Rookie MPs like Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman and R S N Rayer have yet to understand the importance of not missing the woods for the trees

The road to Putrajaya was for Pakatan Harapan, the opposition coalition turned federal government, anything but easy. Still, armed with ‘hope’ the opposition remained determined to occupy the nation’s capital hub – and they have, despite the struggle dragging on for 60 years.

Today (May 16) marks a week when the 14th general election took place. And that was also the day when Pakatan Harapan made history by putting an end to the power the Barisan Nasional coalition had held since the nation’s independence.

Months before GE14, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, at a coffee shop in Melaka, had announced Pakatan Harapan’s bid to outdo BN in Putrajaya, Johor and Melaka.

Amazingly, all three are now led by the Pakatan Harapan government. That Lim a month before GE14 rued that the opposition had only a slim chance of winning the general election, a mere 10 percent but instead ended up showing BN the exit, has left him speechless.

The seasoned politician’s determination to outdo BN and ‘save Malaysia’ is unparalled. Lim took all the flak, be it from being called a racist and to his party DAP being chided by DAP member Zaid Ibrahim as working solely for the interests of the Chinese.

All said and done, Putrajaya will for the next five years be synonymous with Pakatan Harapan.

Whilst experienced politicians like Lim have decided bringing the country’s glory to fore overrides all other agenda, the same devotion needs to be imbibed into rookie lawmakers like Muar MP Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman and Jelutong MP RSN Rayer, both of whom have yet to understand the importance of not missing the woods for the trees.

Syed Saddiq, for instance, sprang to the defence of embattled AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes, whose pre-GE14 ‘politicking’ saw him being damned by livid Malaysians.

Post-GE14 Fernandes had in a YouTube video apologised to Malaysians for buckling under political pressure and lending support to BN during the GE14 campaign.

But why concoct an apology when Fernandes’ loyalty had all along rested with the BN government? The stint in 2018 is his third in canvassing support for ousted prime minister Najib Razak. Fernandes was out there in 2008 and 2013 trying to woo Malaysians to bet their last dollar on BN.

This time, however, Fernandes dragged the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) into his sobbing narrative, claiming it tried to coerce him to cancel the extra 120 flights AirAsia had provided to allow Malaysians to return home and vote in GE14.

Mavcom has since denied the allegation, saying it had instead sanctioned 66 additional flights the no-frills airline had applied for on April 23. Now, Mavcom has lodged a police report denying it played a hand in sabotaging AirAsia’s move to allow Malaysians to come back on polling day. AirAsia has also disputed Mavcom’s denial.

Looking at the blame game and mudslinging taking place, why should anyone in their right mind bother giving Fernandes the benefit of the doubt, that too going by his repeated attempts at supporting BN?

Yet, Pakatan Harapan lawmaker Syed Saddiq doubled down and tagged Fernandes an unsung hero.

Given Fernandes’ conscious choice of throwing full support behind BN in the past and in GE14, there is nothing “unsung” about him.

Focus on serving the rakyat

In an Instagram post, Syed Saddiq decried that Fernandes was basically a victim and deserved every ounce of forgiveness and sympathy from the rakyat.

Lest Syed Saddiq forget, he is there to serve the people of Muar and not pull a public relations (PR) stunt for Fernandes. Instead of raving and ranting about the misfortune that befell the AirAsia top dog, Syed Saddiq should make sure he has the stamina to deal with the woes plaguing his constituents and leave Fernandes to lick his wounds.

That this newcomer took the liberty of saying that the Pakatan Harapan federal government is not averse to criticism and the business community has the freedom to support any sides without fear or persecution is troubling.

By failing to stay neutral, inexperienced lawmakers like Syed Saddiq could unwittingly jeopardise the credibility of both the Pakatan Harapan coalition and government.

“Happy new Malaysia everyone. Malaysia now belongs to the Rakyat. Thank you Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

“Keep on making Malaysia great!”

The above remark by Syed Saddiq should be his first and last in making a bad judgement call.

Whilst Syed Saddiq took it upon himself via Instagram to help return Fernandes to the so-called pedestal he once relished, yet another Pakatan Harapan lawmaker, Rayer turned to Facebook to vent his unhappiness with TV3, urging that its broadcast licence be revoked as the station failed to stay impartial and was instigating its viewers through its pro-BN news.

Rayer’s blunt expression earned him brickbats from media groups, prompting Kit Siang to later clarify that there was no such intention by Pakatan Harapan to bring the curtains down on TV3.

The veteran politician, in sensing Rayer’s frustration with TV3, however, assured Malaysians that the Jelutong MP would abide by the DAP and Pakatan Harapan policy on press freedom as enshrined in its election manifesto.

Even newly appointed Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian made news for the wrong reason, that too within a day after he was sworn in. Osman declared the state government would hold back funding for the state opposition i.e. Barisan Nasional in a tit-for-tat move as was practised by the previous state government.

The vengeful streak was much admonished, forcing Osman, previously Kempas assemblyperson under BN, to backpedal on his earlier directive.

A week after its shattering victory, Pakatan Harapan, whilst trying to settle in at Putrajaya, is leaving nothing to chance.

With a five-year commitment to undo all the wrongs and put in place the rights, the new federal government can definitely do without uncalled for drama, nitpicking or PR stunts.