Tag Archives: PN

How to beat the Najib factor

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin gave lengthy explanations to assure critics that all the data on MySejahtera is solely owned by the government. He further justified the viability of the app after its check-in function is retired as a base to build a digitised medical record system.

However, he failed to address the crux of the matter which is whether the “business arrangement” the government made with the app’s developer, KPIsoft (now known as Entomo (M) Sdn Bhd) was a result of direct negotiation or open tender.

Amidst all the explanations given that remains the unanswered question. Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob could have cast some light on the matter but he’s not around or recovering from a hectic trip to Qatar. He must be the only head of state who makes frequent official trips abroad during this pandemic — to Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Qatar — presumably to boost trade the outcome of which is mainly to open travel lanes, which he could have done via a telephone call!

While Sabri was away, his coalition partners were busy lining up to meet Pejuang chairman and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Perikatan Nasional (PN) partner Bersatu’s president Muhiyiddin Yassin had met up with Tun to ask for support to enable him (Muhyiddin) to be prime minister again. It seems PAS president Hadi Awang is also expected to meet up with Tun. Both may be manoeuvering to form a majority government in an alliance with Pejuang.

The above events simply indicate that the top leadership is absent in more ways than one and it is time for a general election (GE) to replace the current leadership so that we have a prime minister who is elected and who actually leads!

But, will a GE solve the leadership problem? If the current alliances do not change, it will not. That, perhaps, is why both Bersatu and PAS are looking to form a new alliance with Pejuang or vice versa.

Political parties and MPs need to be certain who they ally with. There are two parties to avoid at all cost: Umno, of course, with its court cluster leadership and PAS. PAS plays the field, seeing which party to ally with in the name of the so-called ummah but it had no problems standing by and watching while Muhyiddin — in the name of the ummah — broke up the ummah by sacking Tun and a few others. These same people are seeking Tun’s help now. How ironical! Let the people judge for themselves the nature of these politicians.

If Pejuang accommodates these two leaders, it will be alienating itself from the urban-based parties with whom is the best possibility for a coalition with a majority.

However, if MPs from Bersatu and PAS want to join Pejuang, that should be welcomed, in fact, encouraged!

PAS like Umno must be isolated because both are a threat to the multi-racial fabric that holds Malaysian society together. PAS will play the religious card in exchange for votes. That is unacceptable.

Umno, led by the court cluster, is the most imminent threat to the nation. If it is not isolated and comes back to power to lead the nation, the supremacy of the federal constitution will be at risk. That is what is at stake here.

Led by desperadoes president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and adviser and former prime minister Najib Razak, Umno will be willing to compromise the federal constitution to give constitutional monarchy sway over parliamentary democracy if in doing so they can get a royal pardon and escape sentencing that might mean a jail term, or for any other reason deemed fit for them.

Look at Johor. The mandate of the people was overruled by the decision of the Sultan over the choice of Mentri Besar and Umno did not fight for the people. With regard to the Maharani Energy Gateway project, according to Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, the Department of Environment had allegedly taken down an environmental impact assessment for the project from its official website after he raised concerns over a reclamation project linked to the Johor Sultan.

The EIA is a public document. Why was it removed? Apart from Syed Saddiq, who are speaking up for the people? PKR and DAP assemblypersons aren’t because they can’t. They were seen in photographs with the Johor royalty.

We can not afford to have a similar situation at the federal level where constitutional monarchy assumes a superior position over parliamentary democracy. Just like in Johor, that may happen if Umno comes back to power led by the court cluster.

That is the reason why Umno must be defeated and removed from all political equations.

There are four possible ways to achieve this objective.

Firstly, if Umno members can remove the court cluster from their leadership positions, they will save their party and it can be considered a possible ally. But that hasn’t happened and if at all it happens it will happen next year when party elections are held. That’s too long a wait.

Secondly, Umno MPs can leave the party and join other parties. That’s the best course of action if they want to protect the constitution rather than put money in their pockets. Well, they should do it before the anti-hopping bill is passed.

Thirdly, break all ties with Umno whether through a coalition at the state or federal level or the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)with Pakatan Harapan (PH). Who knows, PH parties may win back the support they lost as a result of the MoU.

Frankly, after being thrown out of the state government in Johor by its coalition partner, PN should have resigned from the government at the federal level. Understandably that might be a difficult thing to do as it would trigger both federal and state elections. So, PN parties need to tolerate their awkward position a little longer.

If none of the above happens, then, the last and fourth solution is to call for a general election. If PN or Umno leaves the government or the MoU is ended and not extended, it would trigger a general election.

Apart from Umno, no other party or coalition wants a general election because they are not confident they can win enough seats to form a coalition with a majority. But if Umno is isolated, all the other parties can negotiate to form a coalition with a majority, perhaps even a two-thirds majority.

It’s a possible scenario if the over-riding objective is to defeat Umno rather than manoeuvre to become prime minister. The candidate for the prime ministership should be one who can get the support of the majority.

For the fourth scenario to happen one very important factor needs to be recognized. The new coalition or parties in that coalition must be able to win some of the seats in Umno’s strongholds and a few more Malay-majority urban seats.

