The backdoor government that surprised us

The so-called “backdoor government” is doing an excellent job in the battle against Covid-19 despite the vicious attacks by some leaders of the opposition.

It’s understandable that anger, doubt and anxiety was expressed in the beginning. But as time went by, there was public acceptance that the government was capable.

It has shown a united front despite the disparate partners making up the coalition.

No one envies the current leaders. They are faced with a problem that even advanced countries have failed to solve.

The prime minister has been making good and effective announcements. Senior ministers such as Azmin Ali have the herculean task of reviving the economy and ensuring that manufacturers as well as small and medium industries comply with the strict health guidelines during this time of pandemic.

There is little fanfare or publicity-seeking from most ministers.

The current defence minister has managed the coordination well, ensuring a balance between health and security.

The civil service, whether the police, medical personnel or others have all shown better coordination under Perikatan Nasional than under Pakatan Harapan.

Have we heard of politicians attacking civil servants over sabotage?

Of course there will be glitches, miscommunication and some dissatisfaction.

From the very beginning, some opposition leaders tried their best to get the people to go against the government. They coined phrases such as #kitajagakita. Unfortunately for them, the people were more sensible, and the general public mainly ignored these attacks.

The opposition also tried to sell false heroes including former ministers. Again this was ineffectual because most of the good work done in the previous government had top civil servants’ names all over it, including Dr Noor Hisham, the health director-general.

PH rode on Noor Hisham without giving him credit. Today, the current government has deservedly allowed him to be the public face of the Covid-19 battle.

The latest strategy is to pit Noor Hisham against other ministers. This is not only silly, but dangerous and highly irresponsible in a time of crisis.

The opposition led by Anwar Ibrahim assumes that by them doing so, the people will become affected and angry at the new government.

Examples of such antics abound: the fuss over the opening of barber shops, the revocation of permits for beer companies and the constant false claim that supermarkets have run out of basic necessities.

One opposition party reportedly went so far as to reward its members if they aggressively attack the government!

Despite these attacks, members of the government seem to have set aside their egos. The government has been doing an admirable job of managing what is perhaps this generation’s biggest health and economic crisis.

The leaders of the present government may not be great orators. They have no time to organise a Facebook live event to ramble nightly on irrelevant matters.

All this makes one shudder at the thought of some of the PH ministers running the show during the present crisis.

They were not able to manage in normal times. Constant infighting and finger-pointing, to the point of undermining their own prime minister.

How credible the previous government was can be seen in the admission by one former PH minister, who said there would be accusations against the government if PH were to announce the closure of mosques and suspension of Muslim prayers nationwide.

So far, the current government has performed well. One only hopes it can keep it up.

Edward Tan is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

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