Many things can be said about the one-day Parliament yesterday, from the shortest Royal Address for the Opening of Parliament to how Malaysia has established the world record of a one-day Parliament with MPs wearing masks not only to combat the Covid-19 pandemic but to mark MPs rendered dumb with the unconstitutional suspension of parliamentary oversight and scrutiny.
But one thing stands out – the Perikatan Nasional Government has not walked the talk in many fields of governance.
The Yang di Pertuan Agong expressed concern about “lurking racial polarisation”, and many of the foremost practitioners of the politics of hate, race and religion undermining national stability are now occupying important positions in government.
The Yang di Pertuan Agong referred to the nation-building principles of Rukunegara but under the present government, there are several Ministers who do not subscribe to the Rukunegara principles.
The Yang di Pertuan Agong warned that Malaysia will not be successful with the country continued to be plagued by corruption – at the very time when national and international confidence about the country’s anti-corruption efforts started by the Pakatan Harapan government had been seriously undermined by the rotten plea bargain where Riza Abdul Aziz was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) for money laundering involving US$248 million (RM1.08 billion) linked to 1MDB funds in exchange for his returning an estimated US$107.3 million (RM465.3 million).
The Yang di Pertuan Agong spoke about taking Malaysia to greater heights and the importance of the honest and responsible exercise of the trust of the people, but one day after the speech, political parties which had allegedly expressed their support for the formation of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) political coalition on the eve of the Parliament are now openly denying that they had ever reached such an agreement!
The Royal Address is the policy statement of the government of what it proposes to do for the coming year.
Conspicuously missing is the government’s exit plan strategy and blueprint in the invisible war against the Covid-19 pandemic, an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” approach with Parliament playing its oversight and scrutiny role to ensure the nation’s success to win the multiple war of containing Covid-19 and prevent a resurgence and to quickly ensure the bounce back of the Malaysian economy whether it takes two years or five years before an effective vaccine is developed and widely available.
Quo Vadis, Malaysia?