All posts by Gertrude

About Gertrude

I am a little left of centre 21st Century person. What all that means you'll discover as you read my blog!

What Anwar has done …

What happened at the Dewan Rakyat on Nov 26 when Budget 2021 was passed at the policy stage by a voice vote?

Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar (Amanah) requested for a block vote and 12 other MPs stood up in support but the number fell short of the 15 MPs required to get the block vote. Opposition MPs sat on their bottoms, confused because they received a message from Opposition Leader and PKR president and PH leader Anwar Ibrahim telling them to let the Budget pass the policy stage.

After the Dewan Rakyat session ended, Anwar told reporters that he had sent the directive to not be “seen as going against” Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz after the concessions the latter made to give more aid to farmers, fishermen and other disadvantaged groups.

Anwar might have felt that if he were to go against the Budget, it might backfire on him in his Port Dickson constituency where fishermen and farmers form a major component of his support base. If that were the case he could have just told the PH MPs that he wasn’t going to reject the Budget but they were free to stand up for the block vote. Problem solved. But he didn’t do that.

Or, he might not have wanted to go against the finance minister because he didn’t want to be seen going against the Agong whose support he would need should he form a majority coalition sometime in the near future. This is the lamest of his reasons because, in the Dewan Rakyat, the MP is accountable to the people who voted him in. No one else matters.

On this count, Anwar demonstrated a miserable lack of leadership. He thought of his constituency of semi-rural/semi-urban constituents who may not understand the implications of defeating Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s Budget and may only understand what help they can get. That is understandable but Anwar failed to think of ALL the other urban constituencies the majority of MPs represent in PH.

It is these constituencies who provide the bulk of taxpayers’ money. They are driving the economy and they do not begrudge the money spent wisely on those who need it. But, they are deeply concerned that the rule of law applies in this country and that their representatives exercise their constitutional rights and vote on their behalf.

The urban voters don’t want a backdoor government and they want it removed constitutionally. They are totally against a government that they didn’t vote for using their money and the Budget should be defeated on that ground.

Urban voters may not be dependent on the government but they understand the importance of upholding parliamentary democracy and in fighting for the latter they are fighting on behalf of ALL Malaysians and it should be recognised.

The fact that Anwar did not recognise and respect the urban voters’ demands and stopped their MPs from voting on their behalf is inexcusable if it isn’t downright sabotage of voters’ rights.  If the block vote was approved, who knows we might have a new legitimate government today. But, thanks to Anwar, an illegitimate government continues to function.

Perhaps, the real reason why Anwar stopped the block vote was that he was given to understand that his chums in Umno, namely the court cluster group he is said to be negotiating with to form a majority coalition, among whom are those facing criminal charges in court, were not going to reject the Budget. Not having the numbers to form a government, Anwar may have thought of buying more time to form a coalition with them or others.

Surely, Anwar isn’t all that naive? By now he should know that the Umno rebels are all talk and hot air who only threaten as a bullying tactic to get their demands and who will be appeased by a few token concessions to save face as long as they are allowed to stay in the government.

These are also the very same people that PH toppled and now Anwar wants to join forces with them so that he can become prime minister? He has to face reality and accept the fact that he is never going to form a coalition with them!

Anwar needs to understand what Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah knows: that Muhyiddin’s government is an illegitimate government that refuses to seek legitimacy by facing a no-confidence vote and, therefore, everything it does is illegitimate, including the tabling of the Budget. The only way to get rid of such a government is to defeat the Budget it has no right to table.

That is the only thing left now for the MPs to do. Defeat the Budget and install a legitimate government. Anwar needs to forge a coalition with other more reliable partners even if it means he can’t be prime minister.

If he can’t do that, then, it is time for PH coalition partners DAP and Amanah to put their foot down so that an alternative coalition can be formed. If he can’t go along with that then he should take a backseat and let someone else who can take over.

