Of boomerangs and karma


SOME may choose to wait with bated breath; others are advised not to hold it while waiting for the change of prime minister (PM) in case their face may turn blue, for it may be an extended interlude.

Nevertheless, the issue of whether Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin still commands the majority support in Parliament or that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (picture) has finally secured the numbers to be declared as the 9th PM continues to capture the imagination of many.

But as many are inclined to wonder, how did Malaysia that is known for its political stability for decades since its independence end up with so many uncertainties, speculations and conjectures, as it does today.

For those without much ability to comprehend the workings, one simplistic opinion that had been popularised is that all the woes began when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad decided to resign as the PM on Feb 24 earlier this year.

To them, Dr Mahathir’s unexpected announcement had thrown the political system into disarray and led to the present quandary. And to add to their case is Dr Mahathir’s refusal to stay on despite being asked to withdraw his resignation by the King himself.

And these critics held on to their contentions despite Dr Mahathir’s repeated attempts to explain that he had resigned because he had lost the support of his party and the majority, and if he had stayed on, it would have been on the mandate of the palace and not the people.

Following Anwar’s declaration just over a week ago that he had the numbers, which is translated as having the majority support from the MPs, demand for Muhyiddin to step down and make way had begun in earnest.

There is an ironic twist to this particular episode if these voices demanding Muhyiddin’s resignation could be a tad honest for once and stop thinking purely along political lines.

When Dr Mahathir resigned because he believed that he had lost the majority, they questioned him for resigning. They vilified him for not acceding to request from the palace not to step down.

Today, Muhyiddin is exactly doing what they had asked Dr Mahathir to do — not to step down (despite telltale signs showing that he had lost the majority) and since the King had not asked Muhyiddin to relinquish the Prime Ministership, it is then not too presumptuous to accept that the palace is comfortable with Muhyiddin to continue in that capacity.

With Muhyiddin digging his heels in, the voices of dissent, most likely the same ones that had been criticising Dr Mahathir for stepping down, are demanding that Muhyiddin do the honourable thing — resign as he does not command the majority support anymore.

And as far as these voices are concerned, Muhyiddin should not hide behind the goodwill of the palace to hold on to what is no more his to keep.

If their current logic is the standard expected of honourable leaders, then Dr Mahathir did the honourable thing — resigning when he felt that he had lost the majority and not to depend on the palace to hold on to power.

There is another aspect of Dr Mahathir’s resignation that was conveniently ignored, especially by Anwar’s supporters who are bent on blaming the former for the latter’s inability to realise his ambition.

Indeed, Dr Mahathir’s departure from the coveted office was triggered by the act of his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Muhyiddin and those who threw their lot behind him.

But the divided Bersatu that left Pakatan Harapan (PH) was probably not sufficient to deny Dr Mahathir the majority. It was only made possible by the support of nearly a dozen MPs from Anwar’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) led by Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

While they are now hell-bent in decrying Azmin as the traitor, everyone seems to again conveniently forget how Azmin ended up as one.

Immediately after Anwar was pardoned, apart from moving in to take over PKR’s presidency from his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, he started plotting the downfall of Azmin and then publicly throwing his support behind Rafizi Ramli in the race for the party’s deputy presidency.

Alas, despite all the might mustered by Anwar et al, Azmin held on to the position and, in fact, won handsomely and convincingly.

What followed though, no one would outrightly accuse Anwar of masterminding the move and he had himself denied any involvement — opinions from Azmin’s side leaned on the surreptitious involvement of Anwar’s boys in the distribution of the infamous sex tapes allegedly involving Azmin.

The two episodes — the open rejection in the party election and the sex tapes — are enough to goad even the most saintly to extreme anger and hatred, evoking the need for vengeance.

While what Azmin did cannot justify his betrayal, Anwar and his boys should shoulder some of the blame for acts that provoke such retaliation.

And that retaliation is what completed the Sheraton Move. It ensured that Muhyiddin’s Bersatu and Azmin’s faction have the necessary numbers to deny PH of its majority and sufficient numbers to go to the table and negotiate their way into the backdoor government, resulting in a combination of karma and “reaping what you sow”.

Affirming, divinity is not to be mocked.

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.