Tag Archives: unity government

There’s a silver lining …

… to those who were sacked or suspended by Umno last Friday! The Umno supreme council sacked 44 party members and suspended four. They included big names such as former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Selangor Umno chairman Tan Sri Noh Omar who were sacked and Sembrong Member of Parliament Hishammuddin Hussein who was suspended.

There were other key people too among them such as the former Johor state assemblyman Datuk Maulizan Bujang, former Jempol MP Datuk Seri Mohd Salim Sharif, and former Umno information chief Shahril Sufian Hamdan.

According to Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan, they were sacked or suspended for ‘becoming independent candidates, candidates for parties other than Barisan Nasional (BN), and being involved in assisting opponent parties during the 15th general election (GE15).”

Their party may have punished them for whatever reason and it may be a bitter pill to swallow but consider the options because the choices these 48 make may well change the course of Malaysian politics in the very near future!

Those sacked will now have to decide whether to continue in politics or join a new party or form a party. They have one very positive factor in their favour; they no longer carry the corruption and arrogance baggage associated with their former party. And that may work to their advantage!

Those who have been suspended may choose to sit out their six-year suspension period or choose to leave the party. If they want to start all over again without the Umno baggage, the latter is a suitable exit strategy! Since only Hishammuddin is an MP in the purged group, the departure of the rest will not trigger the application of the Anti-hopping law.

Should Hishammudin decide to leave Umno, the Sembrong MP will trigger a by-election which may be a safe test to gauge his support and/or lack of support for Umno. If he is sure of his grassroots support he can either stand as an independent or join another party. He may lose but with the current mood against Umno and the Umno-Pakatan Harapan (PH) tie-up, it’s a risk that could pay off.

The point is that with the purge an opportunity has now opened up to form a new coalition without the Umno and Umno-PH baggage. So, these 48 politicians now in limbo need to think through the options clearly and shop around to form the best possible alternative to the current status quo.

Firstly, they need to size up the current political climate correctly. In doing so, the 48 need to keep in mind three key points.

1. Don’t let the desire to become prime minister be the overriding factor. If it does, the 48 will willingly make compromises to assume and stay in power and agree to the formation of backdoor governments, and lose their credibility in the process. The Perikatan Nasional (PN), Umno-led, and now the so-called PH-led unity governments of Muhyiddin Yassin, Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Anwar Ibrahim respectively are proof of it.

All three administrations were established with the help of the king without the mandate of the people, even if at that time, the unity government was the choiceless alternative to keep radically Islamic PAS as the single party which won the most number of seats out of government.

2. Determine to do everything within the leeway the federal constitution provides and according to the norms and conventions of parliamentary democracy. It is the MPs who must fight to ensure the sovereignty of the government and that can only happen if they alone form a government without being indebted to anyone outside of Parliament.

There will be attempts to interfere by external forces such as the constitutional monarch and rulers, businesses and/or a superpower like the United States. This will happen only if MPs let them. If MPs stand firm on the constitution and refuse to let any external force influence the outcome of a general election, and make no compromises, there will be no interference, and the government will be indebted to no one except the people.

MPs must find their conviction in defending the rights of the people — not that of power brokers. When they find that conviction they would be in a strong position to fight on behalf of the people and the sincerity and strength of their conviction will make it easier to sell their position to other parties and to negotiate around. The end result will be a sovereign government respected by the people and other nations.

If the 48 form or join a party or coalition and become MPs or assemblypersons and a few of them are nominated to become a menteri besar (chief minister) or prime minister without making any constitutional compromise, he/she achieves the position in the proper way and will be respected.

3. With the above two factors in mind, either form a new party or join an existing one. But there are some parties that must not be courted. PN, PH and PAS.

Join PN if the intention is to advance PAS’ Islamic state. PN’s lead partner, Bersatu, is bent on keeping PAS in tow to get the numbers and all other parties recognizing the multi-cultural characteristics of Malaysian society will eschew both parties.

PH must not be courted as long as it embraces the court-cluster-led Umno. Some of the 48 may want to join PH partner Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) as its philosophy may be closer to their beliefs. They should think before they leap.

