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  • Writer's pictureNadi Bangi

Those Who Fail To Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It

Updated: Nov 14, 2020

Oleh: Arif Zahran

Penyunting: Saeid Juwanda

Amidst the chaos of the 2020 US election, the writer did not expect politics to be the talking point in Malaysian news. We lost our old “new” government in Pakatan Harapan (PH) back in February of this year. Less than two years after the 2018 General Election. Now it seems that we might be in for another political crisis. And truthfully, the writer believes that the people are sick of it.

(Source: Laman Twitter Rasmi Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia )

Amidst the political turmoil, Malaysia’s Covid-19 cases has only gone up. The writer remembers that day, when Malaysia managed to record zero new local cases for three days straight. A huge victory, after months of following strict government standard operating procedure (SOPs), it seemed like Malaysia was finally close to ending the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic locally. Alas, that victory was only temporary, and Malaysia recorded its highest daily cases on the 26th of October with a staggering 1240 cases.

Now, we see political turmoil being on the news every day. The United Malay National Organization (UMNO) are threatening to leave the current coalition. The opposition leader, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed that he had managed to gather support in his bid to ouster the current ruling coalition. Not to mention the threat of a motion of no-confidence that has yet to be put forward against the Prime Minister. It looks to be yet another attempt at a regime change in Malaysia. We now live at a time of a new political landscape in Malaysia. Gone are the days where the government holds a simple majority in parliament. Gone are the days of a united government under the coalition of Barisan Nasional (BN). Honestly, the writer misses the days of yore. Back then life was simpler. For all the faults of BN, they managed to govern Malaysia well enough that legislations are passed without much trouble. But with that comes the controversies that plague BN in the final years of their 60 year-long hold on Malaysian politics. This new political landscape is still fragile and new, and everyone is still testing the waters.

(Source: Sinar Harian)

The writer cannot help but see the parallels between Malaysia’s ruling party and the US’s ruling Republican party. Both parties not only have to deal with their opposition, but also hinder themselves from making any decision due to internal turmoil. The writer strongly believes that this is not the time for political strife. In the words of former Chief Minister of Sabah, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, politicians use the slogan that “the people are the boss”. But once in power, he added, they forgot who the real “boss” is. The people now see that politicians are politicking 24 hours, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Datuk Seri Salleh also added that the politicians need to realize that the people are starting to lose their patience and are tired of this never-ending turmoil. The writer inclines to agree with these statements. Can we, as a country, afford to continue this political strife, while daily new cases reach the triple digits? Is it really wise of us to squabble and debate over who has the “right” to rule, when the invisible enemy continues to spread?

At the end of the day, the current government is not learning from the mistakes of the previous regime. Perikatan Nasional (PN) is now internally squabbling, and a component party is now threatening to leave the coalition, taking away the small majority the current government has. Recently, the UMNO party asks for a General Election once the pandemic is under control and it has been decided in their Supreme Council special meeting. The writer is open to change of government. That is a sign that the system works, and that the voices of the people are heard. But if Malaysia keeps changing government at such a fast pace, not only will the people be confused, the people will also be abandoned altogether, as politicians fight for power and the “right” to carry out the people’s mandate.

Truth be told, the writer hopes that all sides of the political spectrum can put aside their differences and work together to ensure the wellbeing of the Malaysian people. We do not need more dentations. What we need is solutions. The people are not stupid. We are tired of political strife. Is this the precedent of another regime change? Guess time will tell whether the PN government can learn from the past. As the title says, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Ironically, this history was only eight months ago. Get ready folks, we are in it for the long run.

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