As the nation sank into slumber, Umno declared it is abandoning its partnership with Prime Minister Mahiaddin Yasin’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) ruling coalition.
PN had seized power undemocratically in early 2020.
This latest chapter in the ongoing political turbulence saw Umno coming up with a six-point ultimatum:
- Mahiaddin must resign as PM
- Umno would not support PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim to become the next prime minister
- The DAP would not be courted to be part of the administration
- An interim PM should appointed and tasked with tackling the pandemic and its devastating effects on the people’s lives and livelihoods
- The goal is to attain herd immunity
- And to prepare the nation for a general election.
Umno’s stand received overwhelming support from its supreme council members. It now remains to be seen how the ultimatum will roll out in the days ahead.
How will Mahiaddin respond, now that Umno has finally pulled the rug from under the feet PN?
Will Ismail Sabri, an Umno supreme council member, be the shortest serving deputy prime minister in Malaysia, after Mahiaddin had appointed him only hours earlier? Or will Ismail Sabri grip harder to his newfound glory?
What will Anwar Ibrahim do now since the rumour of a potential Umno – PKR/Pakatan Harapan marriage of convenience doesn’t appear possible for now? Likewise, how will the DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and his son Guan Eng respond, now that Umno has slammed the door to any cooperation with PH?
Even though Mahiaddin is still in power for now, speculation will intensify over who will the interim prime minister until the next general election. Surely it has to be a candidate who has the power, potential and charisma to rein in all ministries and the huge civil service to battle the pandemic, the battered economy and the social agonies plaguing the people.
The situation calls for some unpopular decision-making if we are ever going to arrest the pandemic so that the ‘mother of all general elections’ can be held.
Indeed, these are very trying times for the nation. Surely the 72 political appointees enjoying newfound benefits of power and position and the many others basking in the wealth and glory of appointments in government-linked companies have much to worry about.
We should be wary of the emergence of any opportunist politicians who might seize the moment to set up a ‘national operations council’ that would undermine our parliamentary democracy.
Amid all the economic and financial pain, we could either see a rise in fear and uncertainty – or Umno’s latest move could pave the way for some hope for the people in the months to come.
In the meantime, ordinary people will hold their breath having already suffered so much since the ‘Sheraton Move’ and the emergence of Covid.
Pray that our beloved nation is reborn as soon as possible.