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3:37pm 25/11/2022
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Give unity a chance
By:Mohsin Abdullah

Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan, former journalist and close friend of former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, best remembers Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for two, should I say, “incidents.”

One, “for starting the movement to depose Tun Abdullah Badawi in 2008” after BN lost its two-thirds majority in the general election held that year. And two, for Muhyiddin’s “key role” in the Sheraton Move in 2020.

Both incidents are well documented in the history annals of our country. Hence I will not go into details.

Writing an opinion piece published by the Malay Mail on Thursday 24 November 2022 (the day Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as Malaysia’s 10th Prime Minister), Kalimullah or Kali as friends calls him, still remembered Abdullah or Pak Lah, who liked Muhyiddin, telling him, “I never expected Muhyiddin to do this. I am crushed.”

Kalimullah went on to say some months later that Muhyiddin asked to see him. At the meeting held at Muhyiddin’s house, Kalimullah told Muhyiddin what Pak Lah had said.

And I told Muhyiddin when you hurt my friend you also hurt me .”

Said Kalimullah, AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes who had arranged the meeting was in the room when the conversation took place.

Muhyiddin, said Kalimullah, will now have to ponder on his actions as he watches all the people whom he once turned his back on come back into government.

But it’s not time to gloat nor seek retribution,” said Kalimullah.

Indeed. it’s time for reconciliation. We now have what is known as a unity government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and comprising Pakatan Harapan, Barisan Nasional and Gabungan Parti Sarawak or GPS.

Call it marriage of convenience, or an alliance for political expediency. Of course it is about politics, or should it be political survival?

It will be naïve to think otherwise. But the thing is we have a government in place. It can only be good for the country.

GE15 which was supposed to give us a stable government did not do that. What we had instead were days of uncertainty and a hung Parliament, something we have never experienced before.

The country needs healing. The unity government is there to help it heal.

Anwar says his is a stable government. I would say so too, seeing the parties who were enemies before GE15 now sitting in the same administration.

I am not about to question the sincerity of the parties involved, or to suspect sinister moves. Who am I to do so?

As said earlier, it could very well be for political purposes but we are taking steps forward in trying to achieve something good for the country.

DAP’s Anthony Loke went all the way to Kuching to offer his party’s apology to the government and people of Sarawak for any statement made by DAP leaders which had offended them.

After Loke’s open apology, DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng also posted on Facebook his apology for “my remarks that may have offended the Sarawak premier and the Sarawak state government.”

Of course, there are allegations that the apology came to persuade GPS to support Anwar’s bid to be prime minster and Pakatan Harapan’s effort to be the ruling coalition. But to say this is an an insult to Harapan, DAP and even GPS itself, not to mention Anwar!

It is a fact that GPS stated that it would leave the question of who would be prime minister to the wisdom of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. And this was before DAP conveyed their apology. In short, GPS’ support came before Loke and Lim apologized.

Several Sarawak leaders feel this gesture will go a long way to mend strained relationship which has dragged on for years.

Sarawak premier and GPS chairman Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg has accepted the apology “with an open heart,” and it warms our hearts to see this. Never mind the politics.

Anwar is now saying he is not ruling out the possibility of other parties joining his unity government. Which brings us to Perikatan Nasional.

When the Yang di-Pertuan Agong proposed that PN and Harapan work together in forming a government, PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin turned it down.

Muhyiddin himself admitted he rejected the Agong’s proposal because PN had vowed not to cooperate with Harapan.

But days later, PN secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin issued a statement saying the PN supreme council now agreed to consider the Agong’s proposal.

Has agreed “to consider” the Agong’s proposal? And even that it was announced at a time when the Agong and the Malay Rulers were in conference discussing the appointment of prime minister. Is this a PN about turn?

But at the same time, Muhyiddin held his press conference disputing support obtained by Anwar. And when the media asked about the unity government, Muhyiddin pointed to the Istana Negara statement which he said merely stated Anwar’s appointment but not the unity government.

Yes, the statement did not specifically mention “kerajaan perpaduan,” but it said the Agong stressed on the importance for reconciliation and “for winners not winning all and losers not losing all.”

I say it’s as clear as it gets. Surely Muhyiddin does not expect the Agong to spell it out?

So what now? Are we to expect another round of “scheme of things”?

The country needs healing. The unity government is there to help it heal.

In the words of Kalimullah: “Malaysia cannot afford another four years of uncertainty and dismal governance. We need to move on. May God bless Malaysia and its long-suffering people”.

I say ameen.

(Mohsin Abdullah is a veteran journalist and now a freelancer who writes about this, that and everything else.)

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Mohsin Abdullah
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Muhyiddin Yassin
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