For these voters, the issues are survival and essentials. Multi-culturalism, criticisms of race-based politics and other such favourite middle-class and urban issues will fall on deaf ears. Urban voters need to understand this and refrain from accusing those who can reach the rural and urban poor because without their votes Umno will win, and we can say goodbye to parliamentary democracy!

A general election is the best solution to be free from the Najib factor if Umno can be isolated before that. Between now and then the voters need to be watching: Which MP or party will choose to act to isolate Umno and save parliamentary democracy or stay put and save their pockets? We will then know who to vote for.

A strategy to stop the Najib factor

Some factions in Umno are clamouring for snap elections based on the party’s success in the Johor and Melaka state elections. If general elections are held soon, Umno might win again based on the formula on which it won the state elections. Then, again, it may not.

Umno won the Johor state elections on a very low voter turnout of 43%. According to Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming, out of the 40 seats Barisan Nasional (BN) — of which Umno is the leading party — won, 20 or half had less than 50% of the popular votes.

It was also reported that in the urban Malay-majority seats which Umno won, the combined votes that went to Perikatan Nasional (PN) and the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) made up a majority over the votes Umno got. In other words, the majority of the voters, perhaps even the majority of Malay voters, do not support Umno/BN.

That being the case, it is astonishing that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s party, Pejuang, failed to win even one seat and instead lost all its deposits. It is important to find out why Pejuang lost so miserably as it would shed some light on the forces influencing Malaysian politics now.

Pejuang would not have gone into the Johor state elections if it didn’t have any support. It may not have formed the state government but, considering Tun’s stature, it would have won a few seats, at the least. The standard explanation given to explain Pejuang’s dismal performance in the Johor state elections is that the voters have rejected Tun and what he stands for. I beg to differ.

Tun represents a strong, albeit unbending, leadership. And, there were expectations that his party would make an impact in the Johor elections. But he fell seriously ill just before the elections and the immediate reaction to that fact was that both Pejuang and his supporters lost heart. It was a reality check for all. The prospect of a strong leadership began fading into history and Pejuang leaders had too short a time to prove that they could provide the strong leadership that their chairman represented.

Tun recovered and by the time Pejuang did, the available time was insufficient, as its president Mukhriz Mahathir explained, to engage the voters and show them their mettle. Meanwhile, the voters made a pragmatic decision: In the absence of a strong leadership, they voted for other parties.

Pejuang has been knocked down but it is not out. According to a Bernama report, Pejuang obtained 18,692 votes or 1.34% of the votes, which means it still has some support. That base support can be galvanized to create the momentum to draw increasing support if Pejuang rises to its feet, lifts up the torch that Tun has lit, stands up for this nation and lives up to its name. It all depends on Pejuang leaders now.

Why am I taking the trouble to talk about Pejuang? Let’s consider what would have happened if Pejuang had found a foothold in the Johor state assembly. Would Johor’s appointment of its Mentri Besar have been handled in the way it has?

Umno has more than a two-thirds majority in the state assembly. Any party with that kind of a majority that holds itself responsible for being accountable to its voters would have fought for its candidate. The prime minister is an Umno vice president and has the leverage to assert its federal government authority to back his party’s candidate in the state. Why did Umno acquiesce and gave in to a “higher power”?

The answer is in its court cluster leadership. Although it is answerable to the people and no one else, Umno’s court cluster would rather ensure its survival by not antagonizing the Johor Sultan whose support they might need at the state and federal levels and, especially, in the event they are convicted and need a royal pardon. That seems to be the only logical explanation.

The court cluster’s intentions are common knowledge and it revolves around one person, in particular, former prime minister and Umno advisor Najib Razak. Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has publicly acknowledged that it was Najib’s influence that won Umno the majority to govern Johor.

But what is not logical is how the Najib factor is able to demolish all the opposition it has faced and create a power vacuum that is paving the way for his comeback, perhaps even as prime minister. In that power vacuum, vested interests are asserting themselves as in Johor and neither Zahid nor Najib is stopping it.

Instead, every competitor to Najib has been removed or made irrelevant. Muhyiddin has been removed. The formidable Mahathir, too, has been pushed aside and his party struck down. Sabri is a puppet in the hands of the court cluster. Election after election, the Najib factor is gaining ground on an incredulous and inexplicable unbroken winning streak!

There seems to be more than meets the eye to the reasons for the success of the Najib factor, a sleight of hand, pulling the strings to facilitate the survival of the court cluster by ensuring that all opposition to it is removed, and, in the process distorting the political reality. I suspect it is also creating the fear of repercussions should there be any opposition to the advance of the Najib factor.

That, perhaps, is why Umno politicians are unable to do what they know is constitutionally correct. All the noise they make simply masks the fear that if they oppose the Najib factor in any way they would be burnt as Muhyiddin, Mahathir and Pejuang have.

That sleight of hand which is the Najib factor is also common knowledge. My purpose is not to identify it but to expose its modus operandi based on what is evident and, more importantly, to declare that it can be stopped!

The Solution

Sever all links with the court cluster and the party of which they are members, which, in this case, is Umno.

