Perikatan Nasional: Stop burdening the rakyat on your high horse

Ever since Perikatan Nasional seized Putrajaya and a handful of states following the “Sheraton Move”, it is clear that the coalition is just as arrogant and oblivious to the rakyat as the previous UMNO-led government by Najib Razak.

The most recent political horseplay involves the attempted expulsion of the five honourable Bersatu MPs as punishment for honouring the voter’s mandate and continuing the battle against political corruption with Pakatan Harapan by sitting in the opposition bench.

Unfortunately, “honourable” could not be used to characterise those who jumped ship and chomped at the bit when bought out with ministerial position or GLC chairpersonship.

It is this very attitude of the opportunistic politicians in the governing coalition who are burdening the rakyat while sitting on their high horse following their seizure of power through the back door.

Lacking Accountability

It is becoming ever more apparent during this COVID-19 pandemic that the PN government lacks the accountability and humility to own up to their failures as they continuously blockade themselves from the media and scapegoat civil servants.

One of the earliest embarrassments is claimed by the Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Siti Zailah who deactivated her twitter account following her untimely tweets[1].

We are in an era where social media has broken the fourth wall and allows for direct interaction between voters and government.

While social media has enabled us to communicate with one another as we are separated from our loved ones during the MCO restrictions, unfortunately, it has also led to a rise in cyber-bullying and online sexual harassment.

The continued silence from Rina Harun (Women, Family and Community Development Minister) and Siti Zailah following the suicide of 20-year-old Thivyaanayagi Rajendran from cyber-bullying and the online sexual harassment of my comrades signifies that they are out of touch with the rakyat.

If Siti Zailah and Rina Harun address the spate of cybercrimes with the same enthusiasm they have for flight attendant uniforms and Doraemon posters, I have the slightest of hopes that we could stem the regressions towards women empowerment seen under Perikatan’s governance.

Further, when ministers continue to shy away from the public spotlight and stay inactive when societal issues about their ministry occur, I suggest the effectiveness and integrity of these appointees must come into scrutiny.

We mustn’t forget that ministers are public servants who ought to prioritise the public’s best interests as their salary is earned from the taxes we pay.

Another instance where the government’s communication has been placed in doubt is the shifting of blame onto civil servants and public institutions as a result of PN’s blunders.

This can be seen with the chief secretary to the government cleaning up Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s mess following the public uproar of not inviting opposition chief ministers to a key COVID-19 meeting. Another example is Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul pushing the blame on Bank Negara for the government’s mistake on the loan moratorium due to banks[2].

Shifting the blame onto public servants and institutions is a clear weakness in their leadership, as they simply don’t accept accountability for their actions. This thus furthers the gap between the government and their stakeholders they serve.

Straight from the horse’s mouth

With party elections on the horizon coupled with the recent admission of Azmin’s accomplices into PPBM, the slugfest to reach the top of Bersatu becomes ever more competitive.

To further political ambitions in light of the upcoming elections, opportunistic politicians such as Wan Fayhsal, Willie Mongin and Edmund Santhara are attempting to increase their stock by using their new-found presence as deputy ministers.

On the one hand, we have Wan Fayhsal’s numerous attempts at highlighting his “achievements”, which have only resulted in the rakyat unimpressed and public ridicule from senior statesmen[3].

Rather than gloat on your “achievements” and continue your politicking, I suggest that the Deputy Youth and Sports Minister focus his attention on pressing youth issues.

The spike in youth unemployment has caused further economic insecurity for the already financially constrained and the prospected lockdown related mental health issues affecting the youths such as the depression often goes unattended.

On the other hand, we see one-trick ponies Willie Mongin and Edmund Santhara, who seem to only possess a knack for firing baseless aspersions against the opposition.

Earlier in the month, Edmund Santhara’s attempts to sensationalise the xenophobic sentiments against the Rohingyas by linking it to the DAP went unsubstantiated and only exposed his shallow political acumen as he continues to not produce any impactful policies.

More recently, Willie Mongin’s efforts at smearing Harapan’s economic policies backfired tremendously as he was duly refuted by Wong Chen. The Subang MP’s rebuttal not only revealed that the Puncak Borneo MP spoke a grand total of three times during the PAC meetings, but that he was also absent for three of the hearings.

The evident absence of political integrity was validated straight from the horse’s mouth as Willie Mongin wrote: “I don’t regret being removed from PAC as that post is without salary and remunerations”.

Drunk on kool-aid

Formerly in opposition after GE14, Perikatan Nasional’s delusional self-praise on their high horse will only lead them to become drunk on their “kool-aid”[4].

Restricting the media from reporting the true state of affairs and sharing biased videos produced by foreign Youtubers will only lead to the government being oblivious to the true plight of the people.

Unfortunately, the media restrictions have only led to fainting journalists and further distrust between government and rakyat.

I would like to remind the PN government that keeping cool on your high horse is what caused this very distrust that led to the first electoral change in the federal government.

It is my inclination and hope that the next time the people visit the ballot boxes, a second change will occur.

Aimran Sarhan Abdullah

Political Secretary to Zairil Khir Johari, State Assemblyman for Tanjong Bunga

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