By Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
ALL Malaysians, particularly the poor, are in a state of desperation and despair. They are also consumed by fear of the unknown and they have lost the sense of security. They are in a state of extreme anxiety for the future.
The enemy is invisible and has proved to be formidable with an ability to out-maneuverer and outsmart. It is a war by an invisible force. There is no more normality. What the future holds will depend on what the leadership of the nation can do to bring about a turning point.
Leadership of the nation is crucial at the moment of the nations’ life. We are in a state of do or die. And whether the nation state will hold.
Leadership as we have understood in the past is no longer relevant or capable of dealing with the multiple problems from economies which include high unemployment, loss of income, finance to food and health; all coming together.
The past has no lessons for this unprecedented situation. The past was comparatively easy and the people optimistic. That optimism has disappeared.
The constitution and the institutions are not designed for this war-situation. And whether the institutions are capable of dealing with this new situation is in doubt. The constitution and institutions are only as good as the people who lead it.
The Dewan Rakyat which is intended by the constitution to be the ultimate judge is determining who among the elected representatives in the Dewan Rakyat has their confidence to hold the highest public office of the Prime Minister suffers from four disabilities:
- It is partially dysfunctional because a substantive number of representatives are conflicted by financial interest (seen and unseen) and disqualified by the House of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952.
- It is a hung Dewan Rakyat with no majority to decide in their choice.
- A significant number are in breach of the constitutional basis on which they were elected; amounting to fraud on the constitution.
- Neither the constitution nor the law has any solutions to unravel these disabilities.
There is a wave of undercurrent that has not been articulated but is present in the rakyat. It is a silent wave reflecting a loss of confidence. We should not allow this wave to gain momentum.
The Rulers therefore have a duty at this crucial moment of the nation’s life to assume an important constitutional role arising from the oath that the Agong has taken before the rulers who elected him to represent them. This role is inherent in the oath.
This is to rise above personal interest, political parties and personal considerations to seek a leader who has the capability, ability, vision and depth of understanding of the present situation to lead a Government that can take us out of this dire situation that the rakyat is in.
We are in a state of multiple crises without precedent where the economy is collapsing and there is a crisis of basic necessities such as food, health and security.
We either rise to the occasion to solve the issues before our eyes or fail and fall. Leadership is about the life of the nation and the well-being of the rakyat. History has many examples of failed leadership. We cannot afford to fail. – June 16, 2021
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was a former Finance Minister (1976-1984) and MP for Gua Musang.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.