Excitement is in the air!?
It must be felt palpably throughout Umno-Barisan Nasional, especially with a photo-op of the Big Five of Umno together. Prime Minister and Umno vice-president, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Umno president Zahid Hamidi, deputy president Mohamad Hasan and vice-presidents Mahdzir Khalid and Khaled Nordin all looked relaxed, beaming at the camera.
Khaled said the discussions had gone well and there was consensus among the five leaders on the party’s approach for the days ahead.
For the rest of the country – not so much! The people have more pressing needs to think about, to find solutions for, rather than being taken in for a ride by this tired game being played out by Umno-BN.
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So has the prime minister caved in to the demands of his four Umno colleagues and the many others in the party, and is a date for the general election now in the offing?
Some political parties do not feel this is the right time to hold an election because of the imminent monsoons.
Some say Umno-BN wants to have the polls as soon as possible because the party lacks support from Malay voters.
Pas is also mulling over the dissolution of the state legislatures in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.
So everybody is waiting with bated breath for the announcement of The Date.
While the waiting game goes on, Parliament is sitting for 32 days from Monday, 3 October. The first reading of Budget 2023 starts today, 5 October, and the second reading is due on 7 October.
Indications are the Budget will focus on the family and be ‘people-centred’. It will probably focus on job creation, public healthcare, sustainable development and post-Covid recovery. It will aim at helping people to benefit from how the country develops.
But the uncertainty now is that if Parliament is dissolved before the Budget is approved, what happens? According to some legal minds, the Budget would be void if Parliament is dissolved, and all the goodies meant to benefit the people and the country would then amount to nothing. We would have to wait for a new government.
But if Umno-BN wins the general election, it would be the same people – albeit probably with a new prime minister – tabling another Budget, irrespective if it is the same one or an entirely new one. This would mean more delays in passing the Budget.
So, it is the people who would be the victims of this political tussle!
When the country has a new, albeit tarnished government, a new Parliament has to be sworn in, and another debate and voting process would have to take place before the MPs approve the new Budget.
Thus, dissolving Parliament should not be taken lightly nor used recklessly by ruling party leaders just to satisfy their own greed in wanting to remain in power at whatever cost.
If the present government does this just when the Budget is due to be proposed, discussed and dissected before approval, it would be showing its utter disregard and disrespect for the same people the Budget is supposedly aimed at helping.
Umno-BN and all political parties should also remember that we, whom you disregard now, are the very people whom you will be talking to or ‘begging’ to listen to your parties when you begin your political campaigning. You will ask us to believe in you, that you are the right people for the job in governing the country and you will do right by us.
Should we – based on what you, the politicians, are doing to us and to the country – vote you back into office? That is the million-ringgit question. So, remember this well!
In the meantime, the people and the country are suffering from the economic backlash of the post-Covid period.
With the monsoons nearly upon us, people living in low-lying or flood-prone areas will be more worried about floods than the general election.
Again, it is the ordinary people who will have to bear the consequences of the actions or inaction of an irresponsible government.
So would the King be amenable to the dissolution of Parliament, given all these scenarios? We are all aware that trust in our politicians is in short supply.
So we hope the King and those advising him will take cognisance of whether a snap general election at this stage would be in the best interest of the people of Malaysia – or for the benefit of a single party.
We, the people of Malaysia, deserve better. The people must take precedence. That is our ‘right’, and it is the politicians and political parties who must work harder to regain the people’s trust, which has been lost over the years.
It is important that a general election is held with voters in a better frame of mind to figure out who or which party to vote for so that the people get the better part of the deal.
jem, an Aliran reader, still cares deeply about Sabah, despite having lived in the peninsula for some time