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COMMENT | Malaysian crisis needs structural solutions, not Superman

COMMENT | It is tempting to think that the world’s problems can be solved by Superman, be it metaphorically a larger-than-life saviour or some magic task force.

The flaw of over-emphasising agency – individuals’ ability to cause changes – and under-recognising structures – constraints that limit impacts of individuals’ actions – is perfectly human. It makes life more dramatic and interesting, and superhero movies more exciting than social science books.

As Malaysia struggles to get out of the triple crisis of health, economy and politics, quick fixes are as tempting as some magic tools promoted by sales personnel in shopping malls.

To sell a quick fix, we must have a single main cause to blame for our problems. For our triple crisis, it is none other than Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

You can blame him generally for the government’s flip-flopping policies, his failure to discipline standard operating procedure (SOP)-defying ministers and VIPs, his inability to face the media, his rise through the backdoor if you are a Pakatan Harapan supporter, and his "scheme of things" to divide and swallow his ally if you are an Umno supporter.

If decapitation is the only surgery needed, then the options are straightforward: a reconstructed government within Perikatan Nasional (PN) and a new government of perhaps Harapan and Umno.

If you think the new prime minister needs to co-opt the opposition, then a unity government. If you think all but one or few politicians are trustworthy, then an unelected, partyless oligarchy in the form of the National Operations Council (NOC).

Before we get excited with all these alternatives, let’s ask some tough questions...

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