Emergency over politicking or politicizing the emergency?

Since a couple of weeks ago, Malaysia was busy again discussing the same topic. After the hoo-haa of a potentially vote of no confidence motion to be tabled in the Parliament against the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin, the Government then proposed to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to impose a ‘political emergency’ which includes suspending the Parliament.

The ‘emergency’ proposed by the government was to enable the nation to focus on battling the Covid-19 pandemic and battered economy despite some saying that it is a strategy for the Prime Minister to stay in power amid a leadership challenge.

To impose an ‘emergency rule’ over the nation might be too exaggerating and might cause even more chaos or stress towards Malaysians; but I do agree that a stop towards politicking should be done at all cost. 

The more we lengthen the political uncertainty, the more dangerous it is to our health and economy as I have mentioned how this has affected the Covid-19 infections as well as our economic setback.

With due respect to our Constitution, if we still allow any MP or any political leader that claims that they have the numbers, and they need to seek the audience to the King or table a motion of no-confidence vote; then we will continue to have a chaotic political arena. 

Politicians from all sides will be eager to know who the ‘numbers’ are, and political camps will start contacting and meeting up. Those who are in the government will do their best to protect their power while those who are not in the government will do their best to get themselves into power. And all of them will tend to forget about the pandemic and economy again. That is what happens in Sabah state elections which has caused the growth of the pandemic to a critical situation now.

All these negotiations of power not only involve the elected officials, but also people surrounding them, dealing with negotiations and horse trading. The assistants, the lobbyists, power brokers, political influencers, leaders and even political members.

And each time a person claims that they have the ‘numbers’, everyone else gets busy together with them – the journalists, the staff of the Parliament, civil servants and even the King.

Instead of imposing the emergency rule, as I said, we should put a stop towards politicking. Parliament should still go on as the lawmakers have to decide on the Budget 2021 to enable the government to function. But there shouldn’t be any other political agenda including tabling of no-confidence vote. Some may like and some may dislike the current government, but if we continue to harp on political agenda, nobody will get any benefit from it if we do not solve the pandemic problems. 

Considering the amount of people involved in the politicking every time there is a possible change of power, if they can spend the time and energy in focusing to fight the pandemic instead, I am sure we can do better.

It is also weird how some politicians fear the pandemic and feel that the Parliament session shouldn’t be held to avoid the spread of infection, but how they weren’t afraid when they campaigned in the Sabah state elections. They weren’t afraid when they traveled around the country doing the negotiations and dealing so that they will stay or get into power.

This is how hypocritical some politicians are. Are we having an emergency over the politicking or are we politicizing the emergency? And by looking at the numbers of the Covid-19 infections today, we better stop politicking, I hope and I wish.

This article is published in Kwong Wah Yit Poh in Chinese dated 3 November 2020.