AS we look forward to the reopening of Parliament, I have a huge request to ask of all members of the august house. I believe I represent the thoughts, feelings and hopes of many Malaysians, especially those not aligned with any political party or coalition.
I understand and respect that as politicians, getting or keeping power is key. Good citizens go into politics to gain power so they can do good and care for the rakyat. It is a very noble act. However, may I humbly suggest that, for the time being, all MPs skip the first part about power and go straight to doing good and caring for the rakyat? How?
> Avoid “crab mentality”: To understand “crab mentality”, one first needs to become familiar with the crabs in a bucket phenomenon. When you place crabs in a bucket or container, even if one can escape, it will not be able to because the other crabs will pull it down.
This behaviour makes sure that no matter how hard any one of them works and tries, none will be successful. That is why fishermen can leave the bucket uncovered without worry because every time one crab tries to escape, the others will go out of their way to drag it back down.
This zero-sum game of “if I can’t have it, neither can you” ensures nobody can lead effectively, and only the rakyat suffers.
> Work as a team: We need all MPs to come together to fight Covid-19, build back the economy, and relaunch Malaysia as a country of choice for business, travel, education and a wonderful place to live in.
We do not want MPs to get back into Parliament only to fight each other. In the best possible way, we want you to use your talent, expertise, energy, spirit, organisations and networks to facilitate the vaccination of all eligible Malaysians and our brother and sister foreigners who make a living in our country. Each of the MPs must ensure success within his or her own area of influence, location and network.
We are willing to wait until the next general election for the power struggle. At this point in time, whether we have the same team leading the nation or a new one is secondary to the need for a change in leadership behaviour.
> Do not force a general election: Even if we achieve 100% vaccination, I plead that we delay elections for as long as possible. Dealing with and fighting Covid-19 is a work in progress. We do not know how the virus will mutate and fight back.
Let us not celebrate too soon like we did after the first movement control order. Let us wait it out for a while. Let us be sure. Give it time. Remember the Sabah state elections? Let us learn from that mistake.
As it seems that no political leader and coalition can command a convincing majority in Parliament today, any change will bring us back to square one: instability. Let us be honest and be in touch with ourselves. We are a nation that is yet to be mature enough to respect a minority government. We are prone to political “crabbing” and “frogging”. We will likely mess it up.Let us stop, reflect and find new or alternative choices. At least until we are safe from Covid-19 and our economy is back on track. Perhaps we can try a Team Leadership approach be it via a Mageran-like (National Operations Council) option, unity government or any other platform.
I hope all MPs will take my requests seriously. I feel that they are in the nation’s best interests. They are also in line with the spirit of the Yang diPertuan Agong’s recent statement.
Last but not least, MPs, please try hard not to succumb to crab mentality, and as you walk into Parliament keep in your hearts the fifth principle of our Rukun Negara: kesopanan dan kesusilaan (courtesy and morality).