Why despite my mounting reservations about Ismail Sabri’s premiership in tackling the Covid-19 Pandemic and reset the country’s democratic directions, I still support the CSR MOU

Despite my mounting reservations about Ismail Sabri’s premiership in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and reset the country’s democratic direction, Malaysians should give the ninth Prime Minister a chance to acquit himself and support the confidence-supply-reform (CSR) memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by Ismail and Pakatan Harapan leaders on Monday.

The support for the CSR MOU is not for Ismail Sabri’s sake but for the sake of the country and the future.

Firstly, let me dwell on my mounting reservations about Ismail’s Sabri’s premiership.

In three days’ time, it would be Ismail’s first month as the ninth Prime Minister of Malaysia. I have been quite disappointed by Ismail’s performance since he was sworn in as the ninth Prime Minister by the Yang di Pertuan Agong as there had been a spate of events which I cannot support or agree.

These events include:

· His failure to seek a vote of confidence as the first item of parliamentary business.

· His jumbo-sized Cabinet which is a recycling of the Muhyiddin Cabinet, except for the appointment of Khairy Jamaluddin as the new Health Minister.

· The appointment of Muhyiddin Yassin as Chairman of the National Recovery Council.

· Ismail’s nomination of Ahmad Maslan as Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

· The appointment of Ismail’s elder brother, Zamri Yaakob as the new chairman of National Farmers’ Organisation (Nafas).

· Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Harun’s failure to explain how she could settle her RM1.9 million lawsuit to avoid bankruptcy action.

· The dropping of 29 corruption charges against former Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) board member Datuk Noor Ehsanuddin Mohd Harun Narrashid.

· The failure of the Cabinet to uphold the High Court decision that children born overseas to Malaysian mothers are entitled to Malaysian citizenship by operation of law.

· Ismail’s failure to meet with the Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taosim (MCCBCHST) to clear the air that there are no plans to enact a new law targeting non-Muslims.

· The appointment of Cabinet members who are not committed to uphold the Malaysian Constitution and the Rukun Negara principles of nation-building.

But most important of all, there are no signs that we have turned the corner in the losing war against the Covid-19 pandemic after almost a month of Ismail’s premiership and three weeks after the swearing-in of a new Health Minister.

Yesterday, with 17,577 new Covid-19 cases and 388 Covid-19 deaths, we ranked as the world’s Top No. 8th nation in daily new Covid-19 cases and world’s Top No. 4th nation in daily Covid-19 deaths.

When we celebrated the 57th Malaysia Day on Sept. 16, 2020, Malaysia had a cumulative total of 10,031 Covid-19 cases and 128 Covid-19 deaths. Now we have a cumulative total of 2,067,317 Covid-19 cases and 22,743 Covid-19 deaths.

In the past week, we recorded a total of 2,916 Covid-19 deaths, the highest death htoll in any week in the 21-month Covid-19 pandemic.

If past week’s death toll continues for a year, we will have more than 150,000 Covid-19 deaths in one year.

For 31 days we have lost out to Indonesia in daily new Covid-19 cases. For the past two days, we lost out to India in daily Covid-19 deaths. India yesterday recorded 285 Covid-19 deaths as against Malaysia’s 380 deaths.

Even the Global Covid-19 Index (GCI) conceived by Pemandu Associates with the support of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has given up on Malaysia, placing Malaysia in the rank of 152 out of 180 countries in its update of Sept. 16, 2021.

Ismail Sabri is not a reformer but if he is forced by political circumstances to be a reformer, he deserves full support – not for anyone’s sake but for the sake of the country.

Malaysia needs a political moratorium for 10-18 months before the next general election as we do not want Malaysia to fall into the trajectory of a kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state.

In these 10-18 months, Malaysia must devise a new policy and strategy to win the losing war against the Covid-19 pandemic and re-set institutional and parliamentary reforms so that Malaysians can return to the mission to make plural Malaysia a world-class great nation.

(Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, 18th September 2021)

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