PH won only 11% of the Malay vote and how much of that went to PKR is yet to be known. In other words, PKR probably won seats on a combination of urban non-Malay or mostly Chinese, and Malay votes.

Right now there are rumblings on the ground as to whether the voters made a mistake in voting for an Anwar-led PH as a result of the latter’s decision to include Umno MPs facing court charges for corruption, in the Cabinet, the constitutional basis for forming the unity government and accommodation of the rulers in government matters.

The 48 should stand for election either as independents or as candidates of a party in the state elections to test voter support. It would be better if they formed a new party or joined an existing party like Warisan or Pejuang to see if voter disgruntlement will be expressed for an alternative Malay-based party/coalition. The small parties can join together to form a new Malay-based coalition.

In GE15, Pejuang tested the voters through Gerakan Tanah Air but failed miserably. But the current sentiments on the ground are different. There is disquiet over the lack of firmness to deal with corruption while reforms take a back seat. The risk is that the 48 may lose but they would have tried and, in reality, they lose nothing.

Should the coalition of small parties make headway in the state elections, the momentum may begin for a repeat in a general election. It may pull parties not altogether happy to be associated with the court-cluster-led Umno and its accommodating partner PH, out of the unity government in a general election and a new, baggage-free axis of Malay-based power inclusive of parties representing other communities may emerge that is democratic, constitutional, representative of the people and confident because it has the mandate of the people.

To the 48, think of what you can do to change Malaysia’s political landscape, perhaps, forever. Think and act for the good of the country. In the cloud of gloom you may be in, there IS a silver lining.


A way out for Bersatu

Surely, Prihatin Nasional (PN) head Muhyiddin Yassin must be considering options for the survival of his party. If PN continues in government, Muhyiddin faces the prospects of losing the support of his voter base due to public frustration and loss of confidence in his leadership in the face of the steeply rising daily active covid 19 cases and death count.

He may be tempted to resign which he mustn’t do now. If he resigns, his Cabinet resigns with him but the coalition doesn’t and coalition partners Umno and PAS — which still maintain their Muafakat Nasional pact — may decide to work out a deal and with royal approval take over the government as PN did when it wrested power from the elected Pakatan Harapan (PH) rightful government. And, they will claim it is constitutional as Muhyiddin did. A political upheaval during these trying times should be avoided at all cost.

To prevent Umno from seizing power, there’s only one option left for Muhyiddin: Reconvene Parliament and face a no-confidence vote. If he wins it, he earns the right to lead the government. If he loses, it means the coalition — not just the Bersatu-led Cabinet — falls and it paves the way for the formation of a unity government, which will allow for a reset to start all over again on the right footing on constitutional grounds in the Dewan Rakyat. Political stability is maintained.

In other words, the current conflict between Bersatu and Umno and the issue of the legitimacy of the PN will be resolved in Parliament once and for all. The reset will take politics back to alignment with the federal constitution with the MPs deciding on the prime minister of the unity government who will form the unity Cabinet.

A unity government will not overnight bring down the covid 19 active cases and death figures nor bring about immediate economic recovery. But it will have ministers with skills, abilities and some experience to lay a strong groundwork for the quickest turnaround.

This is an issue that needs to be addressed urgently and immediately and Muhyiddin should not drag his feet in allowing for an alternative — even if it only has a slim chance to better manage the covid 19 crisis and economic recovery — to happen, because lives will be saved.

If he chooses to remain in government, waiting for the rise in covid 19 cases to peak and then fall, the damage would be done. The voters will not forget their loss and grief. It would also be clear to them that his motive is for personal gain rather than the good of the people. Muhyiddin’s and Bersatu’s political future would be at risk.

If — for the good of the nation — Muhyiddin reconvenes Parliament, faces a no-confidence vote, and even if he loses the premiership, Bersatu stands a chance to remain a viable party.

Because the covid 19 crisis is heading for a state when the public health system collapses, it is imperative that Muhyiddin seizes the opportunity Parliament offers for an alternative government to better manage the pandemic and the economy.

