The tardiness of instant and soon

pic by TMR FILE

WHETHER by chance or design, at a time when the term “as soon as possible” is being debated as to what time-frame does it actually denotes, several ranked politicians had been uploading their pictures consuming instant noodle on social media platforms.

While the obvious intention is to reflect that they too eat what is widely accepted as a working-class meal, it also gave rise to detractors mocking them that if they were too thick to decipher what “as soon as possible” means, instant, as in the noodle they consumed, should provide them a clue.

All these are of course in relation to the week-old decree from the King and Malay Rulers who wanted the government to convene the Parliament as soon as possible.

Reactions from Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yassin, who proposed the setting up of a committee to study the reopening of the Parliament, and de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan suggesting that September or October is considered “soon as possible” since the King did not give a specific date, obviously rankled their detractors and more.

If many were exhilarated when the King and the Malay Rulers issued separate statements decreeing the reopening of the Parliament as soon as possible, their excitement would by now somewhat dissipated.

The reactions of both leaders lacked urgency and did not capture the spirit of the Royal decree and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi contended that it was tantamount to disrespect to the King.

Despite Umno still having representatives in the Cabinet, in what was perceived as a further attempt to distance the party from the government, Ahmad Zahid has issued a 14-day ultimatum.

While Ahmad Zahid took what seemed to be uncompromising stand, an Umno colleague decided to take an opposing one, reminding him that there is a 28-day notice required for the Parliament to be convened.

Former Umno president Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak threw his weight behind Ahmad Zahid, arguing that the notice could be set aside when there are urgent matters.

While these were developing, a veteran Umno stalwart Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz added to the conundrum, admitting that he had been collecting statutory declarations (SDs) in support of Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, not as the PM candidate but as a representative of Umno when dealing with the King.

Basically, the SDs were collected to express lost of confidence in Ahmad Zahid who allegedly had been working with PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to gather the support of Umno and Barisan Nasional MPs in the latter’s quest to be the PM.

On the flip side, it had been widely speculated that Anwar had garnered the support of 115 MPs, which if true should suffice for him to take over the coveted post.

The only snag, if based on Nazri’s opposition and revelation, it is obvious that among the MPs that provided the numbers for Anwar are the kleptocrats, an anathema to PKR’s partners in Pakatan Harapan (PH), namely Parti Amanah Negara and DAP.

No one is forthcoming as to who are the MPs in the list that support Anwar, but the inclusion of the kleptocrats in the midst could cause a snag to Anwar’s dream and ambition unless Amanah and DAP leaders, who had vehemently denounced any cooperation with the kleptocrats, had changed their minds.

While all these could be dismissed as being the least on the minds of struggling Malaysians, they somehow underscore the state of flux the nation is.

Having pinned high hopes on the Rulers and the King to intervene in facing the government’s incompetency and mismanagement, the uncertainties caused by party politics following the Royal decree basically took the nation back to where it all started.

Lest anyone forget, before the King decided to call political party leaders there were widespread sentiments that the government had failed leading to the hashtag #KerajaanGagal — to simply mean a failed government.

In their frustrations over the growing number of Covid-19 cases, the lockdowns and movement controls which effectively diminished their economy and economic opportunities, some had even started channelling their anger towards the King, simply because he had agreed to Mahiaddin’s request for the proclamation of the Emergency.

Others went further back to the day the King decided to name Mahiaddin as the PM when PH had claimed that he did not have the numbers as they did and was prepared to furnish proof.

When the King decided to meet all the political party leaders it created an air of excitement and anticipation — one, that the Ruler acknowledged the failings of the government so much so that he decided to meet even Opposition party leaders; and secondly, with the Malays Rulers convening a special meeting, expectations were high that something would be done to resolve the problem.

When the King and the Malay Rulers decreed that the Parliament must be convened, the ball is effectively returned to the government’s feet and their reactions as pointed out earlier are anything but encouraging.

In fact, there have been opinions of a possible constitutional crisis if the government continues to drag its feet on the Royal decree.

But the mess is not only caused by the government’s perceived indifference. The reactions from the political players from the collection of SDs to one upmanship will not resolve the citizenry who are choked in a health, social and economic stranglehold.

By the way, a reader took offence of what was written in this column last week.

While it is understandable for a staunch supporter of the PM to feel extremely angry at any criticisms levelled especially when he feels his truth is a monopoly, there are a couple of obvious aspects that could probably help him get his head out of the sand.

One is his inability to realise that Mahiaddin’s pious branding was the doing of his minders, whether it is with Mahiaddin’s consent or otherwise. PAS leaders who had rode on the pious brand today suffer from accusations of being penunggang agama or using the religion to pursue their political end.

Such criticisms arise when they are perceived to have failed in performing their tasks, a similar affliction of Mahiaddin’s. It has nothing to do with his piousness as that is of divine assessment. On the issue of picking on the PM’s real name, it is of consequence as when he chose to use his unofficial name in official duties had led to the release of a man detained for drug-related offences.

When the detainee was released, there were fears that several other similar cases, whereby Mahiaddin had signed the orders using his other name, may see other detainees freed as well.

While it is glamourous for performers, artistes, performers and even cybertroopers to use nom de plumes, stage names and so forth, surely it is not alright for a PM to do so especially when it has dire consequences.

It only can then be surmised that the anger expressed towards this column must have stemmed from the fact that the truth hurts. Or it can be a case of denial, causing a Quixotic-like delusion.

That’s when monstrosities are seen in criticisms and opposing opinions.

  • Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.