PETALING JAYA,Dec 28: Politicians need to stay calm and focus on bread and butter issues instead of continuing with their incessant fighting, says a consultant on political strategies.

Syed Arabi Idid said the rakyat are apprehensive about what new economic uncertainties await in 2021. “They are worried about jobs, cost of living and foreign investments. They want economic stability. Economic stability can only come if there is political stability,” he told FMT.

It would be advisable for politicians to keep their calm, he said.

His comments come in the wake of remarks by former minister Zaid Ibrahim that politicians should not be “super hypocrites”, and that many political parties were manipulating the masses just to stay in power or win elections.

Zaid had said that the focus of many leaders was on making alliances just to be able to form the government; it was not to serve the people.

Syed Arabi said the rakyat may view politicians in “a negative light” if they continued to create political instability.

With only a wafer-thin majority in the Dewan Rakyat, the governing coalition is trying to stay in power at all cost while the opposition is hoping to take over Putrajaya, said Syed Arabi, adding that this was the first time in Malaysia where coalitions were created after the general election.

He added that after the collapse of PH at the end of February, PPBM had tried to set up a coalition to govern the country but political instability continued because of the narrow majority.

Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) founding director Cynthia Gabriel said the first lesson Malaysians learnt this year was to stop putting their trust in politicians.

“The second is for people to reclaim that power and demand that their rights are protected and that taxpayers’ money is not stolen,” she told FMT.

The only way forward, she said, was to push for a fresh mandate with clear criteria and this can only be done by the public and in fresh elections.

She said there appeared to be a lack of vision and leadership to steer the country through the Covid-19 pandemic and to get the country out of the economic crunch.

Activist Haris Ibrahim said the rakyat had put so much hope on Pakatan Harapan after the general election in 2018. It was understandable if they could not fulfil promises such as abolishing tolls immediately “but they could have repealed laws like the Sedition Act”.

He said Perikatan Nasional had a long way to go to gain the rakyat’s trust. He said Muhyiddin Yassin in 2018 had repeatedly asked the rakyat not to trust PAS and Umno. “Who is he (Muhyiddin) in bed with now?” said Haris.

Muhyiddin, then in Pakatan Harapan, now heads the Perikatan Nasional government with PAS and Umno as allies of PPBM.


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