In his first address to the nation after sworn in as the 8th Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin said – “I am a brother to the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians, the Sikhs, the Ibans, the Kadazans, the Dusun, the Murut and those of various ethnicities. I am your prime minister. Even if you are a farmer, a fisherman, a trader, a civil servant or a private sector employer, I am your prime minister.”
Mr. Muhyiddin, arguably the first prime minister of a backdoor government, made that pledge on March 2, 2002. Less than 3 weeks later today (March 17), the 72-year-old prime minister, who was a pancreatic cancer patient, has shown his true colour. He is definitely not a statesman who deserves respect, despite his 40 years of experience in politics and government.
In spite of the horror first death registered in Malaysia today from the Coronavirus pandemic, PM Muhyiddin has chosen to play UMNO’s trademark cheap politics when he chaired a special National Action Council meeting with all the chief ministers – except those from the states controlled by opposition Pakatan Harapan, namely Selangor, Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Penang and Sabah.
No matter what could be his excuses or grudges, in times of crisis and as a leader of a country, Muhyiddin should work together with rivals to combat a common enemy – Coronavirus. After all, the 5 states under the leadership of opposition parties contribute to 40% of the infection cases. Was the premier trying to say that people under those 5 states are not the citizens of Malaysia?
Perhaps Muhyiddin can learn from the United States. Despite fierce political rivalries between the Republican and Democratic, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump managed to strike a deal on an economic stimulus package to address the Coronavirus, providing paid sick leave for workers and pumping billions of dollars to states for food programs and unemployment benefits.
That’s what mature politics is all about – putting public interest, namely the Americans, before everything else. But as far as Muhyiddin’s policy is concerned, the public interest is divided into two groups – those who support him will be taken care of while those who criticize him will be punished and ignored completely. For Muhyiddin, you’re either with him, or against him.
The prime minister of the backdoor Perikatan Nasional coalition government appeared to be clueless about the importance of bipartisan politics in times of a crisis. The way he deliberately left out the chief ministers of the 5 opposition states in a critical meeting to streamline a nationwide lockdown exercise is not only irresponsible, but also illustrates his despicable behaviour.
In the same breath, Muhyiddin has shown clear disrespect for Sultans of head of states of Selangor, Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Penang and Sabah. That’s because the premier has treated the people of those states as if they were second-class citizens or pariah who did not deserve the attention from the federal government. Did not the people of the 5 states also pay taxes?
Yes, the country has just reported its first two deaths from the Coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday (March 17) and the confirmed cases has reached 673. Yet, PM Muhyiddin whose government is barely 1-month-old has shown arrogance – even vengeance – after opposition Pakatan Harapan leaders blamed the rise in the pathogen cases on the incompetency of Muhyiddin administration.
The first victim of the infectious virus was a 60-year-old pastor from the Emmanuel Baptist Church in state capital Kuching, Sarawak. The second victim was a 34-year-old man from Johor who had attended a mass religious gathering by the “Tabligh” missionary group held at a Sri Petaling mosque – Masjid Jamek – in Kuala Lumpur from February 28 and March 1.
Apparently the massive gathering, which was attended by an estimated 16,000 people, has transformed the country as the epicentre of the Coronavirus when more than half of the infection cases have been traced to the event. Thanks to the religious programme, Malaysia has the highest tally of infections in South-east Asia, forcing Muhyiddin to declare a lockdown.
Perhaps the disgraced Muhyiddin wanted the outbreak to spread beyond control in the targeted 5 states so that opposition Pakatan Harapan would lose in the next general election. Heck, even the disgraced former PM Najib Razak said that everyone should be united and no state should be discriminated due to their pro-government or pro-opposition political alignment.
Amusingly, after public backlash against Muhyiddin’s childish and cheap politics, Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Zuki Ali suddenly came forward and apologised for not inviting the Chief Ministers of the 5 state governments under opposition Pakatan Harapan to the top-level meeting. Mr. Zuki insisted that it was his mistake, and not the prime minister.
Seriously? As the Chief Secretary to the Government, who has served the civil service for 28 years, what were the chances that Zuki could make such a silly mistake? We’re talking about a man who had previously served in the Finance, Education, Home and Natural Resources and Environment Ministries, not to mention previously attached to Istana Negara (Palace).
If indeed Mohd Zuki Ali could do such a sloppy job, he should either resign or be fired. It would be more believable if he had accidentally missed out some of the chief ministers of the opposition states. To miss out all the 5 Chief Ministers means there was a clear instruction to exclude all the opposition states of Selangor, Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Penang and Sabah from the meeting.
Besides, the Chief Secretary to the Government is the most senior officer in the Malaysian Civil Service. He is secretary to the Cabinet of Malaysia and is also the secretary-general of the Prime Minister’s Department. He would consult his boss – PM Muhyiddin – before finalizing the attendance list and sends out invitations. He acts on behalf of the prime minister.
To say that the Chief Secretary to the Government has acted without the knowledge of the Prime Minister means he was either plotting against PM Muhyiddin or was a traitor to the country and Agong (King). Either way, he should be investigated and sacked. Obviously, his apology was a drama to fool the people that the prime minister was not involved and therefore, not to be blamed.
The Chief Secretary has been made a scapegoat to shield the backdoor government of Muhyiddin Yassin. Get real, if Muhyiddin, who pronounced Covid-19 as “Kobis-19”, could backstab and betray his former boss Mahathir Mohamad without blinking an eye, do you really think he would not dare give an instruction to exclude 5 Chief Ministers from the opposition camp in a meeting?