Corporate Malaysia to get respite from GE15

Only a hung Parliament may be a joy killer for the people and corporations, alike

THE government in power today has been paralysed by so much noise and uncertainty that it has failed to deliver. Remember the 2021 floods and the lack of response? That is reason enough to go to the polls and allow the people to decide who will govern next.

But what about the impending monsoon season, you may ask. Yes, what about it? If not floods, it would be something else. Why prolong the angst?

On the corporate front, unpredictability is devastating. As their regional peers plan ahead, our companies are crippled by that very political noise and uncertainty. They are unable to lay out long-term

plans. They fear undertaking major investment decisions. And they see opportunities slip away.

“Elections? The sooner, the better. It’s always good to have some permanency. It has been lacking for the last four years,” said a corporate leader, days before the Parliament was finally dissolved on Oct 10, to pave the way for the 15th General Election (GE15).

As I mingled among a bunch of CEOs and corporate heads, I kept hearing the same message.

“We don’t plan a one-year horizon. We need some permanence in regulation, politics,” said another CEO. “We had nothing of that sort after PH (Pakatan Harapan) collapsed.”

Now, that takes us back to February 2020. The PH government — underpinned by PKR, DAP, Parti Amanah Negara and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad — fell after 22 months in power. Along with it went the dreams of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of becoming prime minister. It also sent packing DAP ministers, the likes of Lim Guan Eng, Gobind Singh Deo and Hannah Yeoh Tseow Suan.

As everyone gears up for the upcoming polls — the dates of which have yet to be announced — the main Opposition front led by Anwar is far from shaky, but not cohesive either. From the outset, we see that they have yet to dot the i’s and cross the t’s for their game plan. Though disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, they still had the luxury of time to plan.

But they failed. One glaring omission is the lack of a shadow Cabinet. They had committees to shadow the ministers, but it stopped short of an actual shadow Cabinet.

Why didn’t PH have a full, proper, shadow Cabinet? That would have shown to the people

that this coalition is serious and ready to make a comeback. Alas, a missed opportunity.

Is this a sign of weakness in leadership? It does not speak well for Anwar. That’s for sure.

While I’m not big on hanging hopes on individuals, Mohd Rafizi Ramli’s comeback into active politics may help PH turn the tide.

After announcing his return in March, the former PKR MP eventually won the party’s deputy presidency and placed himself firmly in the party machinery.

He seems to have the uncanny ability to mobilise people. Perhaps, that’s the kind of help PH needs at this juncture — mobilising members and supporters on the ground. Again, the fact that they’ve not been actively doing it may haunt them post-election.

PH remains far from firing on all cylinders, allowing Barisan Nasional (BN) to come across as a strong contender. I suppose PH didn’t want to peak too early in their GE15 campaign.

They may have been caught flat footed. They will have no one else to blame but themselves.

Ask yourself this question: Why would your political opponent hand you an advantage on a silver platter?

Now, rain or shine, onto the elections. Only a hung Parliament may be a joy killer for the people and corporations, alike.

Habhajan Singh is the corporate editor of The Malaysian Reserve.

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition