Malaysians from all walks of life collectively exhaled a sigh of relief when former Prime Minister, Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yasin officially handed in his resignation to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Monday.
Throughout the year, calls for Mahiaddin and his cabinet to resign have gotten progressively louder due to the perceived mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has now caused over 1 million cumulative Covid-19 cases and 12,000 deaths in the country.
During his short tenure, the Mahiaddin led government continuously trended on social media with hashtags such as #kerajaangagal, #muhyiddinout #Kerajaandoublestandard #PNipu among frustrated Malaysians who were at the end of their ropes.
Social media erupted with celebration at the prospect of a new government taking over and sorting out the current pandemic and political crisis the country was in.
Among them was @ZarifMuslim who tweeted “Good riddance! Mahiaddin was the worst PM in Malaysia’s history.”
Right from the beginning, Mahiaddin’s debut as a prime minister inspired resentment from his own voters for stealing the mandate given to his previous Pakatan Harapan coalition.
Mahiaddin who is now the shortest serving PM in Malaysian history came to power through a backdoor coup which lasted a mere 17 months.
Things got increasingly bad for Mahiaddin as political analysts noted that Mahiaddin and his bloated cabinet were in over their heads and were not capable of managing the complexities of a global pandemic.
Perikatan Nasional (PN) consistently fumbled as they created nonsensical Covid-19 SOPs, constantly made policy u-turns, and were responsible for delayed vaccine procurement.
To make matters worse, the entire pandemic has been shrouded in a veil of double standard treatment in regards to following Covid-19 rules.
Political elites and celebrities were often let off the hook or given a slap on the wrist for breaking Covid-19 SOPs while heavy fines were meted out to the working class in Malaysia.
In other words, “rules for thee, but not for me”.
PN’s worst offense however, still remains the power grab in Sabah which triggered the Sabah state elections in September.
This event is generally considered to be responsible for causing a resurgence in infections which has led to Malaysia now hitting over 20,000 daily cases 10 months later.
Malaysia who was once lauded for their efforts in containing the pandemic, has now been dubbed “Mini India” by international newspapers as we record some of the highest daily Covid-19 cases in the world.
The Malaysian government tried to control the spread with numerous ongoing lockdowns which did not help to curb the pandemic but has instead left the economy on the brink of collapse.
These lockdowns were characterized as unscientific and ineffective evidenced by more than a million Covid-19 cases – in a country of only 32 million.
Mahiaddin appeared sombre in his final address to the nation as he apologized for his mistakes and claimed that he had to resign because he was unwilling to work with the “Kleptocrats”.
A confusing statement no doubt as Mahiaddin’s government was formed by working with many Umno MPs who have ongoing corruption trials.
To this, twitter user @Williamstahp replied, “Breaking: Ex Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahiaddin wins the best actor award for gaslighting 32 million people on national TV.”
Mahiaddin lost his parliamentary majority after Umno, the biggest faction of his coalition pulled their support for the former prime minister citing the economic recession as one of the main reasons.
Covid-19 and its ensuing lockdowns has undoubtedly left a trail of death and economic devastation in this country.
Almost 20 percent of the current workforce is unemployed or underemployed.
35 percent of those who are self-employed have reported a 90 percent drop of income, while 71 percent don’t have enough cash flow to last them for the next two months.
Mahiaddin’s resignation and the fall of his cabinet has brought a glimmer of hope that the economy will begin to open up safely and prevent any further unnecessary job loss.
Several front-runners have emerged to take over the reigns from Mahiaddin, including opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri and Umno veteran politician Tengku Razaleigh.
It is not clear at this juncture who might have sufficient support to lead a new government given the turbulent nature of Malaysian politics but it is clear that whoever takes on the role must act fast to undo the mistakes of his predecessor or face the same fate several months down the road.