Sailing into the sunset

I am sometimes a fox and sometimes a lion. The whole secret of government lies in knowing when to be the one or the other.

– Napoleon Bonaparte, French statesman and military leader

We have about a week more to the end of the third phase of the movement control order (MCO).

We can’t be too sure if there will be another extension, but the statistics look good at the moment, and that means the chances of us having to stay at home longer look less likely now.

Maybe — just maybe — to be sure that the Covid-19 pandemic is conclusively contained, the government would want for us to stay home for another two weeks, meaning Malaysians should be able to return to normal life by May 15.

It’s not going to be easy though, to return to normal life. People will struggle. Companies, businesses and employers will struggle, and this is where the government RM250 billion stimulus package comes in handy.

Therefore, it does not matter that the RM250 billion comes from a back-door government. The harsh fact is the Malaysian economy, or rather the country as a whole, needs to be saved, and this backdoor government happens to do what is right and proper, which is get a solid rescue plan in place to help every citizen — the once duly elected but failed PH government included.

Undoubtedly, a rescue plan such as the stimulus package will help determine the manner and speed of our recovery, which was why its implementation was immediate — without having to wait for Parliament to sit to have it debated and approved.

Now it looks like there will be no debating the RM260 billion stimulus package when Parliament sits on May 18.

Yes, it will be just May 18 where the King, by tradition, will deliver his royal address in the morning. That probably will take an hour, or until 12 noon, meaning session will break for lunch after that and then return say at 2pm, to discuss laws and government matters related to the Covid-19 fight.

Of course, the PH people aren’t happy because it means they won’t be able to tell Malaysians to also thank them for the RM250 billion.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok had this to say about the one-day sitting: “The government is attempting to stymie and undermine the legitimate role of Parliament and the concept of separation of powers in preventing robust debates on the stimulus package.

“The government is flagrantly attempting to bulldoze through the huge economic stimulus package of RM 250 billion (equivalent to Malaysia’s one year’s national budget) in a “backdoor” fashion without seeking proper approval from the Parliament.”

I still think Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s backdoor government was right in not wasting any time in setting the rescue plan into motion. The MCO hurt a hell lot of people, a lot more would have been beyond help if the backdoor government had been the failed PH government that had wanted the RM250 billion debated and approved by Parliament.

Come to think of it, isn’t it strange that a backdoor government is so much more people-centric than one that was duly elected but so insensitive to the needs of the people?

Lim Kit Siang wants more than just one day sitting because to him “Parliament can also provide scrutiny to ensure the most effective strategy to overcome Covid-19 crisis and the best exit plan for economic recovery”.

Can’t argue with him on that, but if he does have ideas, he can still forward these to Muhyiddin and not have to go to Parliament to have them debated and endorsed. I believe Muhyiddin is willing to listen to Kit Siang if Kit Siang takes the initiative to meet him — like Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim did last week.

In that meeting, Anwar was reported to have assured Muhyiddin that a full Parliament session will not be used to question the legitimacy of the PM’s backdoor government. But one wonders if Anwar was speaking for PH or for himself; what seems clear is he wasn’t speaking for DAP and Kit Siang.

The PH people know. Anwar and Kit Siang know that time is of essence. Time cannot be wasted in debating and arguing when the country must be saved. The rescue package must be rolled out because people and businesses are dying. But until today, they still want the debate, the so-called debate that is.

Have we not heard of the PH plan to move a vote of no-confidence against Muhyiddin’s backdoor government?

Can Anwar stop it if DAP insists on a vote of no confidence? Who actually is calling the PH shot? Anwar? Kit Siang? DAP?

Kit Siang — surely Anwar, as well — is probably thinking of PH’s missed opportunity to return to power as early as May 18!

Muhyiddin is such a very experienced politician to not see through the PH game plan.

He also knows that between now and the day the PH might try that move against him is all he needs to make sure the PH boat drifts further out to the open sea.