What will Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Anwar Ibrahim do next now that the King has told politicians to “resolve their problems through negotiations and the legal process in accordance with the Federal Constitution” as reported in Malaysiakini?
Firstly, he has to comply with a police request to see him over his claim. He wouldn’t have courted this additional trouble if he had taken the issue to the Dewan Rakyat by seeking a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. MPs wouldn’t get into trouble for doing so because it is their constitutional right, even if the request never sees the light of day!
Yet, a no-confidence vote against Muhyiddin seems to be the only way to resolve this current issue. It would eliminate all the grovelling-without-dignity deal-making to become prime minister or be in government or to buy over a few MPs to maintain a one or two-MP majority.
If you have to buy votes or MPs over with the promise of jobs and positions, it shows you don’t have real support. Therefore, a claim of majority support needs to be tested and a no-confidence vote allows for it.
On the other hand, if you seek to seize power by any means outside of the Dewan Rakyat, that’s as good as a coup and anyone can question and undermine it as Anwar has since he claims he has the support of a majority of 120 MPs. He is able to get the majority based on disgruntled Umno MPs who have had it with their subservient role to Muhyiddin’s Bersatu party and want to leave the PN government.
Muhyiddin didn’t think through carefully when he courted Umno as a party to join him to form a Malay-majority government. Umno was disgraced and ousted from power in the 14th General Election(GE14) even though it was the largest Malay-based party. The people didn’t vote for Umno in government but Muhyiddin welcomed it in his new coalition without thinking of consequences. Now, he is paying for it. In government, Umno became stronger and it is not surprising that it wants better terms for itself. And, it is clear that Muhyiddin has lost control of his coalition with Umno now threatening to pull out if it doesn’t get what it wants.
If Muhyiddin, like former two-time premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, only entertained individuals from Umno to join PN and not the party, he wouldn’t be in the state he is in now because the individuals won’t have the numbers to dictate terms.
Anwar now faces a similar future. If he works with Umno as a party he will be disrespecting the GE14 mandate of the people and allying with a party that was not elected to form a government. He would also have a party with a big number of MPs and at some time in the near future, they will collect. And the same problem facing Muhyiddin now will repeat. Political stability will not be guaranteed.
For the sake of political stability, the best course of action is to call for a no-confidence vote against Muhyiddin, which a number of MPs have initiated. The Speaker Azhar Harun said in a recent statement that a Minister must move a motion to push a no-confidence vote to the top of the agenda in the order of the day at the Dewan Rakyat. There should be a few sympathetic ministers who could do that.
Whatever follows next, should be managed according to democratic conventions with the party/registered coalition with the most number of seats invited to form a new majority government. If it fails, then the next largest party/coalition and so on. There will be a period of uncertainty but at the Dewan Rakyat it will be fairly managed without abuse of power.