In times of crisis, the leaders of a nation should all come together to steer the country out of darkness, regardless of political ideology.
During the Second World War, British prime minister Winston Churchill formed a cabinet composed of members from his own Conservative Party as well as the opposition Labour Party, as did his predecessor Neville Chamberlain.
We were once united by this spirit of muhibbah too – in 2017, then-prime minister Najib Razak joined forces with Penang's then chief minister Lim Guan Eng to tackle Penang's massive floods.
When Najib approved a RM150mil loan to Penang for flood mitigation, Lim defended him from criticism by certain quarters.
And yet when Malaysia – and the whole world for that matter – is facing unprecedented peril from the coronavirus, the heads of state governments under Pakatan Harapan were excluded from a coordination meeting on Tuesday (March 17) with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and other heads of state governments to discuss the Covid-19 crisis.
Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Zuki Ali had claimed responsibility and apologised for his mistake of leaving out the various Pakatan state chiefs from the meeting.
Whatever the case – and whatever the political motivations behind this gaffe – I wish to remind everybody; whether you are within the corridors of power or just a mere citizen, do not let politics or personal differences divide us in these dark times.
In the past, we have displayed the spirit of muhibbah during peacetime. Every time Azizulhasni the "Pocket Rocket" won a gold; every time Lee Chong Wei defeated Lin Dan, we were able to cheer together regardless of race or politics.
So, faced with the greatest health threat Malaysia has ever seen, why should we allow politics to divide us now?
Setting aside party politics, all Malaysian leaders must now come together as one, because the virus does not discriminate.
If the government and the people can be of one mind, Malaysia will surely triumph over this episode!
Quin Er Chan
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