Muhyiddin invited Umno to join PN as part of the Sheraton moves fully aware its leaders were facing criminal charges in court. Intentionally or not, he opened a channel for the Najib factor to access the corridors of political power and influence political outcomes. We have witnessed it in the return of Umno to power.

The only way to stop the Najib factor from spreading to achieve what it wants is to cut all links to it. By doing so, it will be disabled from influencing politics. Politicians and BN partners have to decide whether to remain in and with Umno. If they do and there is conflict in priorities against the priority of the Najib factor for self-preservation, be prepared to get burnt, and don’t say you weren’t warned!

PN is in a precarious situation. For the moment it is safe because Umno needs it to maintain a majority to remain in government. But, when interests conflict, the Najib factor interests will dominate and perhaps at PN’s expense. There has been some talk that some PN MPs are planning to join Umno/BN. Maybe, they should think twice, thrice, many more times or they may regret.

PH, too, needs to sever its link with the Umno-led government, which is the MoU it signed with the Sabri government. PH wants to preserve the MoU in order to introduce the anti-hopping bill. In the current political climate, the bill will deter Umno politicians from leaving and that might not be a good idea if the overriding objective is to cut ties to the Najib factor to leave Umno isolated.

An untethered Umno will be unable to form a majority government. Cutting links to Umno will precipitate a general election. By then, however, all the political parties except Umno will be set free from the creeping tentacles of the sleight of hand and can participate in the general elections in their own strengths. The outcomes will be determined by the interplay of the decisions made by politicians, political parties and voters and will be a true reflection of the support of the people.

It is the duty of the leaders to ensure that the voters are free to determine their own destiny. That will save the nation. They must act now to get back to the rule of law according to the constitution.

Time for closure and to start a new chapter

It’s time to bring the chapter in Malaysian history that opened two years ago with the Sheraton Moves to a close and start a new chapter. The Sheraton Moves and the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government that followed resulted in three major consequences that were and still are detrimental to the country.

Firstly, the PN government seized power outside of Parliament without proving its majority and, in doing so, contravened the federal constitution but expected to be recognized as legitimate. To this day, it has failed to address its unconstitutional origins and has installed a coalition party member as the prime minister. Ismail Sabri Yaakob followed the precedent set by his predecessor, Muhyiddin Yassin, and likewise failed to prove his majority.

By failing to prove their majority both PN leaders have shown disdain for the constitution and refused to recognize that they set themselves up as the prime minister unconstitutionally, creating a constitutional crisis that is yet to be resolved.

Secondly, the PN government brought former kleptocrat premier Najib Razak back close to the corridors of power. The convicted criminal now openly and fearlessly campaigns for the candidates of his party, Umno, on the election trail. No one can do anything about it because the courts have stayed sentencing over his conviction. Not only is he moving around freely but apparently has the support of some Chinese factions which encourage China-Malaysia ties and who — with no respect for the judiciary’s decision to convict him — invited him to open the 11th World Chinese Economic Forum.

I am flabbergasted that there are Malaysians who have lost all sense and will openly go against the constitution and get away with it and who without a blight of conscience invite a convicted premier to open an international forum and get away with that too!

Thirdly, the Opposition has proven itself powerless to stop constitutional violations and convicts from roaming freely for the simple reason it was more interested in petty personal politics rather than putting the nation first and seeking to work together for the good of the people and demanding compliance with the law of the land.

For two years we have had to put up with a poorly-performing government, a national embarrassment and a weak opposition. Malaysia’s saving grace is the great spirit of the people to help one another in the face of crisis. As Klang MP Charles Santiago has described it, the recent floods have shown that the government is “redundant”. It’s an apt description.

The question to address now is: Why are we supporting such a useless government?

There’s only one group of people who can stop the current government: the Opposition — if it can work together and seize the opportunities that lend themselves to take the government back constitutionally. So far it has missed all the opportunities that came its way. Now, it has to create a new opportunity to retake the government or force a general election.

Retaking the government may be out of the question now because it might not get a majority. Malay-based PN parties Umno and Bersatu have declared they won’t form a pact with the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition. Opposition party Pejuang seems to be going solo and may not join PH. That means the only alternative left for PH is to force a general election.

Some analysts claim that now is not a good time for PH to seek a general election as voter sentiments are not in favour of PH parties PKR, DAP and Amanah considering their losses in the recent Malacca and Sarawak state elections. But after the failure of the PN government to provide swift rescue to the people in the recent floods, it would mean that neither are the PN parties popular with the people.

Faced with a choice between PN parties and Opposition parties, there’s a good chance the people may choose the opposition parties, especially if the latter stand on a national policy of sustainable development, environment preservation and reforms. That’s the new chapter we need to start, one that begins with an elected government committed to good governance and with the will to execute and enforce policies that bring direct benefits to the people.

The recent floods and water cuts have clearly shown that river and water management and maintenance in the face of climate changes need to be the focus of any national policy without sacrificing development objectives for the majority in the bumiputra semi-urban and rural regions. The lack of a swift disaster management response by the National Disaster Management Agency reflects on the inability of the current government to handle such crises or any crisis for that matter! That should be the last straw in supporting an unelected and unable government to remain in power.

