I ask them to be openly express their feelings. Do not fear the consequences if you are doing the right thing.– Muhyiddin Yassin, Prime Minister
If there were a list of winners and losers to sum up what transpired in the last four weeks, topping the winners list would have to be Malaysians.
Datuk Seri Azmin Ali would be a close second in the same list while his mentor-turned-nemesis Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is firmly at the top of the losers list.
What did Malaysians get following the week-long political tussle and the ensuing Covid-19 pandemic? A godsend.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is the right man to have come at the right time.
I am not mincing my words when I say that I am genuinely surprised at how well the people took to him, even Sarawakians.
Many would go as far to suggest that his firm style and demeanour is the splitting image of another well-respected Sarawakian leader in the form of the late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.
I understand the comparison and I think it was aptly put. For starters, both communicated extremely well with the people and well liked.
Adenan was revered for his good use of all the state’s languages put together, be it in his mother tongue, Bahasa Sarawak, Iban and Chinese. Muhyiddin is praised for his use of simple, everyday Malay language when talking to the people.
Adenan was seen as a no-nonsense leader, speaking only when he needs to and knew empty words would amount to nothing if he can’t make good on his promises, so does Muhyiddin.
But I would suggest that the similarities don’t end there. You see, both men knew that they are on borrowed time and are making the most of it.
Adenan, for all we know, had heart problems even before he succeeded Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud as Chief Minister and used a pacemaker in the last few years of his life.
Muhyiddin’s struggle with health is well documented with him being hospitalised in Singapore due to pancreatic cancer not too long ago.
Both men knew that they are in the twilight of their political years, and if there is time to really make a difference in their world, there is no better time than the present.
Adenan was well-known for speaking from the heart and not shy to give government officials a public dressing down if needed be.
I expect nothing less from Muhyiddin.
Here is a man who has been playing second fiddle all his life, from being Johor Menteri Besar to holding various ministerial positions in the federal Cabinet, and now he is where he wants to be.
Muhyiddin knows he is at a disadvantage by assuming the premiership in a less than conventional way, with his enemies lurking in the shadows, waiting to capitalise on his blunders.
He knows the best way for him to remain in power, if he could not be supported by his own government or the parliament, is by getting the support of the people.
At the end of his speech when announcing the government’s RM250 billion economic aid package last week, he took a moment to assure the country is in safe hands.
He said: “This government may not be the government that you voted for. However, I want all of you to know that this government cares for you.
“I accept the fact that I came in as your prime minister at not the best moment. I face political, economic and health crises all at the same time.
“My dear brothers and sisters, as well as the children of this beloved country, whether you are a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sikh, Iban, Kadazan, Dusun, Orang Asal, please bear with me”.
And it worked.
I hope the prime minister will continue to be in good health and do actual good for the country while steering the ship as we sail through these turbulent times.
I also hope that he can unite the country after being severely polarised by a divisive federal government and possibly show, once again, what it means to be as one, Malaysia.
“No one left is behind,” he said. It is a big promise, and one he will look forward to keep.
It has been a while since the people of this country took to a prime minister this well and while his doubters claimed that Muhyiddin would be a “Malay first, Malaysia second” prime minister, he showed that he is nothing of the sort.
Thank you, Tan Sri for your service to the nation.