With 2021 Budget due to tabled in early November, it is widely believed that the request for emergency is due to political reason rather than the COVID-19 pandemic, considering that Malaysia did relatively well in flattening the curve previously.
Already facing with the pandemic’s third wave, the last thing Malaysians need is to live under emergency rule. The King’s decision thus came as a great relief.
As the public grow tired with continuous politicking at a time when the country is facing public health and economic issues, politics is inevitable, considering that we live in a democratic country.
What we need though is for politicians to transform themselves from playing power crazy games to a mature politics based on what really matters, which is public policy for wellbeing of the people.
Given that the current government only holds a small minority, politicians must find ways to best serve the public and the nation in the new normal governed not only by a pandemic, but also by increasingly disruptive and uncertain world.
Quality leadership, individually and collectively, at all sides of the political divide is crucial in facing the current crisis. Each political party should critically examine itself, opens avenue for critical discussion and provides sufficient check and balance internally.
Hopefully this way, each party will strive to improve and better serve the people. Similarly, political leaders must do a lot of self-reflection with the best interest of the nation and people at heart.
There is so much at stake for the country as we chart a journey to recovery. Decisions made today will have long lasting implications in the future.
For the upcoming tabling of 2021 Budget, it is expected that only the best budget is produced, and that is to serve the people of this country. For that to happen, all Members of Parliament must play their role to scrutinise the budget and provides the necessary check and balance.
If that is done, there is no reason for the budget not to be endorsed by the majority. Demand for position by any political party should be set aside first, at least for the purpose of approving the budget.
This is especially crucial considering that resources required by the frontliners to manage the COVID-19 pandemic are dependent on the budget.
While politics is very much a part of democracy, what Malaysia really needs now is a fresh politics that really emphasise welfare of the people and the future of the nation.
Mohammad Abdul Hamid
Public policy consultant