Should another disaster occur, there’s no evidence so far that the Sabri government will be able to handle it. Even with the covid 19 pandemic, although the daily active cases have dropped, the fatalities though dropping are still high. Malaysia’s daily covid 19 death toll is in the lower double digits (41 on Dec 28) although we are nearly 80% vaccinated compared to Indonesia’s single-digit deaths (7 on Dec 30) with only 41% of the population vaccinated.

In terms of disaster management, the Sabri government can’t be relied upon and we can’t risk another disaster in its hands.

PH has to think through carefully what it intends to do for the good of the country. It needs to ask itself if the Memorandum of Understanding it signed with the Sabri administration is beneficial for the country or has it removed any real and effective check and balances of the government?

So far, all its advice and criticisms and calls for improvements have fallen on deaf ears. Sabri has responded to no issue and changes have been negligible. Is there any point in continuing with the MOU?

If the MOU is torn up, it would trigger a general election which may be what is needed for a reset. But PH has to think through very shrewdly as to how to face a general election.

Perhaps, like Pejuang, PH parties should go solo in the next general election. If there’s a hint they may form an alliance with Pejuang, urban voters who right now see former premier and Pejuang chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a liability may stay away from voting. If Pejuang joins forces with PH, the former may be unable to lure the Malay-majority votes it is targeting because of its association with non-friendly urban non-Malay voters.

This is the political reality because Malaysian voters have not matured enough to understand the special problems of specific races and accommodate them. The more developed urban voters should, by right, show greater magnanimity than they have shown so far and be more inclusive of the still-developing semi-urban and rural bumiputra voters. The progressive leaders understand the conflict in values between the two groups but, unfortunately, the voters see it as a race issue rather than a development issue.

PH also needs to know which Malay-based party to support to form a coalition post-election. If it supports Umno, PH will be facilitating the return of kleptocrats unless the current leaders are removed during Umno’s party elections. There’s no time, however, to wait for that to happen. If PH supports PN, it will be facilitating the return of incompetence personified! The only choice is to support Pejuang, which, apparently is seen as a threat to PN and Umno but not proven yet until tested in a general election.

If as individual parties each wins enough seats, it can regroup as the PH coalition and seek more partners to form a comfortable majority post-election.

The point is that PH has to think through very carefully exactly what it intends to do to remove the Sabri/PN government. Supporting the current administration will be putting the nation at risk.

In the hope PH will act for the good of the nation, I wish you all a Happy New Year!

PN’s untenable position

So, why are the nine Umno MPs still in the Prihatin Nasional (PN) coalition? Why is coalition leader Muhyiddin Yassin accommodating them and keeping them in the Cabinet? Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has already withdrawn Umno’s support for Muhyiddin so why is the latter still keeping these rebellious MPs in his Cabinet?

Very openly he is baiting them with government positions to ensure he has the numbers to remain in government. At the same time Zahid is not disciplining his errant MPs which means there might be behind-the-scenes haggling going on for Umno to remain in PN for some gains advantageous to the Zahid faction in Umno. Watch their court cases; see what happens there.

All this is indisciplined, chaotic Malay politics and to be expected but is it ethical of Muhyiddin to use government positions and resources to play Malay politics? Isn’t that an abuse of power and position?

In Malaysia, a national leader must know there is a boundary between using the government to serve the people and using it to serve his or her own personal agenda. If in your eyes the boundary is blurred, then you are too simple-minded to distinguish between what is right and wrong and will do wrong without batting an eyelid resulting in the kind of problems we have been witnessing since the Sheraton moves.

It is understandable that Muhyiddin wants PN to have a majority. But, it is totally unacceptable that without a majority he unconstitutionally clings to the government to achieve it. He should resign and seek to obtain a PN majority outside of government, then stand for election and win it. Then he has the right to govern.

It is reprehensible that he is using government positions and resources to gain that majority. That is unethical and contravenes the constitution and must not be tolerated.

Malay politicians need to understand that only those who can’t compete according to the rules or are afraid to compete according to the rules for fear of losing, cheat and resort to political chicanery and treachery to win.

That is the picture the PN is painting of its politicians. That’s how the discerning public, whether Malay, Chinese, Indian or East Malaysian perceives PN politicians: unable to fight fair according to the rules. That is the reason the PN doesn’t have the support of the more knowledgeable urban Malays and non-Malays.

In an interview published today in Malaysiakini, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said that the PN reflects a Malay-based coalition and that the people (Malay majority) are comfortable with Muhyiddin. That may be true — only because they don’t know any better. Even if the PN did wrong they would not know what was going on. If they did, they may take to the streets. The politically more astute urban Malays and non-Malays do not trust Muhyiddin. We know what he’s up to. The PN can fool their supporters but it can’t fool us.

Their supporters may not realise it, but their PN leaders have without a qualm used their trust to set themselves up in a backdoor government and what have the people gained from it? They are still struggling to put food on the table. Worst still, the people are experiencing a runaway pandemic with 15,573 active cases and 144 deaths reported today despite the so-called “government effort”. Apart from giving money what has the PN done to stimulate economic recovery and control the pandemic?

