Masing: Now not time to turn guns on each other, must defeat Covid-19 first

Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

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KUCHING, July 8: Malaysia is again wrestling with a deepening political crisis as the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, but this is not the time for political parties to turn their guns on each other, at least not until the country has defeated the deadly pandemic.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing Jemut asserted this in response to the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) Supreme Council’s decision to revoke the party’s support for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government with immediate effect.

“If Umno carries through with its threat to withdraw its support for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Malaysia will not be in any position to fight Covid-19 as one united community,” he emphasised in a statement today.

Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, pointed out that it is more important for the country to further solidify and focus on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic as the situation has not improved for months, instead of dragging the people who are struggling under prolonged lockdown into the political battle.

“In traditional warfare, the opposing armies shoot each other. However, in fighting the coronavirus, Malaysia has a different strategy. We shoot our comrades first.

“So whoever remains standing or alive, then shoots the coronavirus,” he opined.

Masing stressed that the best strategy to fight this deadly Covid-19 pandemic is for all to stand together and fight as one.

“Once we defeat Covid-19, then we (can) turn our guns on each other, if we must.

“We are at war with Covid-19. It’s not the time to play politics,” he added.

Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi made the sudden announcement in a Facebook live broadcast last night following the conclusion of an Umno Supreme Council meeting lasting more than four hours.

It came just hours after Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the appointment of Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as deputy prime minister and senior minister, respectively.

Zahid also called on Muhyiddin to step down from his post to allow for the appointment of an interim prime minister who will focus on the people’s wellbeing, address the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure that the vaccination rollout is expedited.

He asserted the PN government had failed to meet the seven conditions outlined by Umno for the party to continue supporting the government.

Among the shortcomings of the government he listed out were its alleged failure in effectively addressing the pandemic, highlighting inconsistent policies and the “half-baked” Movement Control Order (MCO).

Besides that, Zahid said the PN government had misused the proclamation of emergency by using it for political purposes rather than to help the people, alleging the practice of double standards in enforcement.

He also claimed that the government has been slow in managing assistance for the people; has failed to reassure the public that it has the people’s best interests in mind; failed to ensure political and economic stability which has driven away investors; and had trivialised the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s command to allow the convening of Parliament to debate the Emergency Ordinance and the National Recovery Plan.

Zahid emphasised that Umno does not support any effort in naming Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a candidate for prime minister, nor will it support any Democratic Action Party (DAP)/Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led government.

On the appointment of an interim prime minister, Zahid said once herd immunity has been achieved, the new premier should immediately advise the King that the 15th General Election be held. — DayakDaily