For the second time in two years, Malaysia is once again without a prime minister, as the short-lived Muhyiddin administration came to an abrupt end.
The collapse of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government has since sparked fresh rounds of political negotiations, as parties and factions scramble to secure the top job.
Speaking to Mothership, Malaysians express their disappointment and frustration at the political drama amid a deadly pandemic, which recorded a new high of 22,242 cases on Aug. 18.
After the Aug. 18 deadline for members of parliament (MPs) to submit their vote on the next premier, UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) candidate Ismail Sabri has come out as the frontrunner, though Malaysians are sceptical that things will change for the better under these "usual suspects".
Malaysians who were spoken to also stressed the need for the incoming prime minister to focus on curbing the spread of Covid-19 and reviving the "struggling economy".
A few of them shared the opinion that the PN government has failed Malaysia and Malaysians.
Ironic downfall of Muhyiddin
Tony, 58, told Mothership that Muhyiddin's downfall was simply "ironic", as he gained power by "betraying the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition", and now he's facing "betrayal from his own allies -- UMNO".
The retired engineer said that the 17 months of Muhyiddin's rule as PN was a "failure", and expressed his frustration at the severe Covid-19 situation in Malaysia despite multiple Movement Control Orders (MCOs).
"If all the previous MPs in PN team up to form a new government, then whoever is the next PM doesn’t make any difference at all!", he added.
The 58-year-old further stressed that it would be "naive and wishful thinking to expect a miracle from the same failed team".
No hope in sight
Speaking to Mothership, S, 49, who is a manager at a multinational corporation said he does not see any hope for Malaysian politics.
"As long as the PM appointed are (one of) those old usual suspects, I don’t see any significant changes for a better tomorrow", he added.
S mentioned that he sees potential in Khairy Jamaluddin, who served as the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation and was in charge the National Immunisation Programme for Covid-19, though he thinks Khairy is "too low in the hierarchy" to be chosen as the next prime minister.
Touched by unity and solidarity among Malaysians
Foong Weng Neng, 29, expressed his anger at the politicians for engaging in power struggles and ignoring the hardships faced by Malaysians during these tumultuous times.
The currently unemployed ex-teacher recounted the depressing experience of his parents being infected with Covid-19.
According to Foong, his parents did not receive medical care except for a few tests at a facility, and were sent home to recover on their own.
While relieved for his parents' recovery, he expressed concern over the healthcare system's capacity in handling large waves of patients with Covid-19.
He feels for the medical personnel as they are "working with limited manpower and resources", and they have to "hold the line with no end in near sight".
On the other hand, he is touched by the display of unity and solidarity among Malaysians who have come to the aid of their own, regardless of race and religion.
He hopes that people would realise the "hypocrisy" of the politicians and break free from the "racial and religious stereotypes" fuelled by them.
Faith in the next generation
Echoing the sentiments of disappointment and frustration at the current political drama, 26-year-old Nur Sakinah Ahmad Rosli expressed her faith in the "youngsters".
The construction supervisor stressed the importance of having a "third force" aside from the ruling and opposition factions, in order to stand against any power that tries to silence the will of the people.
She believes that "third force" could be achieved with social movements, and can serve the purpose of voicing the peoples' opinions and pressuring political elites.
Despite recent events, Sakinah still believes in the democratic process.
She added that any leader would have to undergo the proper electoral procedure, and no one should be able to bypass parliament.
Wan Noor Khuzairey bin Wan Mohtar, 27, also expressed his faith in the younger generation, and believes that his country will "come back stronger than before" if they manage to find "great leadership".
The teacher also believes that education is key, in order to nurture political literacy and awareness among the younger generation.
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