THE state of confusion surrounding Malaysia’s political landscape slipped into its third day yesterday, as the key players — the Yang diPertuan Agong and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad — sought to find a quick resolution and restore a government in place.
The king is meeting each parliamentarian individually to assess his opinion, while Dr Mahathir, as the interim prime minister, engages political party leaders from all sides.
Speculation and conspiracy theories abound as Malaysians digest the narratives and variables expounded by pundits and armchair analysts on television, social media and news portals. From projections of a unity or minority government to snap polls — such troubling times but all in an environment of peace. Even the shock announcement of Dr Mahathir’s resignation on Monday and his subsequent reappointment appeared not to have fazed Malaysians’ jocund nature.
The calm after the storm is surreal, says an observer, particularly since the country is now “technically without a government or leader, like they are unaware of what is happening”.
Not a fair observation. This Leader can vouch that Malaysians are well-informed about the situation judging from the number of readers on news portals which had increased dramatically over the past two days. One news portal had several millions of pageviews.
A psychologist says Malaysians are remarkably sanguine about the situation, probably because they are confident that the country is in good hands following the king’s reappointment of Dr Mahathir and police’s assurance that public security and safety are at an optimum level.
He also says the fact that Malaysian stocks and currency rebounded yesterday could have put Malaysians more at ease. It’s a sign of maturity. In other countries such a situation would see people in the streets demonstrating, but Malaysia is still peaceful and there is no chaos, he adds. We should strive to keep it that way.
A recent survey by Vase.ai, an online market research company specialising in consumer insights, says only six and 18 per cent of 1,000 respondents expressed anger and frustration, respectively about the political uncertainty. The majority of Malaysians still viewed the country as democratic.
Kudos to Malaysians. This Leader applauds them for their calm disposition during these politically and economically trying times. The small turnout at a protest by varsity students last night is another sign that Malaysians want to maintain peace and stability, even when political upheavals appear to surround them.
Of course, there are some who bemoan how selfish politicians are to land us in such a perilous state but, like it or not, they are all elected — it is precisely the business of politicians to deal in the currency of politics: power.
In a democracy like Malaysia, we ultimately get the government we deserve. When in a political logjam like what we are experiencing now, a logical option is, of course, to return the electoral mandate to voters, as is being called by Barisan Nasional and Pas. But it may not be wise, as pointed out by an analyst: “The worry is that instead of clarifying matters,
polls may just bring on further chaos or continued political stalemate”.