Our first of many unprecedented scenarios…

Observers caution that there will be more horse trading leading up to the Dewan Rakyat sitting in July on both sides

pic by BERNAMA

ONE of the contenders for the most overused word this year will be: Unprecedented. The coronavirus has thrown all nations into a slew of uncharted health, economic and social crises.

For Malaysia, the change of guard in Putrajaya in March was seen as a double whammy. Subsequently, many “unfathomed” things have happened since then.

For the first time in our nation’s history, the Dewan Rakyat sitting on Monday was limited only to the Royal Address. Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusoff said the changes were made taking the current Covid-19 situation into consideration.

Legal experts have argued on whether the two-hour sitting was constitutional. There were also questions on the perceived delay in tabling or deliberating on matters related to Covid-19 as other nations, such as Singapore, had done it recently.

As all attendees of the Dewan Rakyat on Monday had been health-screened, there should be no issue for lawmakers from all sides of the political divide to discuss various points affecting the nation due to the pandemic.

After all, the King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has called upon the elected representatives to set aside their differences for nation-building, even more so in the time of coronavirus.

The Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition also created history by being the first federal government with a majority of two votes after Sri Aman MP Datuk Masir Kujat clarified that he and his party, Parti Sarawak Bersatu, remain an Opposition in both the state and federal levels.

This razor-thin majority has raised concerns whether this administration will be able to function effectively and even withstand any vote in the august House. Worse, there are six MPs from the coalition who have pending court cases against them. Should the courts’ decisions not favour them, PN is at risk of collapsing.

Former Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong recently said PN realised that any vote is an opportunity to test the majority of the government.

Observers cautioned that there will be more horse trading leading up to the Dewan Rakyat sitting in July on both sides — either to exert position or to wrestle the governance power back.

The power struggle at the federal level had spilled over to other states, with Kedah becoming the latest after Johor and Melaka to observe the change in leadership.

Tan Sri Annuar Musa from Umno had hinted that there could be more to follow suit — and speculations are rife that Negri Sembilan and Sabah could be next on the cards.

The biggest irony from this political power struggle is that — the very people who advised the rakyat to not politicise the Covid-19 pandemic are the ones who are actively politicking, whether they realise it or not.

Perhaps, unprecedented measures are needed during an unprecedented situation…


Azreen Hani is the online news editor of The Malaysian Reserve.