Muhyiddin Yassin’s disastrous fall due to weak team

Apa khabar, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin?

I’m sure it’s been a tiring few weeks for you, just as it has been for Malaysians who continue to struggle in this pandemic. I’m sure it must have been difficult for you to submit your resignation to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong this afternoon.

Despite not obtaining the people’s mandate, you managed to get the right amount of support in February 2020 to take Putrajaya. This was after you and several others initiated the “Sheraton Move” that resulted in the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad.

I’m sure it wasn’t easy running a country just as Covid-19 hit our shores. Here we are, 15 months later, and people remain angry, demotivated, stressed, and upset as things don’t seem to be moving.

You may have started off well. The country was experiencing an unprecedented challenge, and the focus of the rakyat was on Covid-19, and nothing else.

To be fair, your initial responses to the crisis drew much praise. However, the series of miscommunications, confusing regulations, and conflicting statements, drew plenty of ire.

Exacerbating this were your colleagues, who, by flouting regulations, failed to set the right example. The double standards were obvious. This contributed to a massive trust deficit against your administration.

The incentives and stimulus packages you announced seemed short-sighted. Also, allowing the rakyat to withdraw their own savings and calling it an “incentive” is a bit disingenuous. To date, over 10,000 Malaysians have died due to Covid-19, and the number of suicides also spiked.

Televised speeches by a prime minister should be when there are major announcements to be made, as this carries some import to the occasion. Unfortunately, this was somewhat diluted during your short span in office. While some may blame your speechwriters for the poor choice of words, I think you should have taken charge and adopted a more refined approach in addressing the situation and the nation.

The announcements were often ill-prepared. When your right-hand man Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob revealed new standard operating procedures (SOPs), it left people confused as they had to then wait for a detailed explanation from the National Security Council and the relevant ministries. This happened again and again. One would think that the minute an announcement is made, all relevant information would be readily available to the public immediately. There should have been no room for further questions, grey areas or any ambiguity.

Speaking about Ismail Sabri, your government has been accused of being reactive, rather than proactive. Those who had been advising you should be blamed.

You appointed Ismail Sabri as your deputy just hours before the Umno Supreme Council meeting on July 7. You wanted to get Umno on your side, but still, the party decided to withdraw its support.

You should have taken the cue when the Yang di-Pertuan Agong decreed that Parliament could reconvene in February. But that fell on deaf ears. It was only in July, and after the King had decreed three times for Parliament to reopen, that your government finally decided to organise a special sitting in the Dewan Rakyat. That too, ended prematurely.

The reactive mode came on yet again when things reached a boiling point, which led to your televised address last Friday – joined by your Cabinet colleagues who stood in line like obliging puppets – as you rattled off the seven suggestions you thought would be the game-changer.

Once again, it was too little, too late. The only blessing out of that exercise was that Malaysians got to see the other side of the DAP – the side that was willing to work with the same people who crushed the government in the name of “reforms”.

Otherwise, the televised speech was a PR nightmare. Those who led you to believe that making such offers at a time when you were struggling to prove your legitimacy in office, should also be blamed.

I genuinely believed you could have lasted a little longer, had you taken a more hands-on approach and trimmed your Cabinet. But it’s not easy running a government when you don’t really have the majority and have to rely heavily on support from a rather lame team. Your ministers did little to save your reputation.

They all contributed to your downfall, and in the spirit of collective responsibility, they should all accept the fact that they no longer deserve a place in Putrajaya.

Malaysia does not need another bloated Cabinet and a bunch of failures running the show again. It just needs a small “committee” of competent administrators so to speak, to run the country and let the people decide on the nation’s political direction in the next general election.

The priority between then and now is to get more people vaccinated, open up the economy and prepare the nation for the polls.

The decision on who runs the country must be returned to the people. Having seen the true colours of those in power over the last three years, I’m sure the rakyat will now know who to choose.

Do enjoy your time with your loved ones, Tan Sri. One thing this pandemic has taught us all, is to never take things, and those around us, for granted.