PM’s approach proving to be a success

(NST) – The country’s progress in overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic has been a personal victory for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for a good reason.

Since becoming prime minister a year ago, his tireless efforts at mitigating the worst effects of the Covid-19 crisis and its consequent economic downturn have been focused on three strategies.

First, the Prihatin — the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) — was introduced on March 27 last year, soon after he took office, which aimed to ease the people’s burden and lay out a recovery programme for the economy.

This was followed by the Penjana initiative in December, a move taken a few months after the launch of the National Economic Recovery Plan in June.

The focus this time was to empower the people, propel businesses and generally to further stimulate the economy through the intervention of tax deductions and other capital allowances.

On March 17 this year, Muhyiddin added yet another set of strategic initiatives for the economic recovery of the country.

Pemerkasa has been laid out to boost and empower the people by way of a strategic programme consisting of 20 initiatives that have been well received by all quarters.

These have been tipped by most banks to enable the country to deliver the economic growth rate from a -2.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year to around 16.4 per cent by the second quarter of the year, on a year-to-year basis.

All three strategic exercises have been geared towards restarting and empowering the economy, containing the spread of Covid-19 in the country, and working towards accelerating economic recovery, strengthening businesses and entrepreneurs, and accomplishing community and regional agendas.

It became clear to Malaysians that Muhyiddin had found a ready formula to proceed in prioritising the government’s plan to win the fight against Covid-19 and improve the economy, despite attempts to remove him from his position.

What he did very successfully, has been to present his case to the people by being on their side. He chose to become the “People’s Prime Minister”. In this way, he was able to garner the people’s support and endear himself to them.

First, Muhyiddin described the personality of Makcik Kiah, the goreng pisang seller, whose husband is a pensioner and her children’s education is financed by the government’s Education Fund.

Next, he came up with the analogies of Madam Lee, the hair salon operator, Haji Salleh, who prepares and manages a fried noodle stall, and Surjit Kaur, a small-time entrepreneur.

He won over hearts because he showed empathy to all their appeals for help the way a “People’s Prime Minister” would have done.

He can now stand tall among his people and carry on in his usual calm demeanour to run the affairs of the state with full confidence.

As a “People’s Prime Minister”, a little after a year into his term as the country’s eighth prime minister, Muhyiddin has earned his stripes and will be remembered in the nation’s history as did his predecessors with their contributions.

In historical terms, Muhyiddin’s call to the people is to march onwards into the future principally with the “Unity in Strength” approach.


Former Malaysian Ambassador