Mariam Mokhtar on Muhyiddin’s “Sick of Politics” Comment

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PM using the MCO to consolidate his power.


Muhyiddin said that he is focussed on Coronavirus because the rakyat is sick of politics. He is wrong! We’re not sick of politics, but we are sick of corrupt politicians, Muhyiddin’s back-door politics, treachery, incompetent MPs, and the way Muhyiddin hides behind the Coronavirus threat to consolidate his power.

The problem with Malaysia is the rakyat. We don’t question enough. We rarely scrutinise. We are happy to accept politicians’ answers at face value.

We choose sides and then fail to see the wrong committed by our side. When someone does question an irregularity, we pick on that person, instead of seeing what he or she is trying to uncover.

We are beholden to our leaders and neglect to see the harm they are doing. We allow the politicians to bully us and we prefer to let them think for us.

Why blame the politicians? We let them into our homes, our minds and our personal space. We fail to control them, and they will manipulate us again and again, until we learn to tame them.

The whole world is moving forward, but Malaysia is regressing towards the 6th Century. Elsewhere, the PRC Chinese want to be the first to land on Mars, the Indians are not far behind them, but in Malaysia, many Malays are happy to crawl back under their tempurung (coconut shells).

Young Malays are cowed into silence and the inability to express an opinion is not confined to the Malays. Many non-Malays have been conditioned to accept that they are second best. This is wrong because it deprives them of their true potential and the nation of the best minds.

By the time Malaysians dare speak out, they will be far behind the rest of the world.

What is Muhyiddin prepared to do?

Muhyiddin Yassin says he wants to save Malaysia, but what is he prepared to do, to improve our lives? Over the past 63 years, the rakyat has been made spineless and speechless by politicians who enact laws to silence us. The rakyat is too timid to fight back.

I am not asking people to be rude, but our deference to titled people, doctors and lawyers is mind-boggling. Notice how some people bow, bend and scrape, and nod in agreement, in their presence?

When discussing a particular corrupt chief minister, with a friend, her reaction was “Oh, he’s not so bad, he only stole RM5 million.”

RM5 million, RM5,000 or RM5. Taking money that is not yours is theft. Our leaders have made us immune to theft. Then we wonder how the disgraced Najib Abdul Razak was able to steal several billions of the rakyat’s money.

In the recent Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) debacle, a private doctor asked the Ministry of Health (MoH) about the distribution of PPEs throughout Malaysia.

Instead of supporting the doctor, others vilified him. A few people told him that now is not the time to question the MoH.

An allegation of profiteering linked to the sale of PPEs, reports that PPEs are stuck in warehouses and thefts of PPEs emerge. Why should tough questions not be asked?

Why wait until the coronavirus threat is over, by which time Malaysians will have forgotten, to paraphrase Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s observation that “Malaysians mudah lupa” (easily forget).

Our fault for allowing problems to build up

Moreover, the same people will then say, “Why bring it up again?” So, those who may have profited from a quick sale of the PPEs will go unpunished.

It is our fault for allowing problems to build up before we take action.

If Muhyiddin wants to save Malaysia, he should trim his ministries, and remove incompetent civil servants and politicians.

We are told to observe social distancing and avoid crowds, but pictures of ministers amid large groups of people are shown on television.

If Muhyiddin is genuine about saving Malaysia, he should tell his ministers to lead by example.

Many of the older generations of politicians, like Mahathir, Anwar Ibrahim and Muhyiddin, benefited from education during colonial times that was heavily skewed towards the English language. From the mid-70s and 80s, these men flip-flopped on the use of the English language in schools and messed-up our children’s futures.

Being fluent in English opens children to a new world of learning, but it does not auger well for politicians, who want an ignorant rakyat – who will be easy to manipulate.

If Muhyiddin is sincere about saving Malaysia, he should overhaul our education system and promote the use of English in national-type schools.

Western Europe abolished its feudal system by the 15th Century but in 21st Century Malaysia, our feudal system is alive and thriving.

In medieval times, serfs were given land to till for the barons, who were in turn rewarded by the King. When the need arose, like in times of war, the King would demand able-bodied men and weaponry from his barons, who would then be rewarded with the spoils of war, and be given more land and titles.

Today, in Malaysia, the serfs still toil in the cities and factories, while the modern-day baron reaps the rewards which take the form of plum positions in GLCs or government agencies. The titles still exist and are dished out like confetti at a wedding.

What example is Muhyiddin setting for younger Malaysians? Power, position and perks await the person who swears loyalty to him. Qualification, skills, experience and meritocracy do not matter.

Today, he uses the coronavirus movement control order (MCO) to consolidate his power. He has done his best to move his men around, like the pieces in a game of chess and our MPs are powerless to act, whilst we cannot protest; and Muhyiddin has the cheek to tell us that he wants to save the nation.