All Opposition effort must be to defeat Budget 2021. It would be ideal if an alternative coalition can take over the government. If that fails, there should be no general elections and no emergency. The Agong should be advised to appoint an interim prime minister with a much smaller Cabinet to govern until the next general elections.

Vote to save parliamentary democracy

Federal Territories minister Annuar Musa’s recent directive reveals his ability level. In an effort to help the rakyat, Annuar announced that petty traders could set up shop anywhere in the Federal Territory. He may be well-intentioned but is it an effective plan that will bring about the desired results?

Did he consider zoning, hygiene and housing by-laws and what implications and restrictions they would place on petty traders? Or, was his plan to waive all these restrictions which were set up to develop the city in a well-planned organised way for the sake of the rakyat?

If so, it would be another example of how ministers are prepared to compromise existing laws in order to “help the poor rakyat”. Is this rule of law or abuse of powers? I suppose he is following in the example of his friend and boss Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who also compromised the rules of parliamentary democracy and seized power through a coup and stubbornly continues to govern without seeking legitimacy from the Dewan Rakyat.

They justify breaking the rules in the name of helping the rakyat but is the rakyat being helped?

Consider again Annuar’s plan for petty traders. The Federal Territory is a red zone and people can’t move from the red zone to the green zone or vice versa under the covid-19 pandemic map. So, who will be patronising these petty traders? They would have spent money setting up shop but the cost wouldn’t warrant the low volume of customers. So, would this plan help the petty traders apart from risking the further spread of covid-19?

Did Annuar think through his plan or in the typical fashion of leaders of his type announce a half-baked plan that gives no real benefit to the people, and in the process demonstrate his competency level?

This from a man who is being touted as a future deputy prime minister or even prime minister? If ever he attains these positions, we will have plenty of white elephants — taxpayers’ money generously spent which doesn’t deliver real benefits to the people!

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz’s Budget presentation is another example. The fact that the Budget puts cash in the hands of the people in the current economic crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic is not an issue. The government is expected to do that in a lockdown such as this. All the governments of the world do the same.

What is disconcerting is the manner in which Zafrul sought passage of the Budget in the Dewan Rakyat. He appealed to the MPs to heed the advice of the Agong and pass the Budget.  Instead, shouldn’t he have appealed to the MPs to vote for the Budget based on its strengths? The fact that he didn’t do that reveals his lack of confidence in his own Budget and he invoked the authority of the Agong.

Does he not know that the Dewan Rakyat is the supreme lawmaking body in the country and that MPs are free to vote in any way they believe is best on behalf of the people?

The Budget has received many criticisms and these have been well-debated and reported in the media so I won’t go into it except to say that it is more an election Budget rather than a Budget to combat the covid-19 pandemic and aid in economic recovery.

Again, a minister in the PN government compromised the intent and spirit of the constitution in putting a constraint on MPs when he has no constitutional right to do so just so that the Budget is passed, which would mean that the government would not fall.

It’s the same lack of confidence Muhyiddin showed in seeking emergency powers from the Agong to postpone the Batu Sapi parliamentary elections. All the parties concerned have announced that they would not be contesting the seat leaving Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) to defend it. Independents may want to contest and submit their applications on nomination day. Even if they did, campaigning would be greatly reduced due to the absence of the main players and SOP can be fully enforced which means the by-election will not create a sudden rise in covid-19 cases as happened in the Sabah elections.

But, Muhyiddin ignored all these facts before him and sought emergency powers for Batu Sapi. What was the real reason for the emergency then? To prevent Warisan from winning the seat so that the opposition has one vote less to reject the Budget? Or, to send a warning to the rebels in coalition partner Umno who have been talking about snap elections should the Budget be defeated?

Again, Muhyiddin has demonstrated a lack of confidence in his own leadership and ability to control his coalition partner, Umno and like Zafrul invoked the authority of the Agong to support him to stay in government. It was a message to Umno that he could call for emergency and avoid snap elections if they voted against him and the Budget is defeated.

