graphic by MZUKRI MOHAMAD
IT IS almost like the government is releasing so many blunders from its stockpile that the growingly unforgiving public is finding it difficult to keep abreast.
The issue of nitpicking, or splitting hairs, when it concerns the government and its leaders doesn’t arise anymore and in fact, in most situations, the “crime” befitted the condemnations that ensued.
Take the issue of one who took the “deny first” approach after being seen on video for breaching the Movement Control Order (MCO) to attend to a durian eating gathering — claiming that it was a year-old clip, only to later admit that it was a recent footage and then labelling his earlier denial a result of confusion.
Then there was another, who when photographs of him dining in during the lockdown was circulated on public sphere, apologised and left it to the police to take the appropriate action on him for breaching the MCO.
The first is Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon (picture; left) and the other is Minister in the Prime Minister’s department Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad (right), reasonably high up in the pecking order.
Actually whether they admitted, denied or apologised is of no consequence at this stage, given the unsavoury public opinion towards the government and those helming it. If there is any honour left in them, they would have resigned.
There is no excuse and they cannot expect to be fined like other citizens because they represent the SOPs (standard operating procedures), the MCOs and supported the Emergency and everything that came with it.
While most opinions tend to be more forgiving of Mustapa and the brunt reserved for Mohd Rashid, ultimately, the wrongs they committed were of equal proportion.
No doubt, there had been other leaders from the government who had breached the SOPs. By now, whether they got punished or fined just like other ordinary citizens is no longer the issue.
The offenders from the government should actually tender their resignations and not pass the burden of rectifying their wrongs to the police or other enforcement bodies.
Such expectations are actually too highly placed, in fact almost delusionary.
However, if Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yassin and other senior leaders in the government are still clueless as to why public disaffection towards them is not just simmering but reaching boiling point, they should be told that they suffer from trust deficit from all aspects of governance and administration.
The issue of being a backdoor government, not having legitimacy and backstabbing their political friends have taken a backseat and overtaken by their inefficiency, flip-flops, ineptitude, double-standards, shady deals, incompetence, cluelessness and repeat all these many folds.
Because of their inability to rule and manage the nation, all their past sins are catching up with them.
Then there is the tendency of putting their foot in their mouth — one example is the quote that he can’t be expected to take care of all 32 million Malaysians.
It may sound honest, but anyone accepting the top post in the government, especially when no one had put the gun to his or her head, meant that the whole populace, whether they are supporters or doubters or opponents, all and sundry are the leader’s responsibility.
It is then no surprise that today, as the “white flag” campaign gathers momentum, it signifies the loss of confidence in the government to resolve their ails and they would probably by now accept they are the ones that did not make it to the list of citizens that the leader could take care of.
A PAS leader who tried to mock the campaign — aimed at getting those who are too ashamed to seek assistance to put up the flag to signify their desperation — was either in denial or being defensive as he is part of the “failed government”.
Roundly censured, PAS is yet another component of the ruling coalition that adds to the missteps of the government, which even without is already overflowing the brim.
If opinions and actions are insufficient to add to the woes or being publicly denounced, even a prepared statement from the PM’s Office regarding Mahiaddin’s health did not pass public scrutiny.
In the first place, it is incomprehensible why his office chose to share the one detail that led to the PM being hospitalised and placed under observation.
By any standards, no one discussed such conditions publicly as problems of the bowel movements at best would only be shared with doctors or in the days of yore, with the dukun or shaman master, or maybe not given their prowess of insights of knowing even without being told.
Instead of sympathy or at least a short truce until the PM is discharged, the choice of word in the statement went trending and nuanced creatively to mock and undermine the government of the day. While it can be dismissed as petty, any discerning and sensitive leader would know that the government has totally lost both the plot and public confidence.
And they can only salvage some redemption by exiting.
- Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.