Tuesday the nation witnessed a stunning manoeuvre by the Prime Minister when he invoked an Emergency Declaration as allowed by our Constitution. It caught many, if not all of us by surprise. I, for one, was pleasantly surprised and yet not quite surprised because it resonated with exactly how I have been feeling for a while.

The nation is in crisis. A vicious pandemic, a devastated economy caused by the drastic measures we had to take to combat this unforgiving pandemic, and political uncertainties that threaten to destabilise our government. This triple whammy simply cannot be allowed to run unchecked. Strong leadership is needed in such crucial and drastic times. The PM demonstrated that leadership amply today.

A responsible government listens to the voice of the people and acts on it. From Bersih to many level-headed political commentators, the common call has been that the government should avoid calling a general election anytime soon. Some quarters, on the contrary, are pushing for the nation to go to the polls as soon as possible. This is insanity!

Across the aisle, the narrative is that the PN government is yet again taking the selfish route of clinging on to power via the backdoor. This could not be further from the truth! The PM took a brave and bold step to put the Rakyat’s wellbeing first!

How, you ask? On Monday he announced the MCO. And if both sides of the aisle can agree on one thing, it is that a MCO is the most logical thing to do with cases skyrocketing left and right. But a MCO alone would not be enough.

The PM needs wider powers to arrest the scary situation Malaysians are facing in this pandemic which has an immediate knock on effect on the economy which will ultimately affect all of us, you and me. An Emergency Declaration gives him the constitutional authority to address what needs to be addressed swiftly and expedite processes that would otherwise be cumbersome. He knows everyone is watching closely, especially his enemies, so we can rest assured the Prime Minister would not play the fool or take the Rakyat for fools.

Since assuming the premiership in March last year, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, love him or hate him, has carried himself with calm aplomb and listened to the advice of medical scientists in taking all the necessary measures to address the pandemic. His track record in tackling the pandemic is impeccable and cannot be faulted, and even his harshest critic would have to acquiesce. Muhyiddin has acted and will continue to act fully in the interest of the Rakyat. This I can be quite certain of.

Of course, this sudden invocation of Article 150 of the Constitution has thrown a spanner in the works of some quarters bent on politicking when the rest of the world is focusing on battling an invisible enemy that threatens millions of lives.

And they are fuming. So it is to be naturally expected that the next few days will see many objections and clever arguments to persuade and convince the public that the PM has not done the right thing. These quarters have put their own political self-interest above that of the nation. I can’t help but draw a parallel with how some Republicans in the USA are doing exactly the same thing; self over nation in the name of false patriotism.

So I ask only one question in the midst of the ensuing cacophony of protestations now spreading like wildfire on social media: “Do Malaysians really want political instability that would lead to a general election when we are in the throes of a massive wave of new infections instead of firm leadership?” The answer is obvious.

The PM did the right and logical thing to do yesterday and no amount of artful propaganda or cunning and foxy arguments can detract from this self-evident fact: Malaysia needs strong leadership that is stabilising and firm in order to recover and heal before we can safely return to the Rakyat for a fresh mandate. Patience, fellow Malaysians, and well done, Prime Minister!

ALI BIJU
Member of Parliament for P.205 Saratok
State Assemblyman for N.39 Krian