Azam-gate may lead to 15th General Election to be held after the Chinese New Year - and not just Johore state general election
There is much speculation as to whether Johore state general election will be held after the Chinese New Year.
The possibility of a Johore state general election being held after the Chinese New Year cannot be ruled out as it is an open secret that after the Malacca and Sarawak state general elections, UMNO leaders are pressing for the 15th General Election to be held as early as possible and a Johore state general election will be a form of pressure by the UMNO leaders on Prime Minister Ismail Sabri to dissolve Parliament as soon as possible to hold the 15th General Election.
However, political events in Malaysia are developing very fast, and from the happenings today, the pressures on Ismail Sabri for early 15th General Election are mounting and the possibility of the 15th General Election, and not just Johore state general election, being held after the Chinese New Year cannot be ruled out.
There were many developments today over the serious conflict-of-interest allegations against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner, Azam Baki.
Firstly, the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Wong Kah Woh rightly challenged the position of the Speaker, Azahar Azizan Harun that the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) on Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department cannot be open to the public and the media under the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders except on one point.
Then the MP for Teluk Intan, Nga Kor Ming, submitted an emergency motion to Parliament to debate Azam-gate.
But most shockingly was the latest news of the postponement of the Wednesday meeting of the PSCC on Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department on Azamgate, because Azam Baki objected to the PSCC meeting as he had filed a defamation suit which might be considered by the courts and that he was already investigated by the Securities Commission and the MACC Complaints Committee.
These developments seem to have led to a parliamentary paralysis on the Azam-gate issue.
Such a parliamentary paralysis will be another example of the long list of impotence of Ismail Sabri since he became the ninth Prime Minister of Malaysia five months ago – such as the inability to return to pre-Emergency days before January 11, 2021 in the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent “once-in-a-century” floods disasters in Malaysia;
The Azam-gate will weaken Ismail Sabri’s already weak position as Prime Minister considerably and intensify the pressures from the UMNO leaders for the 15th General Election to be held immediately.
Parliament is to meet on Thursday (January 20) in a Special Session on the floods disaster. It will be a great shame and gross negligence if there is Parliamentary paralysis on the Azam-gate and Parliament cannot debate the issue.
I have suggested three ways out of the quandary to avoid a parliamentary paralysis on Azam-gate:
Firstly, the Speaker should seek the consent of Parliament at the Special Parliament on January 20 for all Parliamentary Select Committees to hold their meetings in public and in the presence of the media; to show that Parliament is not a secret conclave but represents open, accountable and transparent governance in the highest legislative council in the land;
Secondly, armed with the authority to hold public meetings in the presence of the media the PSCC on Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department should meet urgently, preferably by Monday on 24th January 2022 for Azam Baki to clear himself of the conflict-of-interest allegations; and
Thirdly, hold a Special Session of Parliament on Thursday 27th January 2022 to decide on the Report of the PSCC on Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department on the Azam-gate issue.
The ball is now in Ismail Sabri’s court – will there be a parliamentary paralysis under him as Prime Minister?