So, this is a political game for Muhyiddin to stay in power with the Agong’s help, not the support of the Dewan Rakyat? If the Budget isn’t aimed at controlling the covid-19 pandemic and providing support to sustain businesses until recovery begins, it can be rejected for irrelevance to current times!

MPs know the issues involved and this time they must vote on behalf of the people and uphold parliamentary democracy. They must be ready with an alternative majority coalition should the PN government fall in order to take control of the government swiftly with minimum disruptions.

Whatever majority coalition MPs are forming there are two political parties they must not include, namely Umno and PAS to form the government. Umno members will hold the nation to ransom and create the kind of trouble they are creating now. PAS will keep quiet and wait for the other Malay parties to self-destruct as the latter fight for votes reduced by an increasing number of Malay parties. When that happens PAS will swoop in to fill the vacuum as the stable party and begin its Islamization programme.

Don’t form a coalition with these two parties. Individuals can leave these two parties to join the coalition but keep Umno and PAS out of the government.

I urge the MPs to form a majority coalition, vote against the Budget, and save parliamentary democracy! The people are watching with expectancy!

Happy Deepavalli! Glow in its lights!

This Deepavalli, don’t let the sorry state of Malay-majority-led politics dampen the festive spirit. Sure, we don’t get as much as others in the Budget. Sure our representatives in the Dewan Rakyat are not free to speak and vote on our behalf. Sure this current backdoor government has dismissed the mandate we gave the Pakatan Harapan to govern. Yes, the future looks bleak, but it need not be — for us!

Remember, whatever downward slide we may be heading towards is NOT our doing. That is entirely on the Prihatin Nasional government led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Remember, this government was formed solely to have access to funds to bolster up their political base in order to stay in government. So, they keep spoon-feeding their supporters but none of their policies so far indicate a strategy to enable their supporters to survive and develop without government support.

So, they will always be dependent on the government and never learn to fish. But, we can.

Yes, we don’t get much-needed government aid but we have US! Our history and traditions make us the individuals we are today and it is enough for us to move forward.

So, this Deepavalli, let the festive lights light up your soul to help you find the confidence to to carve out a path for success for yourself. The odds may be stacked up against you and aid may come in a trickle. Take whatever help you can get but don’t lose hope and walk around head low.

Enjoy the Festival of Lights. Be refreshed and strengthened and let its lights enable you to see alternatives and the resources within you to help you get ahead.  You will make it because I have confidence in US!

May the Deepavalli lights cast off the gloom and doom and shine on a bright future you can make on your own!

Happy, happy Deepavalli all!

 

 

The only option left

Two things are unlikely to happen in the current political scenario. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will not step down and Umno will not quit the Perihatin Nasional (PN) government no matter what.

Muhyiddin won’t resign because its coalition partner Umno will position itself for a comeback and his party Bersatu will have to take a back seat. He won’t want that to happen. Umno, no matter how recklessly destabilising its blustering bullying gets, won’t quit the PN because it’s trying to make a comeback through the backdoor.

Both need to be in the government to have access to funds to put in the hands of the B40 group who form the backbone of the support for both parties. Without funds, support for these parties is not guaranteed.

So, the PN coalition will remain but consider at what future costs. The the covid19 pandemic will be managed, thanks to our excellent Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, with or without the PN government. The sudden spike in cases is being used as an excuse to resort to drastic measures to control an uncontrollable Umno and that makes the PN government a dangerous government because it has demonstrated its willingness to rely on extreme measures to control a situation it can’t manage.

So, will it do the same when people start fighting for dwindling resources?  The economy is going to get worse because of the pandemic. Businesses are downsizing or closing down; people are losing jobs. Government income from taxes will be greatly reduced and with depleting resources the Prime Minister will have less funds to put cash in the hands of the B40 group. More people will be fighting for limited resources and if one group is favoured over the rest, the strain on the people will be greater and who knows how it will explode? If the PN government can not manage the covid 19 third wave peacefully can it manage economically-fuelled racial tensions in the future without relying on extreme action? That’s yet to be seen but are we going to wait until that happens when it might be too late?

