How Muhyiddin has fared so far as prime minister in the time of Covid-19

Zainal Epi
A live broadcast of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin unveiling the Covid-19 stimulus package in Kuala Lumpur March 27, 2020. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

COMMENTARY, March 31 ― Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has shown his mettle as a leader as he rallies the nation against an invisible enemy ― Covid-19 ― while at the same time having to deal with his political enemies and a volatile economic situation.

Emerging from the political battle that brought down the nearly two-year-old Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, he wasted no time in working to contain the deadly coronavirus while offering the people new hope.

The absence of a trustworthy opposition made Muhyiddin acceptable to Malaysians at large and at this present moment, he has thus far managed to handle the Covid-19 crisis with wisdom.

He took about a week from March 2, the day he was sworn in as prime minister, to settle down and pick his Cabinet who are now working with him as a team to stop the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is no easy task for a man whose leadership capabilities has not been tested at this level but Muhyiddin seems to have taken the challenge in his stride.

Just three weeks ago, the opposition was in a “killing mode” with claims that this was an illegitimate, backdoor government and threats of votes of no-confidence.

Together with Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pas, Muhyiddin managed to weather all that and brought things under control, a feat even the PH government may not have managed so well, according to people on the ground.

Muhyiddin is not fighting one battle alone, he has also to fight his position in the party where he is being challenged by the son of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, his chairman who won the party chairmanship uncontested.

Dr Mahathir had also questioned Muhyiddin’s legality as prime minister ― a position Dr Mahathir himself resigned from, a move which brought down the PH government.

Since he took over, Muhyiddin has not had a single day of peace but he seems to be cool when he appeared twice on TV to address Malaysians about measures needed to contain the pandemic.

In a way, the movement control order (MCO) the country is now under has given Muhyiddin a real political break as all political activities have now stopped.

While he has been getting quite a lot of praise on the ground for his swift actions to help alleviate the suffering of the B40, his stimulus package was not well received by the business community.

He has to address this matter fast or the country may not be able to turn over fast enough to recover from the effects of the shutdown as well as the world economic downturn.

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