Malaysians despaired when politicians got into bed with politicians whom they had heavily criticised before the 2018 general election, writes Mustafa K Anuar.
In the past one week or so, most Malaysians have been sitting on the edge of their seats following the infamous “Sheraton Move”, which was sparked by the voracious appetite for federal power among certain politicians in the opposition and those who abandoned Pakatan Harapan (PH).
Malaysians suddenly found themselves riding on an emotional rolleroaster. Many of them initially did not know what the noisy jamboree at the Sheraton Hotel was all about and where the country’s future was heading when political frogs started to do their predictable leaps of faith.
Anger, disgust and unhappiness have overwhelmed many concerned Malaysians, especially among those who voted for political reform in the last general election.
Many of these are Malaysians who have clamoured for change since the Reformasi days following the unceremonious removal of Anwar Ibrahim from government and Umno in 1998.
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Some of them even took to the streets to protest. These are Malaysians who had also called for free and fair elections, democracy, justice and freedom and more on the streets of Kuala Lumpur when Bersih organised its massive demonstrations during Barisan Nasional’s rule, which frowned upon dissent.
That explains why many who craved real change cried for joy when BN was trounced by PH on 9 May 2018 with the promise of many reforms in the country.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, therefore, to understand the sense of betrayal that overcame many of these Malaysians.
Amidst the recent political melee, what was clear to many Malaysians was that a lot of the parliamentarians, dressed in impeccable suits, baju Melayu and robes, have stopped behaving as the people’s representatives. What the elected politicians want now is not what the people have been craving for, although their vested interests are conveniently painted as national interests.
Many politicians, particularly those who have abandoned the PH coalition, have disowned the electoral promise, nay its electoral manifesto promises to carry out political and institutional reforms. This was the people’s mandate that these politicians have pushed aside without much compunction – in their quest for higher political ambition.
And in a move that can only be read as unprincipled, these politicians got into bed with politicians whom they had heavily criticised prior to the last general election for their arrogance, selfishness, kleptocracy and lack of transparency and democratic practices. And last but not least, for their penchant for playing the politics of race and religion.
To be sure, these were the very BN politicians that many Malaysians voters rejected at the ballot box. Instead, they elected politicians from the reform-professed PH coalition, including those who recently abandoned it.
In other words, the mandate given to the previous PH government was stolen from the people mid-stream when that democratically elected government was in the process of executing the promised reforms.
In this hour of need and at the risk of being seen as hopelessly naive, there were Malaysians who were desperately hoping for some decency and integrity to prevail at the end of the day among the coup plotters. But to no avail.
What also distressed many concerned Malaysians is that there wasn’t even a sense of shame that could prick the conscience of the culpable.
Those behind the “Sheraton capers” may have achieved eventually what they wanted, but right-minded Malaysians cannot possibly hold their heads high among the community of civilised and democratic nations.