Even as Malaysia wades through an onslaught of Covid-19 cases, the Perikatan Nasional government’s top priority should be going all out to battle the pandemic.
No other agenda is more urgent than saving the nation, but this requires willingness on PN’s part to work with the opposition for maximum effectiveness.
In a recent interview with The Vibes, Liew Chin Tong, DAP’s Political Education Director explained that Malaysia has been a 50-50 society since 2008.
“In 2008, the opposition received 47% of the votes; in 2013 the opposition won the popular vote by 51%, and in 2018 Pakatan (Harapan) received 48% of votes in a three-cornered fight situation.”
When asked about the current political equilibrium, he said that the pandemic and Sheraton Move had hopefully started stirring people to give serious thought to a new political order.
He added that DAP has a role to play in building a political order that will address the interests, anxieties, and aspirations of Malaysians across the board in order to create a stable society and move forward together.
However, he acknowledged that playing such a role was far from easy but may perhaps be a necessity now.
After all, it would not be an easy feat for Malaysia to move away from the toxic racial dynamics it has been stuck in for the last 15 years and dive into something new.
“Tan Sri Muhyiddin was not able to get out of this UMNO thinking, hoping that he can continue to command some form of a one-party state, even with a slim majority, even having to depend so much on others to supply the number.”
“Tan Sri Muhyiddin is not able to see that he has to treat his allies better, and he has to treat the opposition more equitably.”
Chin Tong stated how Anthony Loke had previously suggested that Pakatan Harapan strike a Confidence And Supply Agreement with PN.
This would have given PN a chance to negotiate with the opposition and focus on dealing with the Covid-19 aftermath, thus lending the country more stability.
However, PN was not prepared to even consider this possibility. The fact is, Malaysia is now confronted with a new political reality. Like it or not, no one party will be the singular dominant force in politics any more.
For Malaysia to recover and truly move forward, the Prime Minister needs to be one who can unite a coalition-government of parties with similar strengths.
Yet at the same time, he must also be one who can foster genuine bipartisanship with the opposition, and treat it as an equal strategic partner.
But for this to happen, it first requires a shift in mindset and genuine willingness to put nation first before self or political party.
Politics should never be about individual or party interests, it should always be about putting the people first and serving the nation.
While Harapan has always been more ready to cast political differences aside, is PN ready to do the same?