There is an option now that is yet to be considered seriously. Restore the GE14 mandate of the people in its entirety, which is a Pakatan Harapan (PH) government composing PKR, DAP, Amamah and Bersatu and its splinter party Pejuang and Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and his Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) party with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the Prime Minister-designate and with Gabungan Parti Sarawak and Sabah Warisan Parti  in tow as PH-friendly.

I know PH parties are moving on with alternative arrangements but it must respect the mandate of the people in the GE14 and seek to restore the coalition and its composition as elected by the people. Any combination outside of the original PH coalition will not work. Strife and political instability will continue and it will get worse.

To arrest these twin issues which are causing undue strain on the people, the unelected PN government must be made to face the due processes of parliamentary democracy. No elected MP must tolerate an unelected government and must take steps to restore the mandate of the people. But, how?

My suggestion is the GE14 PH original coalition. This is the only choice of a coalition left. Send out feelers to recoup. The parties concerned must be willing to set aside personal feelings for the good of the nation. Tun, Muhyiddin, Anwar, Azmin, eat humble pie and work together.

Sit together and have a pow wow. Thrash out the outstanding issues but with professional courtesy without shouting at each other, especially to Tun. It’s not in our culture, whether Indian, Malay, Chinese or ethnic Sabahan or Sarawakian to be rude to our elders. Maintain professionalism but talk and iron things out, personal feelings aside.

If the PN government is defeated by a vote of no confidence in the Dewan Rakyat next week, it will make it easier for PH to form a majority coalition if it approaches Muhyiddin to join it again. If the no-confidence vote is not called then the MPs vote of PN’s Budget must show respect for the people’s mandate. It would be a betrayal of the people’s  trust and a grossly irresponsible act if elected MPs pass a Budget and put taxpayers’ money in the hands of a government these taxpayers didn’t elect.

If the Budget is rejected, Muhyiddin has to resign and again, PH, as the next coalition with a majority should reach out to Bersatu to join it. Umno and PAS will go back to the Opposition but individual members are free to join PH parties.

Should this suggestion work out and Tun returns as PM — maximum until the next election — I hope there will be ministers in the Cabinet who will advise him NOT to sound like US President Donald Trump in his comments on foreign affairs or race issues. With regard to his latest outbursts at French President Emmanuel Macron, let him know that belligerent bravado does not help the Muslim world; respectful engagement does.

My suggestion of reuniting the GE14 PH coalition is put forward as a solution to continuing political instability and future strife. It is the only workable solution left, in my opinion, and, perhaps, the only solution.

In favour of a no-confidence vote

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.

What happens after next Tuesday?

After next Tuesday, we don’t know if the Prihatin Nasional (PN) government or coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN), Muafakat Nasional (Umno-PAS pact), Pakatan Harapan (PH) Opposition, Gabongan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) or even the Gabongan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will exist!

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim has a scheduled meeting with the King on Tuesday where he will present a list of the names of MPs who have pledged to form a majority government. If, indeed, he has a majority of MPs to support him in his bid to form a government, that would, of course, be the end of the PN government.

It would be interesting to see who have agreed to join him and from which coalition because that might be mean that that coalition would break up or, at least, its composition would change. It could also result in a change of state governments. Another political imbroglio!

A precedent was set when Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin went to the King with his list of MPs to topple the previous PH government and failed to get the stamp of legitimacy from the Dewan Rakyat by facing a no-confidence vote. A counter-coup seems to be the only way to remove an unelected government which refused to face a no-confidence vote to get the mandate from the elected representatives of the people.

Why we need coups — like we are some banana republic! — to take control of the government beats me! Follow the constitution and the democratic convention of holding a no-confidence vote to test the degree of support of the claimants of majority support.  It would be less messy and the mandate of the people would be respected.

