Lessons we can learn

The appointment of the eighth prime minister sets a new chapter in Malaysian politics.

LETTERS: THE longest week in Malaysia’s political history remained surrealistically under suspended animation until the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, using his judgment and discretionary powers provided under the Constitution, appointed Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the eighth prime minister on Feb 29 .

Regardless of our political affiliation or background, there are many lessons that we can learn from this unprecedented and unimaginable political crisis.

WE must respect the king’s discretionary powers and decision girded by the constitution regardless of our sentiments on the outcome. The political turmoil with no proper government and fluid support of one candidate or another by certain members of parliament (MPs) was only superseded by intense horse trading. Carrying a burden of responsibility, the king acted as quickly as possible under the circumstances to reach a plausible decision;

PEOPLE unhappy with the king’s decision impulsively denounced it as a “backdoor” government to describe the new Muhyiddin administration. Here’s a primer: there is no such thing as a backdoor government. The king acted constitutionally and if MPs are upset with it, the proper reaction is to challenge the decision in the next sitting of the Dewan Rakyat;

CREDIT all political parties and key players that they did not need to resort to violent street demonstrations unlike other countries shaken by political uncertainties. The crisis was civilly handled in accordance with the constitution, a virtuous sign of our maturing democracy;

DUE credit to the civil service, including the police and the armed forces, for maintaining peace, order and public service despite the absence of the highest chain of command. In fact, some civil servants commented — half-jokingly — that they felt at ease and even relief without politicians lording over them.

This is the irony of governance and public accountability — a case of how some politicians are woefully ignorant of managing and motivating civil servants to better performance;

POLITICS is a dynamic and challenging form of change management. You know the dictum: In politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies, so for belligerents whose default mode is to accuse and blame, and reject the idea of changing stance on an issue, party defections or turning independent, grow up.

These are fundamental principles of parliamentary democracy, the right of MPs to switch allegiance, position or views mid-term. Yes, hold them accountable and demand a reason for the makeover but don’t jump to quick conclusions without giving them a fair hearing. Sure, there will always be dishonest, corrupt and crooked politicians, so by all means, criticise, expose or condemn such MPs but within the ambit of the law;

THE political landscape is still unpredictable in its daily fluidity but it is no excuse to dispense peace and civility while giving the new prime minister the opportunity to present his case and new cabinet at the next sitting of Parliament and let the august house decide appropriately. Respect the outcome;

THE proposed national unity government as espoused by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is an excellent idea. Its pertinence is what Malaysia needs to fix our ailing economy.

The assumption that such a unity government might re-appoint Umno leaders facing criminal corruption charges is skewed.

A unity government would be strictly based on “ability” and “integrity” and this automatically scratches out tainted leaders;

THE people opposed to a unity government on grounds of a void in check and balance and inability to “control” the Prime Minister have gotten their priorities wrong.

It reflects their sectarian interest, outdated and immature concept of accountability and how democracy works, not to mention indifference to the country’s wellbeing.

We need a national unity approach to cut down useless partisan bickering and avoid unnecessary distractions of divisive race and religious issues.

We need a rational approach that efficiently uses productive resources and synergise harmoniously to turn around the economy and to further develop our beautiful multicultural existentialism justly for our mutual benefit.

by K. K. TAN and AZMI ANSHAR.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/03/571798/lessons-we-can-learn

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