A failed govt a failed nation makes


WHEN Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) ominously said that Malaysia was on her way towards a failed nation, there wasn’t much reaction from the ruling elites.

Either they agree with him or that they did not think his opinion mattered. But given their strong reactions to his other — less ominous — statements, the former seems to be the more likely but publicly acknowledging it as such will have dire consequences on their political wellbeing.

Regardless, ignoring it will, however, not solve the problem and they know they just cannot wish it away.

But for those who disbelieve what Dr Mahathir said should just look at all the recent developments and they will realise that if nothing is done to remedy the situation — Malaysia is on the precipice, about to tip and go on a headlong gush heading south.

The tell-tale signs are all there.

Firstly, there is a dysfunctional government in which its members —from the top to the bottom — seem to be living a bubble that excludes the society they are supposed to serve.

Then, there is the incoherence as reflected either in their policies and or their executions or both. This has directly affected the wellbeing of the citizenry, especially those in the lower strata.

But the most telling is the double standards which stem from being detached and self-indulgent, and fed by the sense of self-importance which was attained through corrupt and illegal means.

All these made the culprits shameless and in turn, they couldn’t care less even when they knew that the populace could see through them.

Hence, their nonchalance and bravado even when caught with their pants down, coming up with ridiculous reasons and justification.

It is not that they think that the public are stupid and are unable to see through their lies. It is just that they don’t care and they’re giving the finger to the public, mocking them as to what can the public do to them.

In the past, there had been transgressions but the system had its own devices in dealing with them and the buck always stopped at the top.

Take the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission top man Tan Sri Azam Baki’s controversy. Given the magnitude shrouding it and how magnified the level of public distrust towards the agency will be if it is not tackled, surely it is a situation when Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob should step in.

Similarly, in the case of the floating logs that caused major damage and flooding in Pahang. The public have been questioning the authorities on the logging activities in the state and given the amount of logs that emerged and swamped the flood areas, surely the federal government should step in and give a stern and decisive stand.

But the silence, albeit accusations that these timber concessions and concessionaires are backed by a powerful force and that, has stirred the imaginations of many.

And even if the PM finally decides to step in later, it will always be a day too late.

But that seems to be symptomatic of him as in the manner he had handled, or rather failed to, the floods in Selangor. It had left the nation reeling as to where do they turn to in their devastation.

What makes it worse is that neither the PM nor members of his Cabinet had come up with any ideas that had convinced the citizenry that he knows what he’s doing and that his Cabinet members are lining up to execute his ideas.

The thing is that this is not the first time that Malaysia faces a crisis. It had in the past and despite doomsday soothsayers, it had survived and come out stronger.

The faith of the nation in the leadership was restored.

This time around, what makes the concern of Malaysia being a failed nation more real is because the PM and his Cabinet seem clueless and when they are not, it is to serve their political interest and not the interest of the nation.

To be fair to the PM, his ascension was unplanned and uncharted and he came in at the worst time possible.

Ismail Sabri did not go through the “normal” process to get to the seat. He was a part of a backdoor government cobbled together by Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yassin who, perceived or otherwise, spend much of his time consolidating his position and the timing for such efforts could not have been lousier.

By the tail-end of his inglorious rule, he handed down to Ismail Sabri a failed government.

From the word go, Ismail Sabri was fire-fighting and chasing his own tail as apart from being a part of the failed government, he also has to rope in members of the failed government into his Cabinet as failing which, he would not become the PM.

It is as simple as that. And how can anyone expect a different outcome from the previous failed government when the present government is made up of the same people.

That is as far as being fair to the PM can be stretched.

Appointing Mahiaddin to chair the National Recovery Council and heralding kleptocrats only affirm the popular opinion that Ismail Sabri’s appointments are only to ensure his political survival and longevity. The nation may come later, if at all.

Until and unless the PM does something to change the course, Dr Mahathir’s fear of Malaysia ending up a failed state becomes almost omen-like. It has nothing to do with predictive gifts or having a third eye.

It is there for all who choose to see.

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.