Tag Archives: prime minister

A compromise …

Pejuang has declared that if it wins the 15th General Elections (GE15) it wants its chairman, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, as prime minister. The party is riding on the stature and support that Tun is still able to command from the people. The question, however, is if these factors are enough to put Pejuang candidates in Parliament to form the next government.

Tun, no doubt, has considerable support from the people as evidenced in the Johor state elections. Although the party lost in all the constituencies it contested, it garnered 1.8% or 18,000 of the total votes. However, the votes were distributed over the state. There was no evidence in the Johor state elections that there was a significant concentration of support for Pejuang in any one of the constituencies to effectively change the outcome of the results.

In other words, Tun’s support is spread all over the country but not necessarily concentrated in any particular constituency where it can win. So, Pejuang needs to think carefully as to the wisdom of going it alone in the GE15 in the hope it can form the next government on Tun’s support.

On the other hand, if Pejuang joined a coalition, Tun’s widely-distributed support can be significant in giving the edge to the coalition candidate, enabling the coalition to win the election and form the next government. Pejuang’s survival, perhaps, lies in working with the opposition coalition rather than going it alone.

In fact, all the opposition parties stand to lose rather than win if each goes it alone in the GE15. The outcomes of their contests may be no different from the results they obtained in the Malacca and Johor state elections where they were wiped out losing the seats they held and winning only a handful!

The “Big Tent” strategy is the best course of action for all the opposition parties if the overriding priority in GE15 is to prevent Umno from returning to power.

Should Pejuang win a sufficient number of seats while going it alone and then decides to form a coalition with allies with Tun as prime minister, Pakatan Harapan (PH) parties may not oblige. The consequence could be a hung Parliament — again!

Opposition leader and PKR president Anwar Ibrahim has already made it clear in a recent media statement that his grassroots are not open to Tun Dr Mahathir being prime minister again and that it would be difficult for him to convince them to agree with Pejuang’s plan.

PKR grassroots and PH may want Anwar to become the next prime minister although it is unlikely that either he or Tun will assume the post if their parties go it alone in the GE15!

The candidacy for the premiership may become a divisive factor in preventing a formidable alternative opposition coalition from being formed. The solution, perhaps, is for neither to become prime minister.

Let the opposition parties choose a candidate for the premiership that both senior leaders can work with and accept, and all coalition partners back the nomination. This will remove the block to the formation of a strong and viable opposition coalition to challenge Umno/Barisan Nasional.

Such a compromise is needed for the formation of an opposition alliance that has a chance of winning the GE15.


Follow the law, and decide wisely

It would have been a coup de grace if former economic minister Azmin Ali had succeeded in delivering a Malay-majority coalition to the prime minister. But it had one major flaw; the coalition included leaders from Umno — the main Malay-based party — facing corruption charges. The PM put his foot down and did not endorse the coalition, the one thing he has always wanted – a united Malay front to lead the nation. He could not work with Umno en bloc, saying that political expediency could not be justified when it compromised principles.

He then resigned from the government and his party, Bersatu. Bersatu then left the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) which led to PH’s collapse.

Understandably, PH’s supporters are fuming but this is the political reality. Such things will happen in politics. The more important question is how do we deal with it when it happens? All the parties concerned should take a step back to view the situation from a distance in order to gain some clarity and objectivity so that they make the right decisions.

It is imperative that all the MPs and authorities concerned follow the rule of law and act within the ambit of the constitution. When PH collapsed, the first thing that Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said was to take the issue to the Dewan Rakyat. This was concurred with by the Prime Minister when he gave his reason for resigning in his message to the nation on Wednesday saying that the next step was the Dewan Rakyat.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Dato Mohamad Ariff announced today that there will be no special convening of the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (requested by the interim prime minister) until the Agong officially calls for it as according to the constitution. He also said that the special sitting could only be held after the Agong had appointed a prime minister. The king is now planning to invite the political parties to nominate their candidate for PM.

Bersatu has nominated its president Muhyiddin Yassin as PM. Since he is open to working with Umno as a bloc, Umno looks set to be back in government. It will be deja vu and back to the old Umno politics!

This is politics. Hard to get used to it.

(The situation is still fluid. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next.)