Businesses are closing down every day. Jobs are scarce. Now, we don’t know if we have been genuinely vaccinated or just jabbed with empty syringes! Doesn’t this Malay-majority coalition know its people well enough to know that under stress they lose it and don’t know what they do, and proactively prevent it from happening? Is the PN governing or simply keeping everything running — even if badly — so that they can continue using government positions and resources to prop itself up?

Is that the type of Malay-majority leadership we want? One that fails to set the example of following the constitution?

Even with the special parliamentary session beginning next Monday, we don’t know what to expect. Already the MPs are complaining that the Dewan Rakyat sitting starting on July 26 does not follow standing orders and is only a series of lectures by ministers. Should by a twist of fate a vote of no confidence is introduced and PN loses, will PN continue to stay on in government with the Attorney-General making another statement that it is “not clear” that the session was legitimate?

The PN does not play by the rules so we have no reason to believe it would abide by the result of a no-confidence vote.

Contrary to Zuraida’s opinion that now is a bad time to oust Muhyiddin, it is the best time. If he remains in government Parliament will be dragged out to give him time to use the advantage of incumbency to work out a deal with one or the other of the factions in Umno so that he gets the majority to pass the Budget to get more money to spend to ensure voter support in the event of a general election.

He may think that with expedited vaccination in the Klang Valley the pandemic will be controlled and elections can be called. It will not. The virus will continue spreading and it would just be a matter of time before it spreads beyond the Klang Valley if aggressive testing, contact tracing and vaccination do not continue nationwide.

A change of administration now will preempt Muhyiddin from making deals in favour of a defeated party like Umno by using government positions and influencing institutions, ensure control of the pandemic and facilitate economic recovery.

That can only be good for the nation. No party or person who shows no proof of majority should be allowed to continue to sit in government. It is immoral and undemocratic.

Let’s get our own house in order first

I can understand many Malaysians’ anger at Israeli aggression and their heartfelt support for the Palestinians’ desire for nationhood. Any rational and reasonable person anywhere in the world would feel the same. What I don’t get is why Malaysians don’t express the same intensity of emotion when it comes to abuses at home.

Israel’s justification for its actions is self defence. That’s a fair position but when it has to be achieved at the expense of Palestinians’ rights, it becomes an untenable position. No doubt the issue is not as simple as Palestinian rights vs Israel’s rights.

The West Bank and Gaza, which are inhabited by the Palestinians, are controlled by the Hezbollah and Hamas respectively and both are supported by Iran. There are legitimate concerns to ensure that these two areas are not used by Iran to train its guns on Israel or turned into a battleground for a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia as is happening in Yemen in the effort of both countries to assert their influence in the Middle East.

The Palestinian-Israel issue is a complex one and to understand it for a real solution one needs to consider the roles Iran and Saudi Arabia play in the Middle East as well. The Internet is full of information on the complexities of the Middle-East and anyone who is truly interested in it can easily get all the information they need. My point here is not to discuss the Palestinian issue but to use it as a backdrop for what’s happening here in Malaysia.

Many of Israel’s actions may be seen as violations of international laws and the human and democratic rights of the Palestinians. But Israel does not see its actions as violations but as necessary acts of self defence. It is a stand similarly taken by the Prihatin Nasional (PN) coalition. PN is an unelected, self-appointed coalition in government without the mandate of the people.

Malaysia under the PN coalition has abandoned democratic principles. It has enforced emergency to rule by decree, not by the mandate of the people, and has suspended Parliament.

In that sense, how is the PN any different from Israel? Or Myanmar or Thailand? Like Israel, the leaders of these nations have interpreted the laws of their respective countries and human rights in a way that justifies their action to seize power and to remain in government. Like Israel, they don’t see what they are doing as wrong.

So, if Malaysians are quick to see the wrong of Israel, why don’t they as swiftly see the wrong of the PN coalition in justifying themselves according to their own interpretation of the Federal Constitution? Why this seeming silence? Only the Opposition protests and a small number of people. But the majority seem to be accommodating the PN coalition.

If something like the Sheraton Move and the coup that followed took place in Indonesia, Indonesians — like the Myanmarese — would have spilled on to the streets by the thousands and demanded the restoration of democracy. But, Malaysians? We make a lot of noise when it comes to another nation or a Muslim nation but remain coy and tolerating of constitutional infringements in our own country.

We need to get our own house in order first. Then, we can confidently go to the rescue of another nation in the spirit of solidarity. We need to fight for our rights of self-determination through the democratic processes and demand that these processes are complied with with the strictest of commitment. When we have succeeded, we can speak up for other nations and we will be heard and respected!

I hope our fighters are in hiding rather than not being in existence and will come out when the current surge of covid 19 subsides! There must be a nationwide cry to restore Parliament and the democratic processses. If democracy is what we want then we should be willing to fight for it. We should no longer trust the leaders to make decisions on who should rule but demand the restoration of democratic processes and rule by the mandate of the people.

Malaysians, let’s fight to get our house in order first.

