The silent majority is watching

They are becoming intolerant of politicians who forget that they will be held accountable when the time comes

pic by TMR FILE

JUST in case you have any worry cells left in 2020 — after trying to stay alive in a killer pandemic, not panicking about the end of the bank moratorium and banging heads against the wall at the absurdity of politicians who can’t keep their stories straight — there is an asteroid hurtling towards Earth at this very moment.

Scientists who keep an eye out for such disasters say there is a 0.43% chance of it hitting Earth.

The space rock, known as 2018VP1, is expected to come closest to the planet on Nov 2, but even if it reaches Earth, the atmosphere will eat it up and turn it into cat litter, they say.

It’s good to know that our giant murals of leaders will not be annihilated, but this is annus horribilis 2020 after all. Even a one in 240 chance should be plenty scary.

However, back on Earth, specifically in the cultural wasteland of Cyberjaya, people are too busy to worry about asteroids.

At the local White Coffee last night, where lost souls congregate after dinner and before the Movement Control Order curfew descends, they were discussing politics, trying to make sense of the chaos that has visited us after six months of party-hopping, skullduggery and the tiresome chore of keeping up with who’s what and where since the previous government collapsed under the weight betrayals within its own ranks.

The shifting coalitions in February overturned the results of the General Election (GE) of 2018 and installed a new prime minister in Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to replace Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. With a fragile majority in Parliament, Muhyiddin has had his hands full, trying to keep the coalition together while staking a claim to legitimacy during a pandemic and a stuttering economy.

With a hung Parliament, Malaysians constantly have to make decisions on who they will vote for, just in case an election is called tomorrow, while political parties bore us with announcements of who they are actually allied with. This is not wrong if they are constantly confusing us on a daily basis.

There is Perikatan Nasional, which may or may not have Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, PAS and Umno in it. Then, there is Pakatan Harapan, Pakatan Harapan Plus, Barisan Nasional, Muafakat Nasional, and the latest spanner in the works — Pejuang.

I would detail out all the alliances that have been announced, but I too, am not too sure who is where.

There is a Venn diagram floating about that may assist the poor voters to navigate the farcical landscape, but I doubt, it will help anyone because there are so many overlaps of allegiances. The only clear indication is that PAS seems to be in every grouping.

The next GE is not due for another two years, but politicians are acting like there will be one tomorrow.

Apart from the big GE, there is a slew of lesser elections, including a small election in Slim this very weekend and a watershed state election in Sabah next month.

The rakyat want to keep up with the developments, but our brains, probably desensitised daily by temperature guns, give up. We will probably see something that happened in 2018 repeat in the next GE — that people have already made up their minds and are waiting quietly until the time comes to dip their fingers in that indelible ink again.

People are suffering from news fatigue. Or more precise, the silent majority is becoming intolerant of politicians and their parties who forget that they will be held accountable when the time comes.

Fatigued from keeping up with antics that include schoolyard heckling in Parliament, going abroad on the sly and not owning up when caught, and the blatant entitlement shown by the ruling class, Malaysians are judging politicians on their deeds and no longer what comes out of their mouths.

Deeds, not words.

It is ironic that it was a politician that has united Malaysians of all colour and creed recently.

We all want to see the minister who went to Turkey and flouted self-quarantine laws gets the full force of the law because ordinary Malaysians have been imprisoned, including a 72-year-old woman.

So, good luck with that. Meanwhile, there are probably people who secretly wish asteroid 2018VP1 is actually a good omen instead of something that could put some of us out of our misery. Happy Merdeka.

ZB Othman is the editor-in-chief of The Malaysian Reserve.