Focus on winning, not only on who should be PM, says Shafie

It is important to win the hearts of the younger generations as they are more political savvy than before, says Warisan president

by AZREEN HANI/ pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

THE Opposition should prepare for any eventuality and not be engrossed in talks about the prime minister’s (PM) post as the nation’s political landscape is “very unstable” at the moment, said Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (picture).

Mohd Shafie, who has been named as one of the Opposition’s PM candidates, said the recent motion to remove the Parliament Speaker showed that the Perikatan Nasional government is having a tough time in commanding a simple majority to govern the nation.

“You can see from the process that was done on Monday. One can say it is only a small number — it’s not even a simple majority. Out of 222, it’s 111, not 112 (votes),” Mohd Shafie told The Malaysian Reserve yesterday.

“It’s clear that it is a hung Parliament — nobody can claim that they have absolute majority to govern the country,” said the Semporna MP, who is also Sabah’s chief minister.

Mohd Shafie said it is important for the Opposition leaders from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) bloc and the newly independent MPs, namely Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s faction from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, to have clarity and a common goal to govern the nation.

He said the Opposition must be focused on its agenda — not only to take over the government, but also in facing the 15th General Election (GE15).

“If it’s not a snap poll, GE15 is not that far away. It is just around the corner. We must be very focused and not be fighting on who can be the PM. I don’t want to waste my time naming who’s going to be the PM when the election is coming,” he said.

“I believe people are fed up with politicians now. To me — if you ask me — let’s have an election. Why not? We don’t want people to blame politicians like us for having this messy situation,” Mohd Shafie said.

On the likelihood and possibility of PH Plus to work together amid the PM impasse and political differences, the former Umno stalwart said the different parties have proven to be united when it comes to national issues.

“It’s quite solid. We can gather for the interest of the country. And that is quite a sizeable number,” he said.

The PH presidential council in a statement yesterday expressed regret over the removal of Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, saying that the Parliament, as legislative, should be free from any interference.

Separately, ex-Bersatu MPs also questioned the appointment of Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun as the new Speaker without going through the proper procedures.

Describing the removal of Mohamad Ariff as unprecedented, Mohd Shafie, who was the chairman of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, said it is also the first case even among Commonwealth nations.

“It is indeed historical as some of the processes were bulldozed through and not done in accordance with proper procedures.

“If they can do it through the highest institution of Parliament, what else can they do in the lower house, lower instruments or offices?”

While Mohd Shafie feels that having a snap election would be the best solution to return the mandate to the people, he, however, believes it is unlikely for PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to call it anytime soon.

Still, he said, the government may be put through “a very awkward” position if it fails to get the numbers needed during the presentation of the 2021 budget in November.

The 63-year-old leader said what is more important is to determine the Opposition leadership’s next move amid the political and economic challenges. He said it is important to win the hearts of the younger generations, as they are more political savvy than before.

“If you are not careful, we might lose the confidence and support from them. So, we must have a platform to explain to them where we can go, moving onward,” he said.