One and one and one is three

pic by BERNAMA

IT IS probably time for the nation to reassess its grasp of arithmetic, or at least on two fundamental operations, adding and subtracting.

That is if — forget about being able to equal — we ever want to at least have some inkling of the mathematical genius that some of the nation’s leaders possess.

Only then, probably, would the citizenry be able to understand how Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yasin (picture) says he still has a majority when Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said otherwise.

After all, they together formed the Perikatan Nasional government and without the other, it is impossible for a majority to be attained.

From the sidelines, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim too had been claiming to have a formidable majority, which by conventional equation is impossible for as long as Mahiaddin claims that he still has the numbers.

Since one or the other must be lying, Mahiaddin’s preparedness to settle the issue in Parliament should unravel this mathematical mystery. However, another mystery has emerged in that he is only ready to do battle next month.

By any logic, given how hotly disputed his legitimacy is, Mahiaddin should have taken the next available bus to go to Parliament to prove his worth and put an end to all the vitriol questioning his legitimacy.

In fact, his decision to have the confidence vote in Parliament next month is already 18 months too late, but given Mahiaddin’s mathematical prowess, one month or 18 months are probably relative when it comes to what is considered soon or immediate.

Nevertheless, waiting for a month to prove he has the numbers gives rise to suspicion that surreptitiously sneaky deals are afoot and that includes making frogs, which is forbidden for Muslim consumption, become exotic and palatable in the political way that is.

The Opposition would, in the meantime, shout themselves hoarse and get their knickers twisted as Mahiaddin ignores demands for his resignation.

Actually, if the Pakatan Harapan (PH) supporters can be a bit honest, they would realise that Mahiaddin is acting based on their playbook.

When Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned after he believed he had lost his majority, the PH supporters condemned him and said he should have stayed on.

They questioned him for not consulting his partners when he chose to resign and that is exactly what Mahiaddin had done — whenever faced with situations of losing his majority, he consulted all of his partners and in the latest episode, these consultations went on throughout the night into the wee hours.

And emerging from these meetings, Mahiaddin dug his heels deeper and insisted that his maths is the correct rule in determining who has the majority.

Another bone of contention among PH supporters with Dr Mahathir following his resignation was that he did not pass the baton to Anwar.

They contended that that had always been the convention with Barisan Nasional (BN) when the coalition reigned supreme.

Again, the resignation or death of a BN PM in the past was without any controversy as to the majority the coalition commands. It had always had a clear majority and its coalition partners had never disputed its convention of the baton being passed down to the deputy PM (DPM).

When Dr Mahathir resigned, Anwar was neither the DPM nor did the PH have a clear majority, which was the very reason why Dr Mahathir resigned.

Just in case Opposition supporters forget, at that time Dr Mahathir had lost his party to the Sheraton Move while Anwar lost a quarter of his.

And prior to the Sheraton Move, some of Anwar’s PKR MPs and supporters, as well as some from the DAP, were very vocal in demanding for Dr Mahathir’s resignation.

Therefore, it is quite a surprise that today, these supporters continue to vilify Dr Mahathir for resigning when instead they should be rejoicing.

Opposition supporters who today demand Mahiaddin to go to Parliament and face a vote of no confidence or get one of confidence, should realise that it was very much what Dr Mahathir proposed to the King, of allowing the Parliament to determine who should be the PM.

Instead, it was the statutory declarations (SDs) that ruled the day and since then, Mahiaddin’s legitimacy had always been in dispute very much so when the maths concerning the SDs did not add up.

Last week, Mahiaddin got a Royal rebuke and coupled with Umno’s withdrawal of support, by any standards, should be enough for him to resign.

He refused and bought time until Parliament is convened next month for the vote of confidence. By and large, his detractors believed that he and his supporters would be on a shopping spree for party hoppers.

While Opposition supporters judge him, declaring him immoral, they again forgot that their leaders, Anwar in particular, were not averse to similar stunts in 2008, in fact an advocate of it.

They cannot keep on shifting the goalpost. Similarly, when Dr Mahathir proposed the unity government after discovering how much the political divide cuts right through the middle, leaving both sides of almost equal numbers.

Such a political situation would have only led to instability. But it was roundly rejected by his partners from PH and the then Opposition.

Recently, Ong Kian Ming, DAP MP for Bangi, in Parliament had urged for a ceasefire and impart the spirit of bipartisanship in which the government and Opposition work together in a collaboration dubbed the Covid Moratorium Agreement so as to be able to focus on battling the pandemic and reviving the economy.

Call it whatever, it is in essence a unity, bi-partisan government. And Ong made an interesting observation that it is an open secret that Mahiaddin does not have the majority, but neither does any other MP have a majority.

Coming from the DAP, it should finally sink into the skulls of the Opposition supporters that realpolitik defies their obtuse morals and demands.

But because of that, Mahiaddin and his self-serving apparatchiks continue to rule and engross themselves in politics and without any sense of urgency in addressing the nation’s woes.

It is, after all, two sides of the same coin.

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.