Malaysian politics in no man’s land – may be time for a new “Save Malaysia” coalition federal government comprising MPs from both sides of the political divide who defend constitutionalism and rule of law
Suddenly, Malaysian politics on both sides of the political divide seems to be in no man’s land.
The Barisan Nasional coalition Federal Government, which is in Putrajaya on a minority 47% of the popular vote in the 13th General Elections in May 2013, continues to be rudderless.
The government has lost its sense of direction, with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s major initiatives, whether 1Malaysia Policy, the New Economic Model, National Transformation Programme or the Global Movement of Moderates, discredited and all in tatters.
But Najib had personified a paradox of a Malaysian Prime Minister – one of the weakest Prime Ministers in Malaysia but a strong UMNO President.
As a result, the host of problems dogging and haunting Najib, whether the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal; the nine-year-old Altantunya Shaariibuu murder which has returned to haunt Malaysian politics with Sirul at large in Australia ; the fourth-incarceration and five -year jailing of Anwar Ibrahim which has made Malaysia again an international “bad boy”; the embarrssing controversy over Tun Razak’s “inheritance” which has seen public differences between the Prime Minister and his four brothers, as well as former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir joining the ranks of those who want Najib to step down as Prime Minister, have seemed like water over a duck’s back.
But Najib’s woes have worsened in recent weeks, with the escalation of the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, new financial scandals like the RM29 billion Pembinaan PFI Sdn Bhd scandal, the new jet for the Prime Minister, the lavish spending on the wedding of Najib’s daughter and the latest, the warning by former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam that UMNO could “self-destruct” if Najib continued with his political games with PAS as to support the private member’s bill moved by the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang on hudud implementation.
The situation for Najib was getting so dire that for the first time in Barisan Nasional history, the other 13 component parties have to stage a “We’re with you all the way” although the effect of support from President of political parties like MCA, Gerakan, MIC and PPP is no different from “zero plus zero equals zero”.
But this shows the growing desperation of Najib even inside UMNO with growing undercurrents for his replacement.
On the opposite side of the political divide, Pakatan Rakyat is in the deepest trouble in the seven year PR history, and nobody can say whether there will be a Pakatan Rakyat in the next few days.
This came about because of the success of the latest plot of the UMNO “UG” (Unity Government between UMNO and PAS) conspiracy in the past year and the decision of the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, to give priority to his “Afterlife Vision”, using it as a justification to commit multiple violations of the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework and the decisions of the Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council.
I just cannot understand how Hadi could use the Joint Statement of Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council of Sept. 28, 2011 on hudud (which was crafted after three hours of meeting at the PAS Headquarters and the DAP delegation included the then DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh) to justify PAS violations of the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework, as the PR Leadership Joint Statement of 28th Sept. 2011 “agreed to disagree” on hudud law as we acknowledged that the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Enactment 1993 and the Terengganu Syariah Criminal Enactment 2003 were passed before the formation of Pakatan Rakyat.
However, we also took the clear position that while it was unreasonable to require PAS to abandon the agenda, the three PR component parties would give priority to the PR Common Policy Framework and that all policies involving PR and their implementation must have the agreement of all three parties.
The PR Leadership Joint Statement of Sept. 28 did not empower Hadi to unilaterally violate the PR Common Policy Framework, especially as the PR Leadership Council at its meeting of Feb. 8, 2015 (which Hadi attended), agreed that any private member’s bill on hudud implementation in Parliament would first be presented to the PR Leadership Council, which Hadid never did.
Hadi knew the import of the PR Leadership Council Joint Statement on hudud on Sept. 28, 2011 which explained his speech in Hulu Terengganu in May 2012 as well as in various parts of the country before the 13th General Elections where he said that hudud was not a PAS and PR priority as it could only be implemented if adequate conditions were met.
By unilaterally presenting the private member’s bill on hudud implementation in utter disregard of the PR Leadership Council decision of Feb. 8 that any private member’s bill on the matter should first be presented to the PR Leadership Council, and as an immediate follow-up to another violation of PR Common Policy Framework when the new Kelantan Syariah Criminal Enactment was moved by Kelantan PAS and passed by the Kelantan State Assembly, PR does not seems to exist anymore in the eyes of the PAS President.
What then of the future, not only of Pakatan Rakyat, but also of the country with the latest developments?
Will UMNO’s 88 MPs support Hadi’s private member’s bill on implementation of PAS hudud enactment in Kelantan?
MCA and Gerakan Presidents had been saying that the Cabinet at its meeting last Friday had expressed its opposition to Hadi’s private member’s bill – in fact there were claims that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak would be making an announcement of UMNO and Barisan Nasional’s opposition of PAS hudud enactment on Friday itself.
Friday and Saturday have come and gone by without any announcement by Najib. There is also nothing by Najib today.
In contrast, we have the Bernama report yesterday quoting the UMNO National Vice President and Rural and Regional Development Minister, Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal as saying that at the Cabinet meeting on Friday, the UMNO Ministers have agreed with the support given by UMNO State Assemblymen in Kelantan.
This is what Musa Hitam had warned against, that UMNO could “self-destruct” as he said: “As a former Umno leader, I strongly believe in my heart that since its establishment until today, Umno’s stance too has been that hudud is not suitable for a multi-religious, multi-racial country like Malaysia.”
Students of constitutional law know that even if the Kelantan PAS state government’s hudud enactment gets pass with two private member’s bills in Parliament with a simple majority, its implementation will be unconstitutional and it could be challenged in the courts of law as contravening Article 8 of the Federal Constitution on “Equality before the law”.
But in such a new political scenario where Najib announces UMNO support for the PAS’s hudud enactment, may be the time has come for a new “Save Malaysia” coalition comprising MPs from both insides of the political divide as well as both sides of the South China Sea, Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, to defend constitutionalism and rule of law with a new Prime Minister and a new Malaysian Government.
The new Prime Minister can come from either side of the political divide who wants to Save Malaysia and defend the Federal Constitution and the rule of law.
Let me stress that this is not a DAP stand and solely my personal views.