In the last two years, there were two instances when the nation witnessed the maturity of Malaysians.

The first time was just after the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018, when the power transition process took place smoothly following Pakatan Harapan’s victory.

The second time was more recently in the last week of February when a political crisis erupted following the realignment of the nation’s political landscape. It led to the swearing-in of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the nation’s eighth prime minister on March 1.

In both instances, there was a change in the coalition ruling the government at the federal level but despite the uncertainties that prevailed then, the “changing of the guards” proceeded without trouble.

The absence of riots and violent street demonstrations was notable. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Malaysians are a rational lot.

A lecturer at Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Department of Government and Civilisation Studies Associate Prof Dr Mohd Mahadee Ismail said, it reflected the maturity of the people who prioritised the nation’s peace and harmony over differences in political ideologies.

“Most people knew about the recent political crisis involving the nation’s leaders but they chose not to act outside the law and refrained from participating in street demonstrations as had been the case in previous years. Instead, they felt more comfortable taking the ‘wait and see’ approach and watch what happened next.

“This change (in attitude) shows a new political culture has developed among Malaysians. Instead of allowing themselves to get caught in the games and dramas staged by politicians, they have become more discerning and know what is good and bad for the nation,” he told Bernama.

Malaysians, added Mohd Mahadee, have also probably become immune to the “political games” and are frustrated that their support for the politicians concerned has been abused.

He also said that many people have also taken to openly criticising politicians – regardless of whether they are grassroots or top party leaders – on their social media accounts.

Of course, the politicians themselves are not happy about being criticised openly but, hopefully, it would serve as a warning to them that the public is watching their behaviour, he said.

“They (politicians) should not abuse the trust placed on them by the people. Unfortunately, there are some politicians who stray away from their responsibilities because they are too busy pursuing (party) posts and their own political interests.

“The people are fed up with the attitude of those unprofessional politicians. We (the people) also, at the same time, realise that no matter what happens, we still need to go to work and carry on with our lives,” he added.

Universiti Malaysia Perlis legal advisor Datuk Dr Wan Ahmad Fauzi Wan Husain said Malaysians today have become mature enough to choose to be observers of the goings-on in the political scene, instead of getting worked up and aggravating the situation.

He said the political pattern that unfolded this year would indirectly serve as a reminder to leaders that they cannot in the least stifle the voice of the people who determine their political careers.

“The people are now increasingly aware that all kinds of things can happen in the world of politics. This is why a majority of them have chosen to be mere observers. Past experience has shown that ‘street politics’ or protests will only invite more trouble and may lead to chaos and even affect interracial ties,” he said.

Wan Ahmad Fauzi also said that the people’s sound understanding of the role of Malaysia’s institution of constitutional monarchy also contributed to the peaceful resolution of the political crisis in February.

“The people’s confidence in the integrity of the institution of monarchy is getting stronger and they respect the decision taken by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah in appointing Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the eighth prime minister in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Constitution,” he added. - BERNAMA