Power struggle persists, but at what cost?

To suffer from the people’s lost confidence would be too costly for this nation and its great institutions


IF THERE is one word to describe Malaysian politics this year, it would be: Circus.

Unfortunately, this is something that most people did not sign up for, and yet, have to face on a daily basis simply because there is an apparent lack of leadership from both sides of the political divide.

For instance, the move from political parties to oust Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu — who is also a part of the ruling party — sparks another round of uncertainty (and unnecessary drama), not only at the state level, but also at the federal stage.

Naturally, people are curious about what is actually happening with the ruling coalition.

The cooperation among Perikatan Nasional and Muafakat Nasional makes it even more confusing as it is obvious that both Umno and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia are having a tug-of-war on who is more dominant than the other — although the prime minister post is filled by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin of Bersatu.

Analysts have not ruled out any surprise political realignment arising from this latest episode, but this writer is not convinced that it will ever take place.

If anything, we have seen how Umno managed “to trick” the Opposition from voting out the budget last month.

This has effectively muted Pakatan Harapan’s war cry on the government’s legitimacy.

To propose for a non-confidence motion at this rate seems like an afterthought, especially when other Independent MPs have put the motion forward as early as June this year.

At this rate, there is no reason for the party to compromise its support by cooperating with an unlikely ally.

Will it work together with the DAP? It is a plausible theory, but very much unlikely to happen in reality.

Umno — or rather some of the top leaders’ intentions — is as clear as the sky. They will not settle for anything less than taking over the administration. And that is something that Bersatu is also aware of.

How they will overcome this is something for us to wait and see. Nonetheless, should the people in the corridors of power need a reminder, this prolonged political episode has inevitably dragged the nation down, too.

Last week, Fitch Ratings Inc downgraded Malaysia’s long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating from A- to BBB+, citing the pandemic and political uncertainty as the main reasons.

There were attempts by some quarters to blame the previous administration over the downgrade, but the agency itself had highlighted the improvements Malaysia made last year.

To refuse the perpetual squabble at the government’s level is akin to sweeping the matters under the carpet. It may work with some, but definitely not with the international investors.

There are a lot of issues ranging from governance and laws that seem to perplex Malaysians and outsiders lately. This should be addressed soon.

Else, to suffer from the people’s lost confidence would be too costly for this nation and its great institutions.

More importantly, we do not want our future generation to suffer from our own rash decisions — or lack of it.

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