A series of unfortunate events came and six months down the road, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is perhaps losing it.
The people running the government from Putrajaya are now in a difficult position. They are facing backlash over several issues.
Now, Anwar Ibrahim has added to their woes. He claims he has a formidable Parliamentary majority to take power.
There has never been such a turnaround of events in Malaysian politics. A ruling government faces such a challenge from an opposition leader. It is unprecedented, and cracks are now widening within the loose Perikatan Nasional alliance.
The move by the leader of the opposition has crucified the regime of Muhyiddin Yassin. Effectively, the regime has fallen, but it is still in denial of facts and is clinging to power desperately.
The public has the impression the regime is hiding behind the cloak of ‘self-quarantine’ to justify its failures.
The actions of the members of government since Sept 23 are that of a collapsing regime. But will it relinquish power after all?
LEGIT OR NOT LEGIT?
Essentially, the ruling coalition has lost its credibility. The people are now questioning its obsession to remain in power at all costs.
It is clear the Perikatan Nasional government triggered a crisis in the state of Sabah, in Borneo. The aim was to overthrow the elected government that forms part of the Pakatan Harapan coalition.
Staying ahead of the game, Chief Minister Shafie Apdal called for the dissolution of the Sabah assembly.
This triggered the Sabah by-election won by the alliance of parties formed by the Barisan Nasional (Umno), PN and their allies in Sabah.
Right after winning the polls, the Umno questioned the legitimacy of the new coalition and an intricate internal battle ensued. This has now become the peak of the grudges from the Umno grassroot.
They want the party to pull out from the ruling coalition at the Federal level. But Umno does not seem to have this in mind.
The leaders of the party are perhaps using the Sabah squabble to leverage with Muhyiddin.
Umno surely wants a stronger position in the current government. Is it a higher post or a firmer grip on power to push its own agenda further?
This definitely has to do with the pending 1MDB-related cases in the courts. The party would want to clear its leaders from the wrongdoing.
But Muhyiddin is probably realising that he cannot afford that, or is he?
Thus his resistance to being subdued in giving in to the demands from the Umno leadership. But the grassroots of the party is splitting from the leadership at some point.
Muhyiddin is not only facing a revolt in the coalition he built to wrestle power from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He now has the legitimacy of his government severely questioned by Anwar Ibrahim.
RESURGENCE OF COVID-19
If the Muhyiddin government has lost the two-seats majority in Parliament, it is then an illegitimate regime.
Unless the PM is running a minority government under cover of the absence of Parliamentary seatings?
Does this not reduce whatever legitimacy it is still claiming? Stopping Parliamentary procedures to avoid a vote of no-confidence is not a sign of bravery.
After months of questioning its own legitimacy (snatching power from the Pakatan Harapan), the government teetered dangerously into a sad state of affairs.
Its members (deliberately or not), abused the standard operating procedures related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
They got away from not practising social distancing and not paying fines for violations of the rules imposed.
Whereas they severely punished the public to the point, it still grips the social media with public anger against them.
The PN regime tried to pin the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 on the PH government. But karma has hit them with the resurgence of the pandemic.
The mishandling of the aftermath of the elections in Sabah has resulted in record daily infections in Malaysia. The country has to put townships on alert and under restricted movement order again.
At least one Minister is trying to gain more popularity after the success of a boomerang video on Instagram. He went into official quarantine. Initial tests show he does not have the virus.
Two other ministers are self-congratulating themselves for not testing positive. This all shows the scramble for legitimacy.
Trying to hold on to power with the infighting and the confusion in Putrajaya is senseless. It creates a bigger sense of instability, given the fact the government may collapse anytime.
It is incredible that the regime is still implementing policy measures that may not serve any good if Muhyiddin’s government collapses.
Remember, it will take only two or three MPs to quit the government bench for this to happen. Let alone 10 or 20 MPs.
One does not form a backdoor government without consequences, and the country is living with those consequences since February.
The country is a deep economic instability while its political stability was always in question since Muhyiddin took power.
Nevertheless, the recent Parliamentary seating did not clear the air for Muhyiddin. Instead, the slim majority put him in a tight spot.
Some supporters of the largest Malay party in the country pulling their support for Muhyiddin,
However, there seems to be a vacuum online, a lack of support for the PN from netizens.
Altogether, the social media is now littered with added criticism of the regime and of its ministers.
The voices of the people are being heard. The public backlash is now at a height not seen for months.
To many, the PN-MN-BN-UMNO-PAS-GPS government’s belief they were morally legit is ill-construed. The pro-PH supporters have campaigned on the legitimacy of the regime for months now. And this is bearing fruit now.
The PH says the current ruling coalition wrestled power from a legitimately elected government and calls it a back-door government.
Then came Abah with a rotan, which shows that Muhyiddin is getting even more desperate to cling to power.
It will be difficult for the PM to take actions against his ministers. As a matter of fact, he knows he is holding the reins of an unstable regime.
Potentially, the public backlash will only go away if Muhyiddin does the right thing. That is to test his force in the Parliament.
Attempts to dissolve the Parliament and go for a snap election may bring about an extended movement control order.
The COVID-19 seems to spread widely during campaigning. There is no guarantee a ‘caretaker’ government will hold its officials from violating the SOPs.