Trust in politicians at all-time low, says analyst

A group of MPs arriving at Istana Negara during a series of interviews the Agong held prior to choosing a new prime minister.

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia’s week-long political turmoil has taken a toll on the people to the point that trust in politicians is at an all-time low, analysts said.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak deputy dean Arnold Puyok said the people are getting tired of politics and politicians because of the protracted crisis last week.

“Some have doubts about the functions of representative democracy. Others simply vowed not to vote in the coming elections.

“I think trust in politicians is at an all-time low. Politics is probably the most hated profession at the moment,” he told FMT.

Arnold Puyok.

The Pakatan Harapan government collapsed last week, following Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s resignation as prime minister, after a group of MPs broke ranks to form Perikatan Nasional comprising PPBM, Barisan Nasional, PAS and PKR MPs aligned to their former deputy president, Mohamed Azmin Ali.

Critics have described the new ruling coalition as a back door government as it comprises BN, which was ousted in the last general election, and other parties.

Puyok said forming a government through the “back door” was not illegal or unconstitutional.

“It is also happening in some countries. It is, however, seen as morally inappropriate as it is not established through the people’s mandate.

“Ours is obviously a case of power struggle that came about as a result of the unclear succession plan between Mahathir and (PKR president) Anwar Ibrahim,” he said.

Tony Paridi Bagang.

Sabah UiTM’s Tony Paridi Bagang said one could not ignore the condemnations online after the eventual outcome of the political crisis.

“Many Malaysians, especially those who voted for PH in the last elections, are dismayed. The political drama had confused the rakyat. Some netizens became keyboard warriors to voice out their disappointment.

“There have also been images and caricatures mocking what had taken place,” he said.

Bagang said the people’s anger was not only directed at the new government but also the previous one.

“There are a lot of reasons why people are upset. Among them is PH’s failure to maintain solidarity within the coalition.

“And, of course, BN and PAS saw this as an opportunity when PH collapsed,” he said.

He said what frustrated people, particularly those who had a hand in PH’s GE14 victory, even more was that the crisis occurred at the highest level among the political elites, adding they could not do anything about it but just watch helplessly.

“Finally, Muhyiddin Yassin was appointed prime minister and many people expressed their disappointment as if this is the end of the road,” he said.

Bagang said there was talk that MPs siding with Mahathir were planning a vote of no confidence against Muhyiddin in Parliament.

“But for me, we have to move forward. We should support whoever the prime minister or government is, especially in helping our country recover economically and also to address the Covid-19 infection.

“There have no doubt been negative perceptions about politicians, but not all politicians cannot be trusted. What has happened should be an eye-opener and reminder to politicians not to play with people’s trust,” he said.