A recent call by 115 academicians to support Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration took many by surprise, with even other members of the profession questioning the move.
The academicians from 21 public universities, four universities and private colleges and Institute of Teachers Education, had in a statement on June 19, urged Malaysians to respect and fully support Muhyiddin’s administration in leading the country until the 15th general election. They also called for the opposition to play its role in ensuring there is check and balance.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong, who was among the 115, speaks to Twentytwo13 about the move and why he decided to be part of it.
Twentytwo13: Why was such a call made?
Teo: There are 115 of us and we represent a sector of the population as there are also non-academics who think like us. We want political stability and not political distortion which will happen if there is a frequent change in government.
Twentytwo13: Whose idea was this?
Teo: It was an initiative by a group of professors. We felt the need to voice out, to tell the government and opposition to stop politicking. Just let things be. Let the current government rule and the opposition can play its role in keeping check and balance.
Twentytwo13: But this move is certainly unprecedented.
Teo: Yes, of course. We are academicians but we are urging the people to come forward to support the government. But we are also human beings. We are facing a health crisis right now. People have lost their jobs after the Movement Control Order and the economy is getting nowhere.
Twentytwo13: Is this a Muhyiddin supporters’ group?
Teo: There are some who are supporters by default but there are also some of us who are neutral. We do not want another government takeover in a short space. A change of government would mean changes in policies. Things will also be stagnant in the country, about a week or two.
Twentytwo13: What does this group plan to achieve by making this call?
Teo: The Pakatan Harapan government tumbled and the population says the present administration is a backdoor government. Nobody wants to say it is the fault of one man (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad). When people gave the mandate to Pakatan Harapan, it also included a power transition. But then he (Dr Mahathir) resigned and did so with his nose in the air. Power was snatched right under his nose.
Twentytwo13: What is the difference between both governments?
Teo: Politicians will do all sort of things for their survival. At the end of the day, you can see they are all political animals instead of statesmen. But people can see the present government is not playing politics openly. They are not playing the blame game.
Dr Mahathir … when people talk about failed Vision 2020, he blames Pak Lah (Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi), (Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) … he blames everybody. You have not heard of Muhyiddin blaming the former PH government … he is just doing his work.
Dr Mahathir, however, seems to blame everyone.
Twentytwo13: So what’s next for Malaysia?
Teo: We should let the present administration do its job. Let it be for another two to three years. We need to rebuild our economy. If you were to kacau-kacau (cause disturbance), there will be no time to do this.