While the nation averted a bullet by avoiding an emergency declaration altogether, the poking and prodding in the quest for power is still at large in the other side of the South China Sea.
I mean, Covid-19 has not even subsided and our politicians somehow feel that now is as good a time as any to topple the present federal government which would inevitably lead to another political crisis.
The point of contention now is the Federal 2021 Budget — a much-awaited announcement every year of course, but this year, its significance cannot be understated with the ongoing pandemic.
This is coupled with the pressing need for more assistance by the government to keep the lives of the people intact and the economy afloat.
Sadly, it will not be an open and shut affair because for whatever reason, the MPs on the opposing side felt that this would be a chance to unseat the federal government by defeating the Budget.
I mean, how low can they go? Apparently not low enough.
Apparently, these MPs felt that the assistance — initiatives that would be a lifeline to the people who are ailing from the economic effect of the modern-day crisis is of little importance.
That was why an emergency declaration — which is unthinkable — is even part of the question.
There is no economic emergency, political emergency or Covid-19 emergency — there is only one emergency, either nationwide or statewide. That is why even the mention of it, darurat in Malay, was jarring to a lot of people.
The emergency was supposed to facilitate a political ceasefire, meaning, had it taken place, the federal government would not be marred by political threats.
Of course, so-called reformists were quick to offer knee-jerk reactions, painting the federal government as if they are this dictatorial regime.This couldn’t be further than the truth.
It was due to political pressure; a looming probable defeat of the Federal 2021 Budget — which meant a period of further turmoil due to a constitutional crisis that pushed Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to a corner with an emergency declaration — provided for by the Federal Constitution being a last-ditch effort to rectify the situation.
A state of emergency while seen as being a practical solution at the moment would also plunge the nation’s economy into crisis — as does a political crisis.
So, when the King issued a decree, rejecting the emergency declaration and urged all MPs to support the federal 2021 Budget, it was a much-needed sigh of relief.
What is crucial now is that there must be a stable federal government to continue managing the Covid-19 pandemic and attend to the needs and plight of the people on the ground who are severely affected due to the ongoing health crisis.
The nation could not be in a standstill — the people can’t make time for its politicians to play politics. Malaysia must continue to be in order for it brave through the worst disaster in modern times and this starts from the top.
For Sarawak, while the current Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government has been commended for its handling of the pandemic both through the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and its assistance packages, it may be also currently inching towards a constitutional crisis of its own.
The term for the State Legislative Assembly will end by the middle of next year and when that happens, there will be no state government to continue navigating Sarawak through the pandemic.
Apparently, it is a paradox — we can’t hold the state election due to Covid-19 to save the lives of the people and at the same time, if there is no state government, there won’t be anyone to save said lives in the first place.
“What’s the rush?” as one aspiring party said recently in opposing the idea of a state election; I would say that the people can’t wait out the absence of a state government.
They can’t wait out a period of instability, a period of lawlessness and disorder just because the opposing parties wants to score brownie points by politicising when the state election could or couldn’t be called.
The people need to be assisted, they need to be assured that food remains on the table for them and their families amid these challenging times.
The state and the nation must maintain order above all else.
A state of turmoil won’t do us any good.