“Just Stay At Home”. This composed statement was uttered by the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin on March 16, when he announced the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO); which imposed drastic measures for a period of 14 days, starting on March 18, with the clear purpose of curbing the spread of COVID-19.
All activities should come to a halt for 14 days; except those of the essential businesses and organisations.
But the MCO kicks off to a seemingly inauspicious start as many people still loitering around apparently oblivious to the MCO sanction. Social Distancing has fell into deaf ears.
Thus police and soldiers are deployed to man the street especially in the night to stop such unhealthy behaviours.
Halfway through, on March 25, Muhyiddin announces that the MCO will be extended to April 14; sending an unmistakably clear message to all Malaysians that the COVID-19 situation is indeed very serious.
Looking back, on March 18, the day of implementation of the MCO, Malaysia merely recorded it’s first 2 deaths of COVID-19. The following day, on March 19, there were 110 new cases making a total of 900 COVID-19 victims. But on March 25, the death toll has increased to 19, with (not too distant from breaking the 200 mark) 172 new cases in a day; making a total of 1,796 COVID-19 cases.
The number of people infected by COVID-19 increases rather rapidly, above hundred cases everyday.
Although we have not reached the helpless situation like that in Italy where more than 6,000 deaths have thus far been recorded; touch wood we would never be heading towards that direction.
Unlike China, Korea and Japan, which imposed extremely aggressive measures in tracing and tackling people infected by COVID-19 which effectively quell fears among their citizens and clearing the cities from COVID-19 threat as Wuhan has done recently; in this regard we are comparatively lacking such high efficiency.
Undeniably, the few hundreds Rohingya/Myanmar immigrants who had attended the recent tabligh gathering at the Sri Petaling Mosque (February 28 – March 2) and still could not be traced for screening to determine or eliminating COVID-19; are an unknown “timeborms”. Needless to say, their known existence but unknown whereabouts and status, and naturally, with their unchecked and untraceable COVID-19 multiplications out there, may be one of the factors contributed to pushing Malaysia to a worse situation. The thought of it chills our spine.
The pandemic COVID-19 has since been declared by World Health Organization as the common enemy of mankind; of course is undoubtedly also the common enemy of all Malaysians which should have prompted them to stand up in solidarity to fight it.
While Muhyiddin and his “newly born” government immediately throw in all efforts to arrest and ameliorate the situation, some people are quick in launching attacks and question the validity of this “baby” government; calling it the BACK DOOR GOVERNMENT (“BDG attacks”).
It is paradoxical that the reasoning of the BDG attacks is simply that in the last (2018) general election the Pakatan Harapan (“PH”) leaders from PKR, DAP, AMANAH and PPBM including Mahathir, Mat Sabu, Lim Guan Eng and the handful of DAP ministers and so forth were given the mandate and trust to form the government; but overnight all these people were “thrown out”; with the exception of, glaringly among others, Muhyiddin and Azmin; and the former suddenly became the new Prime Minister; hence Muhyiddin and his “gang” had seized powers from the back door. In other words, this Muhyiddin led government is not the one they had voted in 2018 therefore it is a BACK DOOR GOVERNMENT.
But the BDG attacks are deviously dishonest and self-contradictory.
Firstly, and as a matter of fact, at the beginning the then PM, Mahathir had openly lured MPs from all parties (irrespective of their political background) to join him in forming a new government. Had Mahathir succeeded in his attempt, his new government was definitely not the one the people had “voted” in 2018. In this regard, DAP in their ding-dong manoeuvres (going back and forth from backing Mahathir to Anwar, and then Anwar, then back to Mahathir, and again back to Anwar) they were “backing” (either) a Mahathir led or Anwar led BACK DOOR GOVERNMENT.
Yet again, after not able to go on board the “train” of Muhyiddin and left in the lurch outside the new cabinet, then, and only then, DAP become the loudest voice in criticising the new government as a BACK DOOR GOVERNMENT. It’s clearly bad taste politics.
Secondly, it was Mahathir who in his childish or, with due respect, stupid move by given up his PMship and powers in a platter by resigning out of a sudden, which immediately opened the door for the other MPs out there to grab it; ironically including Mahathir himself who was still trying to be in the race for the premiership (though he had just resigned from the very post) as he had declared and offered to lead the new government if given the trust to do so. Had he been chosen again to lead a new government/cabinet comprising MPs from all sorts of parties other than those from PH, that would definitely be a BACK DOOR GOVERNMENT. But none of them said so.
Thirdly, democracy entails the process of VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE, normally tabled by the opposition against government of the day; and if the vote carried through, then the government “voted in” by the majority voters would tumble and the opposition, which arguably not voted by the majority voters would form a new government; but no one can say that this is a BACK DOOR GOVERNMENT.
In a situation where there was a vacancy of the PMship, especially where the whole cabinet had resigned enbloc as Mahathir had done in that instance; then our democratic system renders the Yang Dipertuan Agong the power to appoint any (other) MP who in the opinion of the King may command majority support of the (lower) house to be the new PM. It is ridiculous and mockery to intelligence for Mahathir who had resigned and caused political dilemma at the then advent of the COVID-19 crisis to have the audacity in offering himself to be reappointed PM again.
On the same footing, no one, including Mahathir, PKR, DAP, or AMANAH, could question the irrefutable fact that Muhyiddin was appointed and sworn in as the new PM strictly in accordance with the Constitution of Malaysia.
In the forgoing, it is crystal clear that the BDG attacks do not hold water at all.
If fact, the writer’s book, THE ONE WHO FOOLS THE PEOPLE WINS THE WORLD (published a week before the last general election i.e. on 2.5.2018) has made implicit judgement that Mahathir, and DAP in particular, had fooled the entire world. And Mahathir enroute his second term as prime minister had further fooled everyone in PH; but his impulsive resignation and try to regain the premiership had backfired. The Malay proverb, “Sepandai-pandai tupai melompat, jatuh ke tanah juga” aptly sums up his suicidal downfall.
Mahathir led Pakatan Harapan always argued that BN had ruled for 60 odd years (again this is a devious distortion of historical fact as BN only came into inception in 1974), as such the then PH government should be given the latitude of time to perform.
Then, one wonders why the BDG attacks started to “bark” at the new government, entrusted by the King, right after it has just been formed.
At this crucial juncture when the whole nation is bracing against the COVID-19 catastrophe; we cannot afford to waste time and energy in political bickering; which can cost the loss of countless precious lives. But in solidarity we save lives and the nation. God save Malaysia.
Thus the BDG attacks in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis tantamount to pulling the legs of and attacking the “baby-age government”; is crude and treacherous.
Written by : CHAN TSE YUEN (陈思源)
Chairman of : HUMANITY ORGANIZATION OF MALAYSIA (“hom”)
Author of the book : “THE ONE WHO FOOLS THE PEOPLE WINS THE WORLD” (骗得民心者得天下).