Being wished to go away…

pic by BERNAMA

THERE was a popular song in the late 1930s with lyrics that seem apt in dealing with the nation’s current state of affairs.

The song, titled “The Little Man Who Wasn’t There” goes like this: “Last night I saw upon the stair; A little man who wasn’t there; He wasn’t there again today; Oh, how I wish he’d go away” and so forth.

While the song’s genesis is somewhat spooky and panned into some horror genre, for the purpose of this column, it is the lyrics that is of interest.

Given the mounting disgust expressed daily at the government for its inconsistency and double standards; the confusion it sows during this period of panic and uncertainties; and the refusal of Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture) to convene Parliament or even face the press when suspicions and incredulity had been explicitly conveyed over the purchase of vaccines; the nation is left grappling with these fears almost on its own.

Indeed, the people know that the PM/government were there somewhere, but then again they weren’t there. And they weren’t there again today and how the people wished they’d go away.

All these negative sentiments and expressions had culminated with the hashtag #KerajaanGagal (a failed government) circulating on the social media for almost a month now.

It had become pervasive, so much so that it is now widely discussed about what would happen to the nation when the Emergency ends, or that the “failed” government would push for its extension so as to hold on to power.

The Emergency, which was rejected by the King when Muhyiddin requested for it earlier but later agreed to, have not served any purpose if the mounting number of Covid-19 cases is the benchmark.

Unlike the 1969 Emergency, when the National Operations Council (NOC) effectively resolved the political crisis and offered effective economic and social strategies alongside, the Emergency this time around has not been inspiring, to say the least.

Despite the extensive powers it wields, the Emergency and the government had been mocked and the root of it is simply because the Muhyiddin’s legitimacy was in question when he sought the proclamation.

And his failure, and that of his administration, in dealing with the pandemic and economic woes only served to amplify the distrust and growing belief that they are clueless and leading the nation into a pit with no light at the end of it.

Despite the widespread sentiment against the government, ending the Emergency, convening the Parliament and allowing for a vote of confidence/non-confidence with the intention of replacing Muhyiddin and in effect the government would not be as simple as it seems.

As such, it is not a surprise that lately some prominent political leaders, pundits and academics have started discussing the idea of the formation of a unity government as an option in getting the nation out of the mess it is in now.

Of course, not all are for it but the fact that the idea was re-visited and discussed, affirmed the sentiments that this current government had failed and any hope of reviving the nation must be done without and beyond them.

But why a unity government and not to settle for a new PM voted in Parliament and presented to the King for his assent?

Obviously, not many are comfortable with the idea of the Opposition forerunner Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim being able to secure the majority as had occurred on several occasions since the backdoor government took over.

This adds to the uncertainties as given the current equation, it is highly dubious that Muhyiddin does have the majority, nor does Anwar.

That leaves the nation with a hung government and a general election is not an option given the raging pandemic.

Actually, all these symptoms were there from the very beginning when Muhyiddin decided to plot the Sheraton Move with his allies from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, renegades from Parti Keadilan Rakyat and then Opposition — Umno, PAS and several other parties from Sabah and Sarawak.

Hours before the King decided to announce Muhyiddin as the 8th PM, Pakatan Harapan (PH) with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as their PM’s choice had sought an audience with the King to prove that they had 114 MPs on their side, meaning that Muhyiddin was a minority PM.

No doubt, after that several MPs who had earlier expressed support for PH and Dr Mahathir had crossed over to Muhyiddin’s side, but the numbers were never convincing nor formidable.

However, it could be argued that if the King had accepted the petition from PH and Dr Mahathir then, the government they formed would have also been one with a razor-thin majority.

It would have, but also that it would have been viewed as a legitimate government that was voted in by the people at the polls.

Further to that, Dr Mahathir had, after being named as interim PM, proposed the formation of a unity government which was then shot down by his then allies from PH, with one even suggesting that it would have turned Dr Mahathir into a dictator.

In reality, the rejection was not about Dr Mahathir ending up being a dictator, it was about them having to share power with parties from the other divide and the possibilities of ending up without ministerial positions if the unity government roped in professionals and intellectuals as proposed.

Today, these very people who rejected the unity government are prepared to work with the parties they earlier opposed in joining the unity government.

In many ways, Dr Mahathir is vindicated in wanting to form the unity government as it seems to be the only viable option then and today.

If those who were thinking only about their interest had thought about the nation’s then, be they from PH or then Opposition, the nation may not be in the strangling predicament it is in right now.

They may not want to admit their selfishness and idiocy then, but it will suffice if they are prepared to swallow their pride and work towards it now.

Failingwhich, they are irrelevant and should be wished to go away as well.