CLOSE to one year in office, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has been running the country’s administration with his trusted lieutenants through tough, difficult times since Covid-19 struck early last year.
There has been no holdover in the pandemic, with spikes in the number of positive cases and deaths almost daily since last December, leading to the Proclamation of Emergency by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong last month.
Setting aside politics as much as he could to focus on efforts to stem the spread of the virus, the Perikatan Nasional-led government he helms has been forward-moving in its fight against the pandemic.
Right from the first few months of the outbreak, billions of ringgit have been spent to battle this invincible enemy and to provide all forms of assistance to millions of Malaysians and the economy wrought by the pandemic.
The truth is that most people have not saved up enough in facing this pandemic that has disrupted our daily lives in ways we have never seen before.
But the PN government makes sure that aid continues to be given out in the form of economic stimulus packages as well as the 2021 Budget which saw additional billions pumped for the people and to help in the country’s economic recovery.
The bank loans moratorium, tax exemptions and cash aid offered during the imposition of restrictive travel measures, you name it, have proven to be the most helpful.
At the time of writing this article, millions of Employees Provident Fund contributors have either received or are still waiting for their i-Sinar facility withdrawals.
EPF has removed all conditions for the i-Sinar facility on the advice of the prime minister after receiving feedback from the public.
This is the second time the government has allowed such a withdrawal facility initiative to be carried out.
Last March, Muhyiddin announced the i-Lestari facility to enable EPF contributors to withdraw a maximum amount of RM500 monthly for a period of 12 months.
i-Lestari is one of the many initiatives introduced by the government to lessen the burden of people affected by the movement control order due to the unexpected global health crisis.
All these assistance and efforts aptly prove PN’s firm commitments in safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of the people.
It is also in tandem with PN’s overarching guiding principle as a caring government and a reflection of good governance, encompassing all-of-government and whole-of-society approach, which are vital in championing the fate and prioritising the well-being of the people.
Of course, not everyone is happy with the way the country is being governed by Muhyiddin and his cabinet.
The opposition, in particular, has been non-stop in hurling all sorts of accusations and insinuations to run down the government, but most Malaysians would strongly agree that despite the tough situation, the government has not once ignored their welfare, neglected them nor failed to listen to their predicaments.
Instead of continuing their tirades against the government, these aggrieved parties should remove their blinkers and walk in the shoes of the prime minister to understand how difficult it could be to find a delicate balance between protecting lives and safeguarding the livelihoods of the people during these trying times.
Running battles between the government and opposition members on matters, particularly politics, expectedly will never cease.
However, despite political distractions and issues, the government continues to take bold steps to strike a delicate balance between the lives versus livelihoods dilemma, the results of which could be seen from the non-stop, ongoing, intensified efforts to stem the spread of the virus.
Indeed, there is overwhelming cynicism and fatigue on the part of the rakyat with politicians, particularly opposition lawmakers, who go on politicking in the midst of these challenging times.
In his frank admission, Muhyiddin said the political situation in the country last year has been challenging to the extent that it has affected investors’ confidence in the country.
Hopefully, this year it will be business as usual for Malaysia.
With the safe arrival of the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines before the implementation of a national immunisation exercise, the people could at least be assured of building herd immunity to break the chain of infections and eventually, end the pandemic for better days ahead.
Some 26.5 million people will receive the vaccines free of charge, in three phases which will go on until early next year.
Looking back about 12 months ago, Muhyiddin and his cabinet had gone straight to work, night and day, to protect the people and the nation’s economy from the crippling Covid-19. It never did have a honeymoon period to enjoy.
It is now less than two weeks into its one-year milestone and we see all that it has done for the people and the nation in this ongoing battle against the pandemic. All these bear testimonies of PN’s resolute, unbridled governance transparency and whole-of-society approach and care for the people. – February 23, 2021.
* Haziq Shahir Mohsin reads The Malaysian Insight.
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.