Unfortunately for us, Muhyiddin didn’t follow this practice, and following the precedent he set, a counter-coup may be the only solution to the extremely unstable situation of struggling to maintain a wafer-thin majority with all sorts of compromises!

Should Anwar succeed, I hope he will demonstrate his allegiance to the supremacy of the federal constitution and face a no-confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat with a special session called to accomplish this.

If Anwar succeeds, I wonder how the parties will realign themselves and in which coalition. I hope in any coalition set to lead the government, PAS will not be a member. That would indicate that the coalition is willing to swing further to the right when the situation demands it and in the process advance PAS’s cause, perhaps even at the expense of minority groups.

We have seen how it helped Bersatu and Umno win a couple of seats although it didn’t stand for election in the recent Sabah state elections, as reported by political analyst Bridget Welsh in her analysis of the state elections posted on news portal Malaysiakini.  Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Maximillus Ongkilli and Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) president Jeffrey Kitingan both had expressed their concerns to Muhyiddin and GRS that they disagreed with the move to appoint a PAS member to the state assembly.

Apparently, they had no clout to change the decision because PAS now has a seat in the Sabah state assembly. Yet PBS and Sabah Star chose to support GRS. Through deals and promises, party members get positions but the interests of the people they are supposed to protect are seemingly sacrificed. PBS and Sabah Star’s support comes mainly from the KadazanDusun Murut community most of whom are Christians. I wonder how they feel about this new development? Or, do their concerns even matter?

In the current political climate as ours where no Malay-based party has a clear majority and PAS is able to deliver votes to win, the position of the Islamic party especially in government will be strengthened. Will it temper the progressive notions of multi-culturalism or advance ultra-conservative ideals? It is a risk that multi-culturalism proponents will regret as I am sure PBS and Star do as they can do nothing now about PAS being in the Sabah state assembly.

Political parties need to be very careful as to which coalition they will join. A right-wing or a progressive one? The two sides don’t mix. A progressive coalition will help us move forward; a right-leaning coalition will take us backwards. It is imperative that political parties choose wisely.

Sabah got it right

Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin should be commended for the way he managed the transition of government from the previous to the new after the recently concluded state elections.

The election results were inconclusive; no party won a majority of seats. In the absence of a majority by any party, he did the right thing in calling on the party which won the most number of seats to form a coalition. Parti Warisan Sabah, headed by former chief minister Shafie Apdal, won 18 seats against Umno’s 14 and Bersatu’s 11.

Juhar gave Shafie time to form a coalition. When the latter failed to get the numbers because Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) chose not to join the Warisan Plus coalition, Umno and Bersatu were next called to form the government. PBS with its seven seats joined Umno and Bersatu to form the majority government under the banner of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS).

This is the democratic convention of forming a government when election results are inconclusive. It must be noted here that GRS isn’t a registered coalition and should not have claimed victory when the results were announced. In fact, when Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin first announced the name on the eve of nominations, the Election Commission (EC) should have declared that the parties could not campaign under the GRS label because it wasn’t registered. The parties, anyway, decided to go it independently under their respective party symbol. When they didn’t get a majority they decided to join forces under the GRS banner which is typical of the BN-PN (Prihatin Nasional) government to seize whatever loophole they can get to get power. That would have been preempted if the Election Commission had knowledge of the law and enforced it.

It would also be advisable for the EC to present the official results to the Yang di-Pertua Negeri so that he knows which party to call to form a government when results are inconclusive.

It’s imperative that such conventions are followed to avoid chaos so that no party can claim victory. If such conventions were followed, we would not have an unelected government as we do now. When the Sheraton Moves took place and former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned, it created a very fluid political situation that should have been managed with the same caution that the Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri showed. If other candidates were claiming a majority it should have been tested as Juhar did and we would not be stuck with an unelected government with questionable legitimacy. Instead it appeared as if there was a hurry to swear in Muhyiddin as prime minister.

