LETTER | There’s a virus sweeping Malaysia in 2020, and it’s the political bug of a most virulent strain.
The good news is that this bug only infects those who are egocentric, delusional and self-righteous. The bad news is that those infected are the “leaders” whom we are supposed to rely on to govern the country and to overcome the worst economic slump caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Those who caught this political bug are in a perpetual state of politicking. Even in the midst of a deadly pandemic, they eat, sleep and dream politics, as if living in an alternate world where the only thing that matters is power, never mind food or shelter.
They are completely detached from the new reality that ordinary Malaysians find themselves in. Coffee-shops and mamaks are half empty. Shopping malls are devoid of the usual crowds. Businesses are struggling to keep afloat. Employees’ pays are slashed, and jobs are lost.
Schoolchildren are deprived of months of a normal education. The people’s freedom of movement is curtailed, while families are separated across borders. Pessimism and despair lurk in the air.
While the rakyat anxiously monitors the number of daily covid-19 cases with hopes of a return to some sort of normalcy, the “leaders” are obsessed by a different number – the number of MPs they can muster to either stay in power or to seize it.
Cocooned in their “power bubbles”, these “leaders” do not appear to empathize with the pains that the people have to endure throughout the movement control order.
A minister chastised businesses for “huru-hara” (panicking) when new restrictions are being announced with just two days’ notice given, expecting businesses to instantly adjust their operations at a click of a button.
Movement control orders are re-imposed and extended without a clear exit plan or assistance offered to affected business-owners, most of whom are still struggling with a fragile recovery.
School closures are being announced without any advance preparations to ensure conducive learning can continue at home, nor is any assistance given to students unable to learn remotely. A student had to climb a tree to access better wi-fi reception, and this too was initially derided by a minister as being a made-up tall tale.
The people are warned and threatened with fines and jail times if we do not follow the standard operating procedures but VIP “leaders” can blatantly flout the same rules with little consequence.
Common sense is set aside when they force an election in Sabah that turned out to be a super-spreader event, forcing Malaysians to endure a second bout of enhanced lockdown amidst a resurgence of infections.
The ever obedient rakyat ended up paying the price for the politicians’ disobedience.
Adding to the uncertainty and gloom that is already prevalent in the country, the “leaders” then decided that a state of emergency is required to tighten their hold on power, camouflaging it as a necessary move to counter the worsening pandemic. A cabinet meeting was hastily convened to set the scheme in motion.
Ordinary Malaysians rightly suspect that this is a political manoeuvre aimed not at the preservation of the rakyat’s well-being, but of their privileged positions. One deputy minister even put the blame squarely on the rakyat’s shoulders, admonishing the electorate for creating political instability.
Never mind that in the first place, these self-serving politicians have grabbed power via a Machiavellian conspiracy in the midst of a global pandemic. They have succeeded but ushered in a government that is unstable and insecure, with coalition partners that are held together not by shared principles but by the lust for power.
Now the plotters are attempting to hold on to power by whatever means necessary, even if that means trampling on the spirit of the Constitution. The rakyat breathed a huge sigh of relief when the King declined to acquiesce to these selfish politicians’ plot.
Malaysians continue to soldier on, holding out against hope that the government can fully focus on resuscitating the ailing economy and supporting failing businesses. Regrettably, the government still appears to be engrossed not in fighting the virus but for its own political survival.
The same goes for the opposition.
At least the Covid-19 virus will eventually go away once the vaccine is found and distributed. Alas, the same can’t be said for this political bug plaguing Malaysia. This bug may end up being the more malicious virus, inflicting far worse permanent damage on the nation.
Malaysians may just have to co-exist with its carriers, as the latter appears immune to any forms of treatment, for a long, long time to come.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.