It looks as if (outgoing?) Prime Minister Mahiaddin Yasin is fast running out of options as the rug is pulled from under his feet.
His only option to remain in power would be as a minority government with a supply and confidence agreement with Pakatan Harapan parties. But perhaps too much water has flowed under the bridge for that to happen.
That leaves Anwar Ibrahim and the Pakatan Harapan parties, though still without a simple majority. Can they form a minority government while stitching a deal with other parties? As leader of the coalition with the largest number of MPs, Anwar is best placed to cobble a pact with the other parties, even if it is just a confidence and supply agreement, rather than a formal coalition. That said, many reformist Malaysians do not want any kind of deal with the ‘court cluster’.
More importantly, we have not heard much about what kind of policies those angling to take over from Perikatan Nasional have in mind for the people – in healthcare, education, housing, food security? There are so many public interest issues affecting the people’s quality of life, and the numbers are grim.
Will the opposition parties put the public interest first and come up with policies that put the people first? What is their stand on all those controversial mega-projects? Why the silence on this?
If there is a silver lining behind this mess, it is this: the Sheraton Move has belatedly taught those behind Perikatan Nasional some devastating lessons:
- What goes around, comes around. You reap what you sow. Treachery and betrayal breeds suspicion and begets more treachery and betrayal
- A backdoor government lacks moral legitimacy from the word go. With such a poor start, it was always going to be an uphill struggle to win the confidence of the people. It was always going to be downhill for the merry band in power
- A bloated cabinet and political appointments to government-linked companies to entice MPs to defect – even if they were not qualified for the job – will ultimately be counterproductive: it will cost the people dearly and the resulting erosion of public support will lead to the downfall of the government
- An exclusive government based on race and religion can never thrive. How can it win popular support if it largely excludes ‘the other’ – ie capable leaders from the minorities in the country – whose support and confidence are also necessary?
- Emergency rule will not save a government with dwindling public support. If anything, it will worsen its poor performance through the removal of essential checks and balances (made possible by the principle of the separation of powers), leading to further erosion in public confidence and support
- The time for chauvinistic race-based and religious-based parties is over. It is about time we join the ranks of developed nations and organise parties based on policies instead
Woe are Mahiaddin and his colleagues for they are undone. Too late have they learned these lessons.
Sadly, the people have paid a colossal price for the betrayal of our parliamentary democracy and the suspension of Parliament.
May this never happen again!