PN’s deafening silence

Last Friday, retiring Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador exposed his boss, Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin, as a meddling leader who allegedly attempted to interfere with the management of the police force and to use it for political advantage.

It raised a hue and cry but Hamzah did not respond to the criticisms and brick bats hurled at him. Nor did his boss, Muhyiddin Yassin, who sits in the prime minister’s seat and who, ultimately, is responsible for the performance of his bloated 70-member Cabinet. Why this silence?

Why maintain this heavily guilt-ridden silence for failing to be accountable to the people? Is this supposed to be the style of the PN leadership? Or, simply the indefensible defensive action of weak and insecure people who have been found out but refuse to accept responsibility for their action or inaction?

Hamid’s expose of Hamzah is a serious allegation and should be addressed by Muhyiddin yet nothing is being done to deal with Hamzah. Not only should Hamzah be disciplined but the PN coalition should resign on account of it because it amounts to failure to lead.

Muhyiddin’s so called “leadership” has led to a minister being accused by no less than the top cop himself and it must be acted upon not glossed over with silence. His leadership has led to one rule for ministers and another for the rest, a minister caught sleeping on the job, others who are invisible and, most importantly, the questionable management of the covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia with daily cases rising over 3,000, bringing the cumulative total to 427,927. The daily single-digit death tally went up to 23 on May 6.

Yet, no response from PN head, Muhyiddin. He is not alone in his seeming paralysis. India’s sick are dying without hospital beds and access to oxygen. The death toll there has averaged over 3,600 per day in the last seven days. In the face of such unbearable tragedy Prime Minister Narendra Modi has maintained an inelegant silence.

Citizens are dying but poor and weak leaders keep silent. Good leaders will face the people, accept criticisms and suggestions and improve. If their leadership does not benefit the people, they resign. DAP supremo, Lim Kit Siang, in exasperation, ended his article on the dangerous state of our pandemic (Makaysiakini, May 6) by pointedly saying “Malaysia is suffering at having the worst prime minister and the worst government in its 63-year history!”

Yet, not a word from Muhyiddin. He can’t or won’t handle Hamzah; he can’t or won’t reconvene Parliament. If he does, there’s still hope that a bipartisan effort will help arrest the rapid spread of the pandemic and decline of the economy. He can’t operate without the people’s money and resorts to selling assets; he won’t face the people with the truth. But, he wants to remain in power and refuses the help Parliament can offer. Thick-skinned and conscienceless.

Sworn in by the Agong, he needs to ask himself if he and his Cabinet are making the Agong look good? If the Cabinet has failed the trust of the Agong, it must resign. Whether there is an alternative coalition to take over the government or not is not Muhyiddin’s concern. He must step down and let those who can, take over the government because any government (without PAS and Umno) will be better than this!

The country isn’t looking good and Muhyiddin’s silence, like Modi’s, speaks eloquently of a dismally failing government. It’s an inelegant but deafening silence of its abilities or lack of them.

Better to step down than run the country into the ground!

Baffling PN MPs

While happy that Convent Bukit Nanas got an extension of its land lease by 60 years, I was surprised by the decision and the speed with which the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) made the announcement.

Such a quick decision by Prihatin Nasional (PN) leader Muhyiddin Yassin in response to public outrage and regarding a Christian school is a little short of a miracle! From the moment he was named as prime minister by the Agong, he has not once responded positively to public opinion.

The day after he was named PM, his coalition lost its majority because former prime minister and his then party president, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, got the backing of 113 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat but Muhyiddin seemed to have kept quiet about it and went ahead with the swearing in when he should have told the king that he had lost his majority and resigned. This may be history but it shows how he operates.

Then, there was a huge hue and cry asking him to validate his appointment by facing a no-confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat. He kept quiet and, instead, fired the then Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat and appointed his own candidate without an election which was unconstitutional. Despite the furore, he kept quiet and didn’t yield.

This was followed by endless requests to face a no-confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat. He made no response, maintaining his silence and continued as the government of the day without the mandate of the people.

When his coalition partner, bitter about not being given the chief minister’s post in Sabah, threatened to destablize his coalition, he sought emergency powers from the Agong but failed to get it. He made no comment and bided his time.

Early this year, when Umno MPs Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub and Mohamad Nazri quit the PN, it lost its majority again but Muhyiddin remained silent NOT doing what all right-thinking prime ministers do when they lose the majority — resign. He kept quiet like a child keeps quiet hoping no one finds him out, but when one of his lackeys was able to lure an opposition MP to join him, he quickly made a public appearance and claimed he had a majority.

But, during the few days he didn’t have a majority, he had no right to function in the role of prime minister but he quietly continued in the role and went to see the Agong and sought emergency powers and suspended Parliament. The emergency powers were meant to manage the covid-19 pandemic but he and his Cabinet started performing other duties as well and no one could do anything about it despite the numerous online petitions asking him to resign, and resign and call for the reconvening of Parliament. He remains silent and immovable.

Then, suddenly, when the Convent Bukit Nanas issue cropped up on April 19 when the school was granted leave by the Kuala Lumpur High Court to challenge the non-renewal of its land lease, which is due to expire on September 6 this year, there was a public outcry to extend the lease and in just three days — yesterday — the PMO released a statement saying that the lease has been extended by 60 years!

