we retain people who are a liability in the Cabinet.

We need to make people accountable for their actions, especially ministers. Any way you view it, the buck surely stops at the office of the prime minister. He picked his Cabinet. He has to be accountable for their actions or inaction.

Whether we become a laughing stock or not will be down to the prime minister’s policies, his team of ministers and how they perform – and also the silly stunts they pull.

Nobody will laugh at us for being in the economic doldrums; countries are also being wrecked by the pandemic.

But a prime minister who brings the nation back to its glory days will be remembered as the one who saved the nation, for doing almost the impossible.

Deliver and he will certainly have the last laugh. It is well to remember that he who laughs last laughs the loudest. - FMT

Clement Stanley is an FMT reader.

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

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