I believe a unity government formed in the Dewan Rakyat will succeed and benefit the people. Muhyiddin can make it happen — if he reconvenes Parliament.

I hope he does. He’ll save his party and the country.

Be accountable to the people and reconvene Parliament

Pasir Salak MP (Umno) Tajuddin Abdul Rahman was sacked as Prasarana Malaysia Bhd chairman following a morning press conference after a collision involving two LRT trains on the night of May 24 in which more than 200 were injured, some of them critically. At the press conference, he flippantly referred to the accident as “two trains kissing”. He was fired immediately.

Ultimately, it is the government of the day which is responsible for the heads of government-linked companies (GLCs) and in this case, to most peoples’ relief, the Prihatin Nasional (PN) coalition in government acted swiftly and decisively. Questions, however, remain as to whether the finance minister acted according to the constitution.

Those are similar questions we ask about the legitimacy of the PN leadership in the seat of government. The way PN seized power, introduced emergency and suspended Parliament and the state assemblies, demand close scrutiny as to whether they followed the spirit and intent of the federal constitution. Constitutional “irregularities” are greater offences than an uncouth village idiot’s crass insensitivity and callous indifference to human suffering. Yet, the PN remains in the government seat while Tajuddin has been booted out.

No doubt, held accountable, the government acted to dismiss an errant appointment. But who is the PN leadership accountable to? The king? Apparently no, because the king has stated he has no issue with calling for Parliament but PN head Muhyiddin Yassin has refused to comply. Accountable to the people? Apparently no, because at a press conference last week on the sickeningly rising daily numbers of covid-19 cases and deaths, he simply said on national TV, “Call me stupid PM, but ….. ” and in effect left it to the people to handle the pandemic on their own!

Muhyiddin appeared as if threw up his hands in despair in the face of a health disaster and left it to the people to fend for themselves. Isn’t that an abdication of responsibility? Coming from a caring coalition?

Apparently Muhyiddin is accountable to no one, not even to the constitution. Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad described it aptly when he said that Muhyiddin “was above the federal constitution and all laws”!

Muhyiddin’s inconsistencies — intentional or otherwise — are greater in significance than petty Tajuddin’s thoughtlessness. Yet he continues to remain in government with impunity.

Today’s covid-19 cases crossed the 8,000 mark and registered 8,290 after three days in the 7,000 range. Today’s death tally was 61. The reason for the steeply rising covid-19 figures is largely due to the poor management of the pandemic and Muhyiddin has to assume responsibility for it. If the pandemic was well managed, the figures wouldn’t be rising so quickly and steeply. Look at Singapore’s well-managed pandemic. It recorded 26 new cases yesterday and the total deaths are only 32.

The people who are suffering most are mostly in the rural and semi-rural areas, which is the support base of PN MPs. Vaccination is picking up in the urban areas but vaccine hesitancy is a major issue in the rural areas. Kedah and Kelantan recorded 10,000 who missed their vaccination appointments.

The health, economic and political prospects look so bleak that a PN MP (Umno) Deputy Speaker Azalina Othman has called for a unity government to take over. It’s a very good idea but the issue of the prime minister would still be a problem.

A better idea would be to reconvene Parliament where the unity government can be discussed and agreed upon constitutionally. A unity government would allow for the entire country to be mobilized to fight the covid-19 pandemic.

Muhyiddin needs to realise that opposition parties have a diversity of resources and when summoned for the collective good will yield favourable results. PN’s MCA, MIC, PBS and STAR do not have the majority support of their respective communities. They only have one MP in each party. But, DAP, PKR, Warisan, Amanah and Pejuang have majority support in their constituencies and will be able to wield influence to move the grassroots and economic communities to win support for the vaccination programme and arrest the pandemic.

A unity government will be able to move the masses even under a full-force lockdown, which has been announced today from June 1 to 14.

If Muhyiddin refuses to get the help of Parliament, he will be held responsible for the current trajectory we are on. If an election is held in the future it would be political suicide for him and Bersatu.

If “as prime minister”, he truly cares for this country, he should reconvene Parliament and the state assemblies and facilitate the formation of a unity government in the Dewan Rakyat in order to save the country.