In a changing political landscape, it is necessary to look to the constitution to ensure that the rule of law is followed. Constitutional experts must be consulted so that politicians are seen following the law. The public needs to see that politicians are observing the rule of law in order to accept them as the rightful leaders even when their side loses.

So, even if Warisan lost the Sabah elections we can accept it because the rule of law was followed. The same can’t be said of the PN government because of the way it was installed when it didn’t have a majority.

As such it opens itself up to be toppled by a party or coalition which can summon a majority. That may be necessary to install a government with a majority. So, we are now faced with political uncertainty because the rule of law was not observed.

In Sabah, Shafie has said Warisan would not “entice” GRS assemblymen to defect to topple the new government. That is the right thing to do because essentially the rule of law was followed and the votes of the people are respected, hence there’s political stability.

That’s something we can learn in Peninsular Malaysia. Until a legitimate government is set in place, there will be political uncertainty and instability.

Godspeed to the polls, Sabahans!

Sabah goes to the polls tomorrow amidst a great deal of furore in Peninsular Malaysia over Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim’s claim that he has the numbers to topple Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government.

The dust has yet to settle over Anwar’s numbers claim but Sabahans should ignore it and follow former Chief Justice Richard Malanjum’s call to vote for Warisan Plus.  Vote for Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan), Upko, PKR, DAP and Amanah and give them a two-thirds majority. With a new strong and stable government in place, Sabah can pass laws to stop party-hopping and ensure political stability in the state, which is necessary before development follows.

So, Sabahans vote for your stable future and reject every party associated with the current Prihatin Nasional (PN) government. You’ll be showing the constitutional way of electing your leaders — not by backdoor deals — and proving that bumiputras — whether Muslim, Christian, animists etc, etc — and the other races can be united under one banner for the good of the state.

You’ll rout the frog-hopping parties who have no qualms allying with crooks, bigots and desperate jobless politicians for power at the expense of the rakyat.

You’ll be saying to political parties which woo the religious party PAS under its current hardline leader Hadi Awang, that that is a mistake and there would be consequences.

You’ll be giving notice to the backdoor PN government that its days are numbered and demand the restoration of the federal constitution as the supreme law of the land with the expectation that everyone complies with it. When they don’t, there would be consequences.

So, Sabahans, in this elections, proudly vote for what you know is good for you. Vote for Warisan Plus and reduce all the other parties to a miserable whimpering croak who will never be able to raise their voices again unless to advocate the interests of the people.

So, Sabahans, wear your masks, maintain physical distancing, clean your hands and Godspeed to the polls!  You’ll be doing the rest of us Malaysians a huge favour by throwing out dirty old political frogs and ushering in a new, cleaner brand of politics!

 

Sabahans, vote for your constitutional rights

I seriously hope that Sabahans can see through the stilted statements that the Prihatin Nasional (PN) government and its coalition partners have been making of late. PAS claims it was the kingmaker in installing the PN government. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin says Sabahans need strong state-federal ties. Don’t believe them!

PAS president Hadi Awang claimed that his party was the kingmaker in installing the  PN government and that it was done according to Islamic principles. Speaking at the PAS Youth general assembly in Kota Bharu last weekend, he said that PN was not a backdoor government although “we may have differing views”. That precisely is the issue

PAS helped to install an unelected prime minister and government, and a minority government at that, and he claims all these were done according to the constitution. But were they? In addition, PAS supports a government which dismissed the rightfully elected Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat and appointed a new one without an election. PAS supports a government which accommodates parties with crooks, bigots and desperate jobless politicians all in the name of Islamic principles.

For PAS, the above are consistent with the constitution. If they are, what guarantee do Malaysians have that their constitutional rights will not be misconstrued and tilted in favour of PAS’s notions as has happened?

That is the risk Malaysians should not take and why Sabahans must not vote for any candidate associated with PN or its allies or friends at the national or state level. The PN government can not be trusted to honour and uphold the constitution. If PAS can offer a justification for PN to stay in power even if it contravenes the standard understanding of the constitution as according to constitutional experts, PN will go along with it. PAS, meanwhile, continues to influence the government.

