Bad seeds and getting rid of bad rubbish


IN THE tradition of ancient wisdom, the phrase “one swallow does not a summer make” can probably be emulated in the coining of another one to reflect current sentiments, which can read as “one sacking does not an integrity make”.

Undoubtedly the new phrase should not attempt nor claim to be comparable to the erudition or wit of the idiom of yore, but suffice if it is able to underscore the public’s simmering displeasure.

The sacking of Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (picture) as the Prasarana Malaysia Bhd chairman, which came about after he was roundly criticised for his conduct during his press conference on Monday’s LRT crash, though in tandem with public opinion does not exonerate the government from being viewed as a failed government.

In fact, the hashtag #KerajaanGagal (a failed government) is a stickler and not likely to be withdrawn nor the sentiments diminished, for as long as the current government sits and Parliament suspended.

And Tajuddin is symptomatic of the failed government status the current administration suffers from — it can’t expect to reap a good harvest when it had been the one sowing the bad seeds.

All that is required is to take a step back in time, just over a year ago, when the backdoor government was formed.

It shamelessly went on an overdrive to wipe out almost all appointees of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, be they politicians or professionals, and replacing them with politicians — in particular MPs.

There was widespread criticism over the blatant appointments of the politicians and it was also widely accepted that these appointments were strictly to ensure that the prime minister (PM) would be able to secure their support in Parliament given his razor thin majority, if not questionable majority.

It is not only the GLCs (government-linked companies) and GLICs (government-linked investment companies)that had to accommodate the politicians at their helm; a bloated Cabinet was created for similarly desperate political considerations.

It is a weak government formed over a post-electoral pact. It is not bound by any manifesto or election promises.

No doubt, their supporters may argue that its predecessor PH had also not fulfilled its manifesto promises. That is exactly the point — there is a manifesto for the electorate to demand to be fulfilled and if it failed to do so, it can be criticised or excused if it could explain the rationale behind the delay or deletion.

But in the case of the current government, what election promise can the electorate hold them against when they entered the election on opposing platforms, part of an opposing manifesto and condemning each other of why the other should not be given the mandate.

Then, post election, they come together to form the government, usurping the voters’ mandate and the closest to any new promise uttered was the PM’s message when he admitted that while it was not a government voted in by the people, he had the people’s interest at heart.

And what Malaysians are witnessing today is a heartless and clueless government with a PM who only issues messages or meets pliant and selected journalists.

Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Razlan Rafii, who has been critical of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s leadership, on the back of Tajuddin’s sacking released a statement identifying seven Cabinet ministers whom he described as ineffective and listed out their failings.

Of course, none of these Ministers were from Umno and except one, the rest were from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Muhyiddin’s vehicle.

While he echoed public sentiments, it, however, exposed Umno’s hypocrisy in what is playing out.

Less than a week ago, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said it was unfair to link his party to the failures of the Perikatan Nasional (PN)-led government.

Not to be ignored is the consistent and persistent jibes taken by their former president Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak — though, like Ahmad Zahid, is facing multiple cases of financial wrongdoings in the courts, apart from being found guilty of several others by the High court — had taken the moral high ground to question the current government. It may sound right superficially as Umno had chosen not to be part of the PN coalition. But it cannot claim that as it is still part of the government.

Nine out of the 32 Cabinet ministers are from Umno including one who is a senior minister. Their gaffes ranged from being clueless of a casino operating during this controlled movement period, to incompetent online registrations for Covid-19 vaccination despite a RM70 million system, to a not so intelligent suggestion by one on the use of the TikTok app.

While Ahmad Zahid, Razlan and Najib for that matter are trying to distance Umno from the PN government, they cannot wash their hands off as Umno is the most responsible in the setting up of the present government.

With its number of parliamentary seats, which is bigger than that of Muhyiddin’s Bersatu, it is instrumental in the creation of this government and it is hypocritical to continuously expose its shortcomings and limitations when it is responsible for propping it up.

It can redeem itself, at least partially, for being responsible in creating the failed government, by severing ties and withdrawing its support for Muhyiddin and the PN government.

Otherwise, one jibe, or two, does not an honest leader make.

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.