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PH administration may not survive a full term?

  • The PH government is facing a possible eventuality of collapse, and may not last until the end of a full term.

Sin Chew Daily

The Pakatan Harapan power transition agreement drawn up before the 2018 general elections apparently did not take into consideration the issue of human nature.

Many believed that the other three parties were strong enough to tame down PPBM's wild ambitions to ensure that Mahathirism would not be resuscitated by virtue of their much larger combined number of seats.

We were too naive!

If Tun Mahathir were to step down next May, some of the incumbent ministers may have to be struck out in the subsequent cabinet reshuffle. Sure enough the vested interest will not want Mahathir to leave this soon, and will come up with all kinds of plans and designs to keep their existing powers and interests for as long as possible. New Malaysia and PH's reform agenda? Those are not their concern.

After PKR president Anwar Ibrahim made that intriguing remark at the Dewan rakyat recently, the secretaries-general and organising secretaries of the four PH component parties issued their statements on the same evening, warning former Umno vice president Hishammuddin Hussein and his allies against setting up a new government without DAP and Amanah.

That was soon followed by a statement from the PKR supreme council cautioning all parties against the hidden agenda tailored to advance the political interests of certain individuals, saying that such agenda in betrayal of public trust and mandate was obviously born out of fear of being probed and charged in court.

It has been reported that some PH leaders are taking part in Hishammuddin's plot but their objective is not to form a new government but to ensure Mahathir will stay for a full term of five years.

Among the key persons in the “Save Mahathir Operation” are economic affairs minister Azmin Ali, entrepreneurship development minister Mohd Redzuan, and former Umno's MP for Larut Hamzah Zainudin, who has since defected to PPBM.

A report says in exchange for the support for Mahathir's full term, they will be spared their charges, with the only exceptions of Najib and Ahmad Zahid.

It is impossible for the four secretariats to issue such statements without any evidence in hand, and without the green light from the prime minister, who would have the guts to orchestrate such an operation to bring down the PH government?

From what Azmin and Redzuan did in recent weeks, it is not surprising that these two men are indeed involved.

For example, Azmin was present at the Malay Dignity Congress, and Redzuan lately stressed the need for the Malays to be united under a “campaign” in order to lead the country.

Nevertheless, even with the full support of Umno and PAS, the “pro-Mahathir” faction will not be able to secure half of all the 222 parliamentary seats. Moreover, some of the Umno leaders like Najib and Ahmad Zahid may not join in because to them, Mahathir is the one who has crushed Umno's dominance in the country's politics.

Umno has pinned their hopes on the collapse of the PH government so that a snap election could be called, and Umno stands a chance of recapturing Putrajaya and sees their court cases dissolved, with the help of PAS.

Joining the operation to extend Mahathir's tenure now will not do Umno any good. Instead of submitting themselves to Mahathir, why not wait until the general elections and throw out the government in a justifiable way? As such, Hishammuddin's plan may not get the endorsement of most Umno leaders.

Ahmad Zahid has expressed his wish to work closely with PAS. Umno leaders have seen the party's cooperation with PAS as the best bet for the party's resurgence.

The PH government is currently facing onslaughts from both within and without the coalition, its approval rating having plummeted to a pathetic 35%. That said, PH leaders lack a sense of crisis, as they are still engrossed with power and factional struggles while the country's economic outlook remains bleak.

There is hardly any breakthrough for DAP within the coalition. The Jawi standoff remains unresolved; two of its state assemblymen have been nabbed for allegedly supporting LTTE, and the education ministry has instructed schools to reject “Belt and Road” comics published by Asia Comics and Cultural Museum in Penang. All these have made DAP a target of public wrath.

The exchange of fire between the grassroots at DAP and PPBM has highlighted the divergent political philosophies of the two parties. Whenever DAP hits out at education minister Maszlee Malik, PPBM will fight back for sure.

There are problems within each of the PH component parties. PKR's Azmin Ali is leaning towards Tun Mahathir in stopping Anwar from taking over the premiership. It is rumoured that Azmin has the support of 15 PKR MPs. If the party eventually becomes divided, the power transition plan will invariably be defeated.

Meanwhile, DAP leaders have been too arrogant over the UTAR allocation issue. If this is not resolved amicably, the party's support among Chinese voters will be compromised.

As for PPBM, the party's racial card has failed to win it additional Malay votes while non-Malays have lost their faith in the party. If the Tanjung Piai by-election is lost, grassroots voices calling for a review of the coalition's leadership and policies will become inescapable.

The PH government is facing a possible eventuality of collapse, and may not even last until the end of a full term.

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