Right Choice, Wrong Choice
The PN government failed because it imploded under its own contradictions and was held together only by the greed and ambitions of rivalling factions and former enemies.
It had no platform or purpose besides self-aggrandisement by a composite of all the parties who had lost the last election. Populism and negative propaganda against minorities had generated some public support, however this vast and fractious bunch of ministers all looking out only for themselves proved hopelessly inadequate to the task of tackling Covid.
They were elbowing each other for perks, not worrying about their programmes for office, let alone the growing suffering of those subject to their mismanagement. The prime minister has admitted that he simply had failed to grasp the seriousness of the challenge, given there was so much else competing in his mind, foremost the daily challenge of holding on to power as a minority party leader.
Ismail Sabri, Mahaiddin’s recently elevated deputy from UMNO, has now claimed that with the Bersatu leader now out all the factionalism is resolved and that he has the unanimous support of all those ‘allies’ who had destroyed their own government through in-fighting just last week.
It seems a little hard to believe, since Sabri has been defying his own party leadership to support Mahiaddin for weeks, leapfrogging a batch of his superiors in the process. It is also hard to believe Sabri and his clique because they have been shown to have baldly lied about their numbers over and again in defending Mahiaddin’s defiance of King and Parliament over the past several days and weeks.
But, if you want to believe him he claims he has 115 votes, which surpasses Mahiaddin even at the best of times. Given Ismail’s past tactics he would be as unlikely to deign to call Parliament to prove his point as his former boss.
This Sabri strategy appears to be the same as Mahiaddin’s before, which is to lie about the numbers and then use the patronage and powers of incumbency to fulfil those lies by handing out bribes and blandishments to MPs.
However, this is an approach that has already failed. It merely offers yet another corrupted slate made up of the same people who were already rejected by the electorate. It would be a government that relies for its survival on the votes and support of MPs who are facing criminal charges and others who simply want to fill their pockets.
The nation never voted for such a government of crooks and they have been relieved to see the back of it and hopeful of a fresh approach with fresh faces and energy – a government by those who won the popular vote, not those who lost.
So, the Agong needs to reflect on behalf of the people, knowing that if appointed the former PH elected leadership will easily attract enough support among MPs.
Why buy back the exact same suit you discarded as ill-fitting with just a different label? Will it not pinch and rub like it did before? To keep the ‘new look’ PN afloat Ismail Sabri will have to bribe and appease even more lavishly than his predecessor did before – pardons, perks, privileges the lot.
Indeed, if possible, Ismail Sabri is even less appetising a character than Mahiaddin himself. This is a man who sued for a hundred million ringgit against news media which revealed he had presided over a feast of illegal turtle eggs in Sabah. He says he did not himself consume them.. .because of cholesterol. When asked to explain why he did not denounce the crime he claimed he had no idea the iconic endangered species is protected.
He has admitted pushing for top jobs on ‘independent’ boards on behalf of political allies and it was he who spearheaded the racist assault on commercial businesses owned largely by Chinese Malaysians by favouring rival Low Yat and other malls with subsidies and support (Malays only). It was poor policy besides being unfair – the projects failed, a waste of public money.
And, of course, after the power grab elections took place in Sabah in 2020 (sending Covid rocketing in the state) it was Ismail Sabri who ruled that returning campaigners need not quarantine in West Malaysia. When inevitably cases then also spiked he blamed the public by claiming they failed to practice social distancing. This is not a man the public can have confidence when it comes to judgement and good decisions.
So, is the monarch going to pour the same old spoilt wine into this new skin or be seen to do the right thing by following the democratic will of the people?
The leader of the party which won the last election has yet to be appointed according to the PH mandate put before the people. This despite the fact that Anwar has commanded the larger base of MPs. Given the turmoil and disruption caused by the selfish defections of the ambitious coup-mongers of 2020 Anwar has also conceded that he would head a unity government to take the country through Covid as a main priority at last.
It would be a grave error to prolong two years of mismanagement by rearranging the same pieces of chess rather than starting with a fresh set, particularly on the basis of loud claims by proven liars.