What made Muhyiddin cave in to public demands when right up to this issue he totally ignored public opinion? What or who influenced him? It would be interesting to know. Just like that Convent Bukit Nanas got a land lease extension, yet after a year of repeated public calls he doesn’t resign and he doesn’t call for the reconvening of Parliament. Baffling!

What else is baffling is that the MPs in his coalition are fully aware of all the unconstitutional acts and double standards committed by the PN yet they remain in the coalition. With the exception of Umno MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who withdrew support for the PN on the grounds that it was not an elected government and one which didn’t get the mandate of the people through a no-confidence vote and, therefore, unconstitutional, not one other MP has resigned, not wishing to be part of an unconstitutional government.

If one or two MPs from among the 222 elected MPs turned rogue and acted unconstitutionally, I can just accept it as a case of a few rotten apples. But when more than one third of them don’t seem to have the moral courage nor will to disassociate themselves from unconstitutional acts, and stand up for parliamentary democracy, you begin to wonder how these MPs got elected. It doesn’t inspire confidence in Malay-majority leadership, at least, not among the non-Malays even after an “acquiescence” like the Convent Bukit Nanas land lease extension.

The two other Umno MPs who resigned did so not for constitutional reasons, but for political reasons; they were unhappy at the way Umno was treated in the PN. It really is baffling why, like Razaleigh, not even one other PN MP would choose to resign for constitutional reasons.

The people need to vote these MPs out in the next general election. How can we trust them to abide by the rules of parliamentary democracy and uphold the federal constitution?

Time’s ripe for a new coalition to emerge

Until Members of Parliament act swiftly to form a new Malay-led majority coalition, the Prihatin Nasional (PN) alliance will continue in government by default.

So, if MPs want the PN coalition to step down, emergency lifted and Parliament restored, their parties need to realign themselves and coalesce into a new coalition which can offer itself as a legitimate alternative. When that happens and Umno withdraws from PN, PN will have no choice but to resign. And, it must because a viable alternative has presented itself, proving that PN has no majority.

There will be no need for a general election that would only be a strain on the national coffers and voters tired of Malay politics. The new coalition faces a vote of confidence and if it wins it, wins the mandate to form the new legitimate government until the next general election.

If MPs don’t form a new majority coalition now, there’ll no difference in the outcome of results should a general election take place and PN, though a minority coalition, might still be installed as a caretaker government and it will stay on in government until a majority coalition is formed, which may take a long time to happen if it can not happen now.

It appears as if efforts are afoot for a new coalition to be formed and the immediate strategy of MPs must be to make it happen to bring about PN’s resignation. With an alternative coalition poised to take over and with Umno withdrawing from PN, the latter has to step down.

That would consequentially level the playing field. PN would lose the advantage it now has to attract MPs because of the RM3.5 million allocation available to its MPs for community servicing. With the RM3.5 million bait gone, MPs will have to chose sides based on what is best for their constituents. And some may even leave PN to join the new coalition.

What options do the MPs have? With Umno out of it, PN will become a much smaller entity. With PAS in it, it is unlikely to get the majority support of Christian-based Sabah and Sarawak parties which means it will not be able to get a majority.

The best possibility for a majority coalition is Pakatan Harapan (PH), comprising Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), DAP and Amanah — if it can get the support of Sabah’s Warisan and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s yet to be registered Pejuang. GPS has pledged support for PN but if PN resigns because an alternative exits, GPS may change its mind. In fact, it should; any alliance with a coalition in which PAS is a member will backfire on it.

Today, at the end of its two-day retreat in Port Dickson, PH named PKR president Anwar Ibrahim as its candidate for the prime minister’s post in the 15th general election (GE15) due in 2023. However between now and then, PH’s leadership is left open, which means there is a chance for Mahathir to return or someone aligned to him to return to lead a PH Plus majority coalition.

The Mahathir factor should not be excluded because he could rally the support of Warisan and perhaps GPS too and even some Umno MPs to join forces with PH to form PH Plus which would have a very comfortable majority, at least until GE15.

Umno’s future is uncertain. It’s court cluster leadership is being asked to make way for new elections. So, there will be new leaders or some MPs may break away. In either situation, there would be possibilities to negotiate with Umno or its breakaway MPs to join or be friendly towards PH. By itself Umno can’t form a coalition. If it joins forces with PAS no one else will join it. By allying itself with PH it can survive in some way.

If PH Plus can be a convincing majority coalition, PN will have to resign and a caretaker government or new government under a leadership that can ably manage the transition period can be formed to last until GE15. It’s the best option to move forwards and it’s up to the MPs to make it happen.

The biggest political ‘joke’ that isn’t funny

Like what veteran Umno politician and former deputy prime minister Musa Hitam said, the current political goings-on in the country is a real “joke”.

Indeed, it is. For Musa what was a joke was all the defections that are taking place now. For me, yes, that’s a joke but what is a more serious and real joke is that a coalition remains in government without proving its majority and uses its incumbent position to lure Opposition MPs to join it to get a majority! How absurd is that! How can that be constitutional? So funny!

