Can Malaysia end the leadership crisis? ― Mohammad Fakhrurrazi

JANUARY 14 — The political development this time has really disappointed the people. The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has failed to highlight the leadership needed by the country during the Covid-19 crisis.

The leadership crisis in the government is getting more and more serious. Apparently, the “27-0” victory during the 2021 Budget committee level vote, does not give any guarantee that Muhyiddin's government will remain strong for this year.

Now, after the Covid-19 cases increase to more than 3,000 cases a day, the Emergency order is implemented without any preparation, planning and open discussion with the people.

The question is, to what extent are Emergency orders and movement control orders (MCO) capable of relaxing Covid-19 curves? Will this move also solve the leadership crisis which is also increasingly worrying?

Wrong direction

The deterioration of performance and leadership of the PN government stems from the misgovernance. The issue of transparency and accountability in making decisions and providing information is a big problem for the PN government.

The PN government dominate every decision made without providing open discussion space with members of parliament, stakeholders and state leaders.

This has caused rakyat to face so many uncertainties at this difficult moment due to the inconsistency by the government ie. the last minute change on SOP and “dua darjat” practices between minister and the rakyat.

The PN government should be more prepared to plan ahead after overcoming the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis for the past 11 months. However, the government's actions today are increasingly being questioned by the public. 

The fact is discussions between the government and parliamentarians in making important decisions managing pandemics are not something foreign and difficult to implement.

For instance, Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis brought a motion to parliament to discuss plans amd tsratergy to fight Covid-19 together with Opposition MPs on January 15, 2021. Opposition parties (SYIRZA coalition) can propose to manage the crisis in the debate with the soirit of bipartisanship,  without holding non-transparent closed discussions

The same is true in the United Kingdom. The House of Common has agreed to extend the lockdown proposed by the Conservative government on January 6, 2021 with a vote of 524 MPs in favour and 16 against. The lockdown debate took place after the death toll of Covid-19 in the UK escalated.

The approach in the UK and Greek parliaments are so effective, set an example of togetherness and solidarity for both parties to build back better the entire country in the time of unprecedented crisis. The government and the opposition can make good decisions and build public confidence in the country's direction in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.

What's next?

Only transparent and accountability principles can save the PN government. This could be done through solidarity and political will of the PN government to work with all parties, including the oOpposition; to continue function as a minority government. 

For the time being, the PN government needs to call a special parliamentary session to provide clarification and allow MPs to debate their proposals to improve the management of Covid-19. 

The special parliament sitting is very important as the PN government is ready to present the National Pandemic Management Strategic Plan soon. Of course, all 136 initiatives in this strategic plan need to be discussed by MPs so that the implementation of the policy takes into account the interests of all parties. 

Not only that, but special parliamentary sessions also need to be held immediately so that parliament can look at additional government spending especially during this crisis. The government should have an economic stimulus package to overcome economic problems during Emergencies and MCO .

This approach will ultimately restore the people's confidence to support the government's leadership in the fight against Covid-19. It is more widely accepted and safe compared to the old approach and snap election which ultimately still does not guarantee government stability and the Covid-19 case will subside.

Parliament is the pulse of the people. If the government suspends parliament, it seems to stop the hopes and lives of the people to see their elected representatives voice their views to the government to improve the quality of life for the rakyat.

Therefore, the PN government should reconsider the proposal to suspend the parliamentary session during an Emergency. Parliamentary institutions are the heart of the democracy to ensure that Malaysia is still led by a credible government that has a great desire to rebuild a better Malaysia. 

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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