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.