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The continuing numbers game

How should MPs behave in Parliament?

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The opposition has a fiduciary duty to demand that the little benefits promised in the Budget, reach the people, K Veeriah writes.

When a disparate bunch of unprincipled politicians elected to cast aside all sense of morality to forge an alliance to seize power (akin to a coup d’etat) from the democratically elected Pakatan Harapan government, they gained the epithet of being a “backdoor government”.

Regardless of the modus operandi, be it the so-called Sheraton manoeuvre or otherwise, the reality seems to be that a motley bunch of conspirators are in the driver’s seat, as exposed in the litmus test in the motion to pass Budget 2021.

Though some quarters may well trumpet the fact that the Budget was only carried through by a razor-thin margin, the indisputable fact remains that the opposition could not garner the numbers to defeat the outrageous and discriminatory Budget.

As concerned citizens, we have been captivated by the proclamation that the opposition leader has secured the numbers to restore the old political status quo prior to the Perikatan National’s backdoor elevation to power. Sadly, the numbers game in Parliament seems to suggest otherwise.

So, is it a case of “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” by the opposition leader? Or is it yet another round of political manoeuvring to dish out false hopes to the people?

Either way, just show tangible evidence of the numbers or move on to synergise the opposition bloc to mount an energetic campaign to oust the morally illegitimate PN government in the next general election. Taking the people on a merry-go-round may well result in a trust deficit in PH.

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What ought to be prioritised by the remaining PH parties is a comprehensive plan of action to challenge the prevailing socioeconomic and race-based policies of the PN government.

The PH coalition needs to lay proof that its programmes are inclusive. It has to labour to capture the trust and imagination of the people and to convince them it is still beholden to its charter, which it used in the run-up to the 2018 general election.

On the ground, trust in PH seems to be damaged, given factors like its covert role in the ousting of the state government in Perak, where some speculated both PKR and the DAP were in cahoots with Umno in the process!

The question that is being asked is, will PH succumb to the temptation to collaborate with the devil for political expediency in the future? If it does, then it would support the notion that there are no permanent friends or enemies among unscrupulous political bedfellows!

While the opposition seems to be as good as a headless chicken, the people are burdened by increased economic pressure: pay cuts, job losses and inadequate social security protection.

Given that PH failed to dislodge Budget 2021, it would be apt for it to monitor the implementation of the less-then-desired budget. The opposition has a fiduciary duty to demand that the little benefits promised in the Budget reach the people.

K Veeriah is a veteran trade unionist based in Bukit Mertajam, Penang

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