The great gig in the bubble

pic by TMR FILE

NOW that the Opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) seems comfortable huddling up with the kleptocrat-backed Perikatan Nasional (PN), it is probably an opportune time to re-visit some residual yet integral issues that shroud Malaysian politics that can be expected to re-emerge in the next polls, whenever it may be.

For perspective, the fall, or rather the Sheraton Move manoeuvrings that led to the formation of a backdoor government was on the basis of bringing an end to a government deemed anathema to the Malay-Muslim wellbeing.

In other words, the PN coalition was formed to regain Malay-Muslim hold on national political powers which would not be possible for as long as PH continued to rule.

Actually, to be more specific, it was not against PH wholly, but rather “no (Datuk Seri) Anwar (Ibrahim) and no DAP.”

Meaning, other than them, other personalities and components in PH were acceptable.

That makes Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Parti Amanah Negara, PKR (except Anwar), Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Mohamad Sabu, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and the rest in PH were acceptable and welcomed to be part of PN.

In fact, the PN wanted Dr Mahathir to lead and continue to be the prime minister (PM) and when he refused, Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yasin offered himself, only to, later on, secure the ignominy of being the shortest-serving PM.

Today, the “no Anwar, no DAP” slogan seems a faraway narrative from another lifetime in so far as the PN is concerned.

More interestingly is that the PH (now only left with PKR, Amanah and DAP) stalwarts and spin-doctors are working overtime to justify the collaboration with PN — laying their hands on anything that comes in handy.

Widely uttered is the King’s request for politicians and political parties to work towards bringing down the temperature so as to enable the government to focus on combating the Covid-19 pandemic and the economy that is in a tailspin.

Pundits known to be pro-PH went one step higher, proclaiming that the collaboration inked between the PH and PN government had rendered the kleptocrats impotent.

Simply put, if the kleptocrats attempt to do a number on PM Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, as they did on Mahiaddin, the PH’s presence would render the move inconsequential.

With the kleptocrats neutered, at least that’s what the PH pundits are saying, the PM now is effectively propped up by both the kleptocrats and Anwar and the DAP, with Mat Sabu thrown in for good measure.

Of course, the ultimate justification is that it is being done in the interest of the nation. Interestingly though, such thoughts were missing when Anwar had convinced the PH that his numbers were formidable.

Anwar’s failure to prove his numbers for the umpteenth time had embarrassed and raised the ire of his supporters, and voices asking for a new candidate as the Opposition leader were growing louder.

The new arrangement with the PN government should mute these voices, at least temporarily, and Anwar will not be hard-pressed to prove of having the numbers that he never had.

As for the DAP, it has quite a fair bit to gain by being part of the collaboration.

It should neutralise somewhat the chauvinist label it received from the PN and Umno, now that it has been accepted into their big Malaysian Family.

Never mind that it is effectively working with a government and PM that secured their majority with the numbers provided by the kleptocrats. And never mind too being associated with PAS which it had once labelled as Taliban.

After all, as much as DAP becomes less chauvinist when it was associated with Pas during the Pakatan Rakyat heydays, PAS may shed some of its extreme images in return, now, as it had then.

Everyone is a winner and what’s more, it is done in the name of the people.

The fact that oil and water cannot mix and sooner than later the differences that concern matters of principle would re-emerge seems the least of their concerns. Indeed, they’ll cross that bridge when they come to it.

Ironically, Dr Mahathir, the man some from PKR and DAP accused of having a hand in the Sheraton Move is outside and is adamant of staying outside for as long as the kleptocrats are inside.

His only stated interest in the PN government centres on the National Recovery Council.

Unfortunately, the council is now helmed by Mahiaddin, appointed with ministerial status, though widely touted as the PM of the failed government and responsible for the escalation of the Covid-19 cases from his myopic and out of focus leadership that led to the economic devastation.

In retrospect, the current Opposition and government collaboration is actually not much different than the Unity Government proposed by Dr Mahathir before the PN took over from PH.

It would have still been led by a government elected by the people, that heralded bipartisanship, with the kleptocrats having no say, let alone the ability to bring down a sitting PM, and maintain a people’s centric government without many racial or religious undertones.

In fact, it would have been filled with technocrats and experts and that would have been ideal when facing the unprecedented effects caused by the pandemic. But it was shot down by these very politicians now huddling together in the corridors of power. Of course, it can be argued better late than never.

It is two years late and the deaths, pains and sufferings of the people during this period are unprecedented. And surely, none would want this blood on their hands. Eventually, with self-serving machinations in place, all will be forgotten.

What a pathetic gig and yet, the nation will be none the wiser.

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.