Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s inner circle have warned him and several ministers about rising public anger, with the hope that the government will use better communication strategies to reverse the tension, according to those in the know.
Two Bersatu party insiders who spoke to FMT said the government had failed to communicate effectively with the rakyat, relying on dry data instead of real stories of the people’s suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There were some hard truths the prime minister needed to know. We have passed the message. If they do not take heed, the government may not be able to fight the anger,” one insider said.
He said most leaders are aware that it may be too late to reverse the anger but “there’s still hope as we do not want general elections this year.”
He said several party members are unhappy with the way the government was running the country.
“We seem to be giving in to everyone without really thinking of the consequences. We were unhappy when Ramadan bazaars were allowed to open. We caved in to pressure, not wanting to upset the traders, hoping for their support in return,” he said.
The result was that bazaars became one of the main reasons for a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases, with national daily infections hitting the 4,000 mark over several days.
He said the government should not depend too much on data analytics used by experts to gauge the people’s sentiments. “Yes, we need data and analytics, but we need better communication strategies. We are failing with the way we are communicating with the rakyat,” the source said.
The government’s focus had been on positive developments. “We have vaccines. We can control Covid. Follow SOPs. But they are not showing the real picture,” he said.
The rakyat should be told of the suffering of those being given intensive care, and about pregnant mothers or babies dying because of Covid-19. “People need to see this and know this. Such data should be made available every day. Only then will people know the actual picture,” he said.
Such news was not being communicated, resulting in the government being ridiculed for enforcing a nationwide emergency. “We are just giving some dry numbers on deaths which people still cannot connect with. People are still taking the virus lightly,” he added.
Malaysia reported a record high of 44 deaths two days ago.
Another Bersatu party insider said the prime minister’s team had been told there is genuine anger about the double standards practised by the government.
“More than the ongoing MCO, people are angry about the double standards. Such practices have to stop,” he said. “The opposition is likely to milk this issue during elections,” he told FMT.
On social media, the hashtag #KerajaanGagal (failed government) has been trending since mid-April.
He said Muhyiddin had been told that the police must question everyone, including ministers and deputy ministers, if they breach the rules.
Party members had also told him not to hold a general election this year “as we are likely to lose.”
He said the prime minister had been informed that the rakyat wanted job security and an improvement in the economy.
“We can only win the hearts and minds of the rakyat if these changes are made or it may be too late for us to win when elections are called,” he added. – FMT