But, what will become of our constitutional rights? They will be sacrificed. That is the reason why Sabahans must not vote for PN parties, partners, allies and friends.

Muhyiddin has said a strong state-federal relationship is needed for Sabah. That may be true if PN remains in government. The Sabah and Sarawak elections can determine if PN will remain in power and that is why this Sabah elections are so important.

If Sabah votes overwhelmingly for Warisan Plus comprising Warisan Sabah (Warisan), Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), DAP, United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko) and Amanah, they will be sending the strongest message they can to PN that they will vote similarly in a parliamentary election.

Most of Sabah MPs are with Warisan Plus except for a few Umno and Bersatu MPs and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Maximus Onglikli. If only two MPs switch camps, it is enough to bring about the fall of PN’s one-MP majority! That is what PN is afraid of and why it is making all sorts of encouraging statements about Sabah.

Don’t be fooled by the PN. In this state elections, DON’T vote for any party associated with PN. Their strategy is to go it independently and see who they can join forces with to form a coalition with a majority later. To preempt it, Sabahans should vote overwhelmingly for Warisan, PKR, DAP, Upko and Amanah.

Although PBS is a Sabahan party distancing itself from PN parties, don’t vote for it, unless PBS openly declares it is leaving the PN at the federal and state levels and becomes an independent or joins Warisan Plus.

The PN parties are Sabah Bersatu, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP). Parti Cinta Sabah is a party to watch. It is not allied with PN but its party president Anifah Aman is the brother of former chief minister and Umno politician Musa Aman and members of their large family are contesting various seats. They could easily forge a majority alliance should they win a number of seats.

A vote for Warisan Plus parties is a vote for the restoration of constitutional democracy in Malaysia which is the system of government we practise.

If Sabahans vote for the parties which best practise adherence to the constitution, they will be voting to protect their constitutional rights. It’s an indication they will do the same in the parliamentary elections, and, surely their fervour will spread to Sarawak, and GPS would have to make a choice whether to leave the PN or not. In other words, Sabah and Sarawak voters will determine if PN will stay in government or fall.

NEXT WEEK: Vote on behalf of all Malaysians

 

 

Here’s another case of bad politics

Johor Umno treasurer Md Jais Sarday’s recent remarks as to why Prihatin Nasional (PN) councillors should not leave the coalition reveals very clearly the real reason why the PN government will go to great lengths to ensure it stays in power — they need the government jobs and the pension that follows it!

In a report carried by The Star, Md Jais reminded assemblymen that “they were only entitled to their pension if they completed 36 months in office”! So, the reason to hold office is NOT to serve the people but to get paid!

After 61 years of rule, Umno politicians still are unable to make an honest living on their own and need a government job to survive? Maybe, not just to survive but to live more than just comfortably? Is that the purpose of becoming a politician?

Their mostly rural supporters are scraping the bottom of the barrel to make ends meet and, out of gratitude for the paltry sums of cash put in their hands by their politicians, loyally give to these leaders their votes. But their leaders go around in their Mercedes Benzes and comfortable pay packets at the end of every month and have a pension to look forward to. What kind of future do their supporters face?

Md Jais comments come in the context of the disciplinary action being taken by Bersatu against its former Johor MB Osman Sapian for campaigning for former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s candidate in the Slim by-election. If Osman is booted out of Bersatu, Johor will have a hung state government. PN holds 29 seats while Pakatan Harapan has 27.

So, to avoid a hung government the bait to stop councillors from switching sides is a pension? We are fully aware of PN’s pecuniary interest in wanting to stay in government but can’t it, at least, be discreet about it?

I suppose, for the desperate, seizing an opportunity that comes by your way and clinging to it by any means is justified. Shamelessly true!

I am looking forward to the day when politicians of integrity will take over the reins of government. Hopefully, very soon.