FRANCIS PAUL SIAH
COMMENT Although Muhyiddin Yassin has unveiled his backdoor government’s backroom cabinet, one pertinent question lingers.
How long will Muhyiddin and his administration last?
No one knows really. I’m no stargazer, so I wouldn’t have a clue either. Perhaps Mat Bomoh with his special coconuts and magic telescope knows better.
But some things are certain, sure and clear, for better or for worse. This is politics, after all. And as they say, a week is a long time in politics.
Firstly, Muhyiddin became prime minister at a difficult and precarious time for the nation. Malaysia is facing unprecedented economic challenges and the downturn has turned the lives of many upside down. Many businesses were forced to close and the unemployment rate is climbing.
The Covid-19 situation has taken a turn for the worse with no sign of abatement. Thankfully, our Health Ministry and its dedicated staff are working overtime to contain the outbreak.
Muhyiddin can expect tough days ahead.
Secondly, and rather unfortunately for the new prime minister, politicians are still indulging in their favourite past-time – politicking and trying to outdo each other.
We can almost be certain that Pakatan Harapan will not allow Muhyiddin and his Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to have it easy in the weeks ahead.
Top Harapan leaders are now crisscrossing the country on a roadshow. Their objective is obvious.
To Harapan leaders, Muhyiddin and his cohorts have seriously undermined the legally and constitutionally constituted Harapan coalition which won GE14 fair and square. They will not give Muhyiddin and the ex-Harapan rogue MPs a free ride in a hijacked government.
Muhyiddin can expect difficult times ahead indeed.
Add in the prime minister’s own health issues (as it is now no secret that he has been suffering from cancer), and we can only sympathise and be concerned for him. I’m sure all of us wish Muhyiddin well.
I also believe that many Malaysians are prepared to move on and hope that the new prime minister will settle in quickly and get on with his arduous task of governing the nation.
But an equal number of Malaysians are still unhappy and angry that the government they voted for in 2018 has been stolen from them. This group is likely to give PN a tough time and understandably so.
Come May 18, Muyhiddin’s legitimacy will be put to its most severe test in Parliament. Harapan has promised that a vote of no confidence will be tabled against the prime minister.
If Muhyiddin and PN are unable to survive the vote, it is best that we prepare for fresh elections.
Returning Harapan to power is not the best way forward for we now know how fragile the coalition is. Malaysia needs a totally fresh start.
Going for elections seems to be the only acceptable solution too for those who refuse or unable to accept the legitimacy of the PN government. Then, there are also Malaysians who do not wish to see the same quarrelsome, egoistic and untrustworthy Harapan leaders back in power.
It is right to demand fresh polls as only a mandate from the people can give legitimacy and integrity to a government. This is what parliamentary democracy is all about.
Backroom dealings, scheming and plotting by power-crazy and self-serving politicians to seize control of a duly elected government can never be accepted by all who respect the constitution of the land.
Calls for fresh polls have also been bandied about over the past two weeks.
On Feb 26, Dr Mahathir Mohamad had wanted to call for Parliament to meet on March 2 to choose a new prime minister, failing which elections would be held. But his suggestion was rejected.
PAS and Umno had also called for elections after the parties rescinded its earlier support for Mahathir. So too SUPP, a GPS component from Sarawak, at that time.
Civil society groups led by Bersih 2.0 also made a similar call at the height of the Sheraton putsch.
At a time when the government has to tighten its purse strings, having to fork out RM750 million (the Election Commission budget) to hold fresh elections may not be a prudent nor sensible call.
But if it must be held to restore the sanctity of parliamentary democracy and uphold the sacred constitution that brought about this nation 57 years ago, then let it be done.
And I must also add – what is RM750 million in exchange for the sanity of 32 million Malaysians?
FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.