By John Isaac
FORMER federal minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has called for a general election to be held, preferably by mid-year, in order for a new set of capable leaders to take over because “this government has failed in a monumental way”.
Zaid that Malaysia’s biggest issue was not the economic downturn nor Covid-19, but the weak leadership in Putrajaya.
“The most important thing is to have a set of capable leaders to lead us out of this mess. I think, and many people think, that this government has failed in a monumental way.“How do we change this? The only way is through an election.
“Only a government given the mandate by the people can do the best job. I would urge the leaders as well as our King to look at this issue again and call for elections,” said Zaid, a former law minister.
“We need a smaller Cabinet but with ministers who can deal with the myriad of issues effectively. We have so many problems to solve but, with the exception of a few, current ministers are not coping well,” he said as reported by FMT.
He said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin could become caretaker prime minister for a three to six month period, but preparations for an election to be held should begin now.
He acknowledged that Covid-19 cases could rise after a general election, but Malaysia’s problems were only getting worse and fresh elections were “the best way out of this mess”.
“Other countries have had higher Covid-19 cases and still had their elections. There might be a slight jump but, in the long term, it will be a government that will deal with the problems faced by the nation.
“And it doesn’t mean there won’t be any SOPs in an election. It doesn’t mean no masks or physical distancing. It just means we’re going to have a government elected by the people and, hopefully, a stronger government with a different set of people running the nation.”
When asked if it would be good to establish a unity government involving all parties to manage the Covid-19 situation before holding elections, Zaid said it was not feasible as such an administration would still have squabbling and infighting.
A unity government was easier said than done, he said.
“People out there are worried that the government is failing them. Let them decide who should govern them. Give them comfort by letting them know they are part of the solution.”
Muhyiddin has repeatedly pledged for elections to be held once the Covid-19 situation subsides and the state of emergency is over. The emergency is set to end on August 1.
It could end on an earlier date if the pandemic subsides by then, with an independent task force appointed comprising government and opposition MPs as well as health experts to advise the King on ending the emergency.