The vital non-Malay factor

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned on Tuesday when the small Italia Viva party withdrew from the ruling coalition leaving him with a minority. In Malaysia, on Jan 9 the ruling Prihatin Nasional (PN) government lost its one-MP majority when the Machang MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub (Umno) withdrew his support for Muhyiddin. The PN government fell on Jan 9 but the minority coalition continues to occupy the government.

The occupying coalition continues to operate under the emergency ordinance it declared on Jan 12. On the that same day, the Padang Rengas MP Nazri Aziz (Umno) announced that he has withdrawn support for Muhyiddin. The PN coalition now has 109 MPs in Parliament, two fewer than the 111 required to form a majority to govern as according to the Federal Constitution.

The PN coalition has ignored the democratic principles of the constitution and has set itself in government in the name of the Malay majority. Is this the kind of Malay leadership we want?

I can understand why the Malays the PN represents support it. These are the simple-minded voters who are happy for the little cash their leaders put in their hands and are nice about it. Their leaders can cheat, resort to political chicanery, make pacts with politicians facing criminal charges and stage coups but as long as they are “nice” about it they show how caring the Malays are and if their supporters can get some cash in the process, the latter will give their support without realising that they are being taken for a ride.

This is Malay majority politics and the abilities of their leaders to govern are what we have witnessed since the Sheraton moves last February. The PN coalition in government has only one issue to tackle — the covid 19 pandemic. Under its government, Malaysia has moved from the lower half to the 29th position in the list of countries with the highest number of cases. It has dropped six places to 57 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. There has been no new prosecution on those connected with the IMDB scandal. 46 charges against former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman were dismissed. Is the judiciary independent? Is Parliament independent with an appointed Speaker?

Is this the kind of Malay-led government we want?

Thank God for the faction of the Malay population that does not support the PN coalition! These are the progressive Malays who are mostly in the Opposition. Unfortunately, their numbers are not as large as the PN supporters but they provide full support to the Opposition in the urban areas. If they were a majority, the PN would never have been formed!

This latter group of Malays is represented in Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Amanah, Warisan and Pejuang and together they form a dominant representation in the Opposition with the solid support of the non-Malays. Malays and non-Malays in the Opposition understand the significance of constitutional integrity and the need to abide by the constitution and so can work together. That is what as Malaysians we want — Rule of Law. And Malay leaders who uphold it.

That is also why it is puzzling why non-Malay bumiputras in Sabah and especially Sarawak support the unelected minority PN coalition. Do they not know that if the PN failed to follow democratic processes, what can stop them from sacrificing non-Malay and non-Malay bumiputra constitutional rights for the sake of remaining in power in the name of the Malay majority?

Non-Malay bumiputras in Sabah and Sarawak need to think through carefully about which coalition they should join, especially if a general election is called soon. The PN coalition can not be trusted to respect the constitutional rights of Malaysians because they have so far NOT shown compliance with the constitution when their own survival is at stake.

The head of the PN coalition, Muhyiddin Yassin, as leader of a small party (Bersatu) in a minority coalition, will always be insecure of his position and will seek to prop himself up in any way possible in order to stay in power, including sacrificing non-Malay and non-Malay bumiputra rights. Non-Malays need to be extremely wary of such a leadership and seek alliances where the Federal Constitution is followed to the letter by the prime minister and his or her cabinet.

In the absence of a more politically knowledgeable Malay majority, as fellow Malaysians, we, the non-Malays, should fill the vacuum and provide the majority to the Malay-led Opposition which has the experience and scholastic understanding of the Federal Constitution to provide the leadership for an inclusive Malaysia that protects the rights of all, the majority and the minorities.

Sabah and Sarawak PN parties need to urgently rethink their allegiances.

NEXT WEEK: Why a general election now will not restore political stability

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