Don’t downplay #KerajaanGagal, use it to improve governance

LAST Friday, the hashtag #KerajaanGagal (failed government) began trending on social media. It quickly climbed to the number one spot in the country and remained at the top spot for the rest of the day.

At the time of writing, days later, the hashtag can still be seen on Twitter and Facebook, used every time Malaysians criticised the Government.

Among the sore points had been the increasing rate of COVID-19 infections despite the Emergency proclamation and the blatant double standards when it comes to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that are in place to curb COVID-19 infections.

Unsurprisingly, a senior minister had previously brushed off the hashtag as “just a sentiment”, claiming that the Government would not judge itself by looking at comments from people using the hashtag.

The arrogance in the statement is grating, but not at all unexpected, as frustrated Malaysians would be quick to point out.

After all, the people’s anger and frustration have been dismissed in a similar manner in the past, as evident in previous – and equally as acerbic – hashtags such as #MuhyiddinOut and #KitaMintaLima, both of which went viral for similar reasons.

Contrary to the senior minister’s previous statement that the #KerajaanGagal hashtag is just a sentiment, it is clearly not in anyone’s best interest to downplay the severity of the situation.

This is especially considering Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) arguably shaky position of power and its razor-thin majority in parliament.

Ignoring the evidence of widespread dissatisfaction would not make the problem go away, and doing so would only risk the Government further alienating the people and losing their support.

In fact, ignoring this would be disastrous for the ruling coalition, especially if it hopes to emerge victorious in the upcoming 15th general election (GE15).

Therefore, the Government must not treat #KerajaanGagal as an online trend that will go away if they ignore it long enough.

Rather, they should be using the hashtag to gauge their strengths and weaknesses, and as an opportunity to get back on the people’s good graces. And what better way to do that than to grab the proverbial bull by its horns and address this matter once and for all? – April 23, 2021

 

Photo credit: Malaysiakini

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