What is even funnier is PN leader Muhyiddin Yassin taking a picture with two Opposition MPs who claimed to have become independent and defected to the PN and using that photo opportunity to announce, “I have 111 MPs”! How would he know if other MPs in his coalition still support him? What a joke!

Immediately after that announcement, Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Anwar Ibrahim claimed that he, too, had a majority.

Now, who really has the majority? Claiming a majority with a few defections isn’t proof of a majority. Besides, any MP can claim to have a majority.

A majority can only be proven when a party or coalition passes the test of a confidence vote in Parliament. Until that happens any coalition’s claim of a majority is questionable.

From the moment Muhyiddin was sworn in as prime minister, his majority in Parliament was suspect. From Day 1 in government, he sought to maintain a narrow majority by poaching MPs from the Opposition supposedly with all sorts of enticements.

Apparently, he was never certain of his majority because he was not willing to face a confidence or no-confidence vote to prove it. Questions can be asked as to whether that was constitutional. Secondly, when Muhyiddin lost his tenuous one-MP majority early this year, he didn’t resign. Following the loss of a majority, he sought emergency powers saying it was solely for the purposes of managing the covid-19 pandemic and continued to remain in government.

Like Musa, so many leaders and the public have called on Muhyiddin to prove his majority. The most recent was Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who withdrew his support from the PN coalition and in recent statements has declared that the PN needs to show its majority.

Despite the clamour over the PN’s legitimacy, it shows no inclination to prove its majority in the Dewan Rakyat though it has made a public claim it has “111 MPs” and refuses to resign. A real joke.

Now, the PN coalition has introduced an emergency fake news ordinance and, according to Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan, saying that the PN sought emergency because it lost its majority is fake news! Another joke!

I give up being rational and sensible! Too many jokers around.

Umno in strategic position to change its future course

Umno has officially declared that it will not join the Perihatin Nasional (PN) coalition in the next general elections. That might be a good move on Umno’s part if it reflects grassroots disillusionment with its coalition partner junior party Bersatu which wants to call the shots.

That grassroots disillusionment is a good sign; it shows that Umno’s Malay grassroots have realised that Umno’s majority position in PN will not be to its advantage if it undermines Bersatu’s desire to remain in power.

With Umno out of PN, PN can no longer claim that it is a Malay majority coalition. Any other coalition is now poised to assume the role of a Malay-majority grouping if Umno plays its cards wisely. Umno should be prepared to sacrifice its “court cluster” leaders facing criminal charges in court for the sake of political survival.

If Umno has severed ties with PN from the next general elections, why doesn’t it withdraw from PN now? It should heed its adviser Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s call for its “cluster of ministers” to resign from PN now to uphold its dignity.

Umno MPs in PN may not want to resign for the same reason PN doesn’t want to resign although it can’t prove its majority. These Malay MPs need to be in government to have access to funds to pour into their constituencies to ensure continued support.

Giving funds to MPs is not the issue. But to deprive Opposition MPs or coalition MPs who do not support the PN of such funds is childishly punitive.

But, that’s the PN’s style of leadership. Unable to use theirs skills or (perhaps, lacking in them) and resources at their disposal through negotiations and proper management, they resort to the big stick. If you don’t support PN leader Muhyiddin Yassin, we’ll punish you. If people will not abide by our requests with regard to covid-19, we’ll  seek emergency to force compliance. (They never thought that maybe they should dialogue with stakeholders to get their support or maybe they just don’t have abilities to do that and so threaten them with emergency.) If Umno threatens to pull out of PN, we’ll seek emergency from the Agong. If MPs want to question our legitimacy, we’ll advise the Agong to prorogue Parliament.

We need laws to protect the people from leaders who abuse their position in government for self-serving  interests. Any new government must also consider levelling the playing field for all MPs. Instead of the ruling government determining how much of government funds each MP gets, MPs’ allocations should be determined by Parliament with every MP getting the same amount. The allocation must be disbursed irrespective of which coalition is in government.

This will remove the need to switch parties or stay in government illegitimately in order to get funds to pacify voters so as to win elections.

So, yes, it is obvious why PN won’t resign and neither would Umno’s cluster of ministers in PN, although the latter should if it has any sense of dignity and allegiance and loyalty to the party.

The loss of government funds would only be for a short while if the new government reforms fund allocations to MPs. Hence, it would be advantageous for Umno’s cluster of ministers to resign. It shows they can’t be bought and that might work in their favour in the next general elections.

To make things easier, it might be better for Umno to pull out of PN now, thus, its cluster of ministers will have no choice but to resign. If they don’t, it means they have interests outside of Umno and that’s a big risk they would be taking because it may cost them votes in the next general elections.

If Umno pulls out of PN now, Parliament must be convened to test PN’s majority. If it loses a confidence vote, PN must resign.

That’s a cheaper and constitutionally correct way of testing support for a party or coalition then wielding the big stick of a general election which is very costly and will be disruptive in the aftermath of the pandemic and in which Bersatu stands to lose rather than gain.