By Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
After the announcement of the MCO, Malaysians were shocked at the follow up declaration of the Emergency by the YDP Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister.
I was teaching a zoom class when my son burst in the room saying, "Dad they just declared an Emergency in Malaysia!"
I asked my students for permission to pause while I check that information and lo and behold it was verified. Needless to say my lecture after that was less than enthusiastic. Why teach the future architects about the structure of knowledge and the importance of critical thinking when an Emergency declaration would not care two cents about that ability?
After a full day of telephone conversations and discussions, I had to stop after Asar Prayers to reflect on the events of the day. There was a call from a media news portal and I gave my academic answer to all the journalist's questions. After the interview, I sat in deep thought and asked myself how did we get to this terrible state of affairs that will irrevocably damage the very spirit of democracy and dignity of all citizenry? Undoubtedly this was an historic occasion when Malaysia officially failed as a nation. Whose fault is it or was it?
The WhatsApp is abound with the popular narrative that Muhyiddin was going to lose his shirt because of Umno's imminent pull out and when Nazri finally put his money where his mouth is, that was the final straw. The popular narrative continued that in order to stop the Sarawak election and the General Election with this loss of majority, the PM had sought Agong for Emergency powers to stay in power. Many are also wondering why the Agong agreed when he had denied this request before.
I have always stood by in my writing that Emergency powers should not be declared because of the pandemic in order to stop election because I am a strong believer that election does not cause or worsen the pandemic if done correctly. For me the failure of the Sabah Election that caused the second wave was due to mismanagement by the election agency, the law enforcement and the politicians themselves in not following strict SOP.
If the authorities had come down hard on all the politicians regardless of their parties in government or opposition than there was no second wave. Furthermore, New Zealand and the USA had had their election done in a most professional manner following the SOP.
So, why now the YDP Agong had agreed to the Emergency Declaration? I would like to discuss three other parties who were at fault which is not being popularly mentioned in the mainstream narrative.
Firstly, Anwar, Mahathir and Shafiee could not sit together to come to an agreement on who should be the PM for the opposition. Mahathir still wants to be a major player even though his Pejuang does not have an inspiring army of lawmakers. Shafie is making his bid for power and he too does not command any strong presence. Anwar is the strongest in the numbers game but he always come off short.
Malaysians are clearly angry at the opposition for not being able to put the country first. Mahathir should follow his own advice and 'pergi balik-lah'! He was trusted twice by the people and he had disappointed the people in both instances. No way is anybody going to trust him again. I believe that Malaysia should have a PM from Sabah or Sarawak and Anwar should back down even though he has the majority support. If Shafie was named than all the parties will be united in an opposition front.
When Muhyiddin no longer command the majority, at least the Agong can see a united alternative but he did not and so Muhyiddin can govern indefinitely even if he loses the simple majority. Thus, Anwar, Mahathir and Shafie are at fault for not putting a united front.
The second party at fault is Umno. Their recently completed assembly saw a convincing rejection of PN and yet the warlords in Umno waited and waited. Why? Everyone knows that Umno was only Sabre rattling and not serious because the party wants the court cases to be dropped and their warlords rewarded with projects and titles that promises wealth and power.
The party waited too long and Muhyiddin struck a death blow which will render Umno a pariah party of beggar MPs and leaders. Had Umno struck hard and fast, PN would have drowned without any way to be saved. But Umno waited a day too long. Why? It was greedy for the shadow of a bigger bone in the water. Umno can also pergi balik-lah. Game over.
The third party to be at fault is strangely enough …us Malaysians. When news broke that Anwar was discussing with some Umno MPs Malaysians reacted with disgust. This reaction drove the No Umno-DAP combo mantra and perpetuated the idea of Chinese against Malays narrative. Now, every democracy loving Malaysians have lost the nation as the Emergency has ripped whatever dignity left simply because Malaysians cannot think strategically but prefers idealism to pragmatic reality. Think about it. The horse has bolted and the rice has become porridge.
We, as a nation, are in a complete constitutional mess. There is no longer any dignity left when Parliament, as the people's check and balance, is no longer functioning. Before the emergency, Malaysians are already wary of the institutions of governance that has very little credibility and integrity. Now, those institutions are given a blank check by desperado politicians.
The irony is, we as Malaysian citizens and our opposition representatives are also the major culprit in this unfolding drama in the early hours of the new year. Thus, 2021 may be known as the year where another 'pariah' nation is born to the world.
(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university.)