pic by BERNAMA
THE air is heavy with anticipation of several possible events — an impending snap election, an amalgamation of Umno and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, the resignation of the prime minister (PM) followed by an audience for a new PM candidate before the King and a new mentri besar for Johor or a snap state election — among others.
While discussions on these subjects can be conducted and debated separately, they are all intertwined and all lead to one fateful day — when the King announced that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was the new PM. The event enjoyed some semblance of calm and much of the tranquillity was also a Covid-19 incidental.
Even though it has been less than three months, it is now clear that the present loose ruling coalition, styled as Perikatan Nasional (PN), is fragile and under constant threat of being unable to prove that its PM Muhyiddin does enjoy the majority support in Parliament.
Detractors point out that Muhyiddin did not even have the majority at the material time when he presented himself as the PM candidate, a point Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders had stated repeatedly. Since then, much water and distribution of spoils of war have flowed under the bridge, prompting many to believe that Muhyiddin had managed to overcome his shortage.
And yet today, the issue of him not having the numbers has reemerged and is circulating, prompting speculation that he would be the shortest-serving PM of all time.
But that is not as straightforward as it seems, whereby those who think that all those on the other end of the spectrum only need to get an audience with the King, present their credentials and wait for the palace to announce the new PM as it was with Muhyiddin three months ago.
Herein lies the twist to the whole issue, which was best captioned by Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in a picture he uploaded on his social media account when visited by his predecessor Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.
Ahmad Zahid teased his audience: “We’re ready for the 15th General Election (GE15). Are you ready to be with us?”
This started a new round of debates with quite a number viewing Ahmad Zahid’s posting as him conceding that the current government is about to fall and that a snap election is inevitable.
Questions were, however, raised as to why the need to call for an election if the King is satisfied with a new candidate commanding the majority. After all, the King had set the precedent and it was supposed to be accepted by all, even by those who contested the veracity of the numbers presented.
Enter Najib, who argued that an election should be held as PH, which is contending to return to power, would only be commanding a slim majority and susceptible to fall as in the case of the current PN government.
Superficially, it sounds like a valid argument, but it only seems to apply when it is his opponent that has a slim majority. However, when PN took over the government with a slim majority, such wisdom did not prevail and if it did, it was definitely very muted.
Another point that seemed to be missed by the advocates of a snap election is the fact that the nation has yet to get out of the Covid-19 pandemic like the rest of the world.
The King had, in his royal address during the May 18 parliamentary sitting, urged MPs to reduce politicking and focus on facing the pandemic and the economic downturn that comes with it.
At that time, the PN government rode on the King’s wisdom and framed it as being directed at PH, which was still adamant that it had the numbers and wanted to prove their case via a vote no confidence on the PM.
Yet, when the numbers had truly abandoned PN, instead of being prepared to give up the government gracefully, they are pushing for a general election.
Surely, a nationwide poll will expose the nation to the possibilities of a new nationwide Covid-19 cluster that would unravel all the efforts to contain the pandemic thus far.
Further to that, if there’s any political alliance that deserves to be returned to power it would be PH as it won the people’s mandate in GE14.
If PN, which Muhyiddin had conceded, was not the government that was voted in by the people, surely, when PH has the numbers, all those with the power to effect it would be scrambling to assist the rightful party to return home to the roost.
That is poetic justice.
Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.