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Malaysia’s political turnaround: Some hard questions

The sooner we get some straight answers, the better it would be for the entire nation

Flashback to the Sheraton Move

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With a new government about to be formed following the appointment of Ismail Sabri Yaakob as Prime Minister, social media space is rife with unsettling questions.

Here are some of the hard questions being asked. The sooner we get some straight answers, the better it would be for the entire nation.

When Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the then-interim Prime Minister who was expected to pass the baton to Anwar Ibrahim, suddenly resigned last year, why was his deputy not appointed the prime minister? Instead, the entire cabinet was dumped along with the forced collapse of the democratically elected Pakatan Harapan government.

When Mahiaddin Yasin resigned, his cabinet too had to resign, freeing the country from the grip of a backdoor government, which was never given any electoral mandate to rule. But how did Mahiaddin’s deputy end up as his successor? Will Ismail Sabri’s cabinet now comprise all those who had also served in Mahiaddin’s unelected government?

It appears that, even though the Constitution guarantees the power of the electoral mandate, some MPs could disregard the parties on whose platforms they were elected to defect to another camp, nullifying democratic principles. With such a practice being condoned, what guarantee is there that a vote of confidence in Parliament to endorse or negate an incoming prime minister cannot be massaged to serve private agendas?

We proclaim the Federal Constitution as the cornerstone of our nationhood. If the outcome of any general election can be derailed and power can be wrested so easily through plots, what guarantee is there such trust-defeating episodes will not be repeated? Is this good for the country in the long term?

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It appears – or at least, that seems to be the impression – that there is a pressing urgency that Umno must be returned to power by any means to form a government. Why? What are the reasons and justifications as these are unknown to many ordinary people?

If it has to be so – as it appears to be perceived so with the installation of the new prime minister – should it not be through the next general election so that people can be convinced that Umno is the best government for them?

Even if we have to accept the impression that a general election cannot be held now because of the pandemic, owing to the failure to vaccinate the people in good speed, with hindsight, could we not have escaped this political quagmire that has undermined the nation? If only we had pressured Mahathir to gracefully hand over the baton to his deputy following his admission that he would not go along with the Sheraton Move to unseat a democratically elected and legitimate government?

With so many unanswered questions, who can guarantee us that the nation’s immediate future will not be pawned away during time of a pandemic, economic disasters and social distress?

With broken national trust, will the incoming prime minister be the knight in armour to lift us out of this rotten political rut and lead us to recovery, healing and happiness? Or shall we conveniently keep blaming the people for not giving their support while preaching sermons of unity to them?

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If we can get some clear and honest to these questions that many people are asking, we could sooner light the lamp of hope for Malaysia.

But looking at the various world news reports about Malaysia’s predicament, it will take a charismatic, magnetic leader to instil some hope and get the people to turn things around.

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