Future generations are not going to ask us what political party were you in. They are going to ask what did you do about it, when you knew the glaciers were melting.— Martin Sheen, actor
The recent signing of the bipartisan memorandum of understanding (MoU) on ‘political transformation and stability’ by the federal government and Pakatan Harapan (PH) recently is a crucial milestone in our fight to address Covid-19 and recover the economy.
What it means is that the government and the Opposition, both to their credit, managed set aside their differences, and for once, work with each other to get us out of the current rut we are in.
Of course, there are some quarters who do not welcome this development. Opposition mouthpieces who are sympathetic to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad are among those who criticised this move.
This was evident when the nonagenarian’s party, Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) and Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) rejected the MoU, apparently wanting to be an independent bloc.
Surprisingly, our own local party here, Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) is very much portraying the same position — that it wants nothing to do with the MoU.
To this, I raise a simple question: Exactly what do these three parties want?
Are they rejecting the spirit of bipartisanship in battling Covid-19, or simply, by being ‘independent’, they think it would give them the licence to criticise and moan without accountability?
This means, if somehow the key targets outlined in the MoU did not pan out, they could not be held responsible for it. Was this their plan all along? I believe it is.
If these parties wanted to continue playing to the gallery instead of doing their part to contribute to the recovery from Covid-19 and as well as the economy, then it is best that their representatives step down and vacate their position as MPs.
You don’t need to be an elected representative to make noise or just to ‘share your views’ because apparently, that is what they are only interested in — opposing to no end.
Put it this way, you have been given the opportunity to show that you are capable in helping to manage the crippling pandemic crisis, but you turned it down.
Not only did you reject it, you continued to play to the gallery being all ‘high and mighty’ to score brownie points among your supporters. It is almost like saying: “It is my way or the highway”.
Whatever my view is on Pakatan Harapan (PH), they have to be credited for agreeing to this approach for the sake of the nation.
As Sarawak PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen said, the Opposition will continue to criticise the federal government on policy matters, despite the two parties signing the MoU. Fair enough, I think.
But at the very least, they stepped up when it mattered which is more we can say for the three other political parties. I guess there is no place in our new Malaysia for these moaners.
In the end, however the MoU will turn out and whether the reforms promised can be delivered as advertised, we can safely say that both the government and PH tried to make it happen.
At the same time, I also credit Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for being pragmatic, knowing that the government which stood on a slim majority will not survive a political crisis similar to the one that occurred last month.
Instead of boosting his majority with the lure of allocations and government positions to opposition MPs, he reached out across the aisle and got the help from an unlikely ally.
But I guess this will be the new norm — that we settle our disputes through negotiations and not be at odds with each other.
There is no use of playing to the gallery and lead political supporters on a wild goose chase that ends nowhere.
The reforms promised under the MoU as part of the offer by the prime minister is capable of transforming the country’s democratic system.
With a proper anti-party hopping legislation, we would see the end of political frogs that deprive the voice of the people in choosing their government.
With the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) highlighted as a key pillar in the MoU, it is hoped that the return of the eroded rights can be expedited and both the East Malaysian states can be accorded the status that they deserve.
The landmark agreement, I would say, is the peak of Malaysian politics. We are now here three years after the 14th general election and more than a year after the Sheraton Move.
We ended with a functioning government and Opposition.