Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The easy - and ideal - solution to who should be Anwar Ibrahim’s deputies

One DPM from Sabah, One DPM from Sarawak

Mont Kiara, 29 Nov: I read with great interest NST’s speculation on who Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim will likely name as his two deputies. Umno Deputy President Mohanad Hassan seems to be NST’s favourite. (Read HERE

Not mine. 

If I were Saudara Anwar, I’d appoint one DPM from Sabah and one DPM from Sarawak. 

This would make my Unity Government all-inclusive. This will put this nation back on track as envisioned by our forefathers in the Malaysia Agreement 1963. This may also set a template for future Cabinets. For example, if one day we have a Sarawakian as PM, one DPM will be from Semenanjung and the other DPM from Sabah.  

Mohamad Hassan, or Tok Mat Hassan as he is fondly called, was a corporate man before joining the big-time politics. He’s got the making of a finance minister. 

My good friend Rais Husin, the researcher and a senior member of the Bersatu party until just before the GE, has been promoting Rafizi Ramli, Anwar’s No 2 in PKR, as MOF. But I disagree. Rafizi had a hard time even explaining his actual worth after declaring his assets just before the general election. He is also quite vengeful (read HERE) and I’d avoid any trait that might lead to a repeat of 2018 when the MOF was said to have gone on a witch-hunt. In my opinion, the Education portfolio would be ideal for Rafizi. It is a very important portfolio in case you think it’s “beneath” Rafizi. Our future depends on the kind of education policies the Anwar administration dishes out. 

Johari Ghani, the former MOF 2 under the Najib Razak administration, is also a favourite for MOF position. I agree but - and it’s one big BUT - he will forever be bogged down by his (guilty by) association with the 1MDB scandal when he was the second MOF. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Why the King will pick Anwar Ibrahim as PM10

Nov 23: The 16th Yang DiPertuan Agong has probably seen more political drama than all his predecessors combined. Since assuming the throne in Jan 2019, Sultan Abdullah has witnessed the very short and rocky reigns of three Prime Ministers: PM7 Dr Mahathir Mohamad, PM8 Muhyiddin Yassin, and PM9 Ismail Sabri. He has had to deal with all kinds of antics from them, too, some outrightly disrespectful.

Tomorrow, after consulting his brother Rulers, the YDPA will be naming the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia, a task that has fallen squarely on his shoulders after none of the coalitions that contested Saturday’s general election could garner a simple majority to form the federal government.

PM10 will be the fourth PM on Sultan Abdullah’s watch!

As I see it, the King has been left with no choice but to appoint Anwar Ibrahim as PM. 

Here’s why:

As of yesterday, the King had a choice: Anwar or Muhyiddin. But then Muhyiddin had to tell the world that he had rejected the King’s advice that PH and PN set aside their differences and form a unity government for the sake of the nation. I had expected this from Muhyiddin and said so in my tweet as soon as Mat Hassan, the Umno Deputy President, floated the idea in the media.

PH + PN to form govt is wishful thinking. Won’t happen. Unless Muhyiddin is willing to be one of Anwar’s DPMs. Plus, BN will make a weak Opposition. Good try, Tok Mat.

Muhyiddin’s outburst has been described as rude, arrogant and disrespectful of the Agong. I honestly don’t think the King will - or can - bail out Muhyiddin this time around. He has bailed out Muhyiddin too many times in the past. Read Does a government that disrespect the Agong deserves the respect of the Rakyat? (Three times the King bailed out Muhyiddin) 

To try and bail out Muhyiddin again this time will really be risking the wrath of the people.
In the unlikely event that ALL the MPs from Barisan Nasional, Warisan, GRS and GPS interviewed by the King were to tell him that they do not support Anwar to be the next PM, the fact remains that Anwar’s coalition Pakatan Harapan has the most number of seats in Parliament in the general election. The Agong knows this and knows very well that he can appoint Anwar as PM of a minority government.

But I did say “in the unlikely event …”... 

Chances are some, perhaps a good sum, of those MPs have told the King why Anwar, not Muhyiddin, has their support as the next PM. Which will make the task for Sultan Abdullah a little easier.

In the King we trust.

Read also:

Monday, November 21, 2022

22 Nov 2022, 2 pm

21 Nov, 2 pm: The King has granted Zahid Hamidi 24 hours to decide if the coalition he leads, Barisan Nasional (winner of 30 seats in the GE15), is going with Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Harapan (82 seats) or Perikatan Nasional (73 seats) to form a government that will rule for the next 5 years. 

If Zahid goes for PH, they will have just enough seats - 112 in total - to rule. On the other hand, Zahid + PN = 103 seats, which means they’ll need GRS and Sabah’s GPS to make up the number to form a government.

Either way, both PH and PN need Zahid to form a government. Suddenly, Malaysia needs this most-maligned man of the most-maligned party to move on. Zahid is facing multiple charges for money laundering, mismanagement, etc. All politically-motivated, of course, he’s maintained that from the start. Me, thinking like a PAS leader, seeing how close the so-called Islamist party is to taking over this country, I’d say that maybe this is the Almighty’s way of punishing us for not even adhering to the most basic legal doctrine.

Innocent until proven guilty, right? 

In my previous postings, I have laid out two things Anwar Ibrahim must NOT do IF he does become Prime Minister of Malaysia. 

The first is don’t go on a witch-hunt. Read HERE

The second is not to give Lim Guan Eng, the DAP  chairman, any Cabinet post. He was made Minister of Finance hy Tun Dr Mahathir Mohanad in 2018. He has had his chance and I think he failed miserably. You may disagree.

Now, the third thing Anwar must NOT do if he becomes PM is, if I may, to include Zahid in the Cabinet. In fact, Zahid should not be given any role in the new goverment until he has cleared himself of all the charges he’s facing in court. In the event that the courts find him guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, Zahid will have to face the music. Rule of law. 

Until then, he’s the legitimate leader of a coalition that now happens to be key to the formation of our next government. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Respect the mandate


Pakatan Harapan          82 seats

Parikatan Nasional       73 seats

Barisan Nasional          30 seats

GPS                              22 seats

GRS                               6 seats

Warisan                          3 seats

*Two seats to be contested at a later date due to candidates’ demise 

Malaysia, Nov 20: While we slept, yes while the nation slept, Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyddin Yasin told the nation that his coalition, which had garnered the second largest number of seats in the GE15, had secured “a letter with instructiions” from the Palace to form a new government.

I don’t know about you but I felt that this was not right. The image of the Yang Dipertuan Agong despatching such a letter in the dead of night to Muhyddin (or Mahiaddin) and not Anwar Ibrahim, whose coalition had won the largest number of seats at the election, just doesn’t sit well.

But that was what Muhyiddin @ Mahiaddin claimed to have happened. Around midday, the former PM posted a tweet about a meeting he had just had with the leaders of two other coalitions, GPS and GRS, purportedly to discuss the formation of a government.

In the meantime, Anwar, the only one who can claim that his coalition has more than one-third of the Dewan Rakyat (PH won 82 of the 220 seats contested, which works out to 36.9 per cent; PH won 73 or 33.1 per cent) has not gotten any “letter with instructions” from the YDP Agong. 

How come?

Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution provides that the YDPA shall first appoint a PM who is a Dewan Rakyat member who in his judgement is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Dewan. Read The Prime Minister’s appointment after GE15.

No one coalition managed to cross the 112-seat threshold to form a simple majority in Parliament and that’s why we are having an impasse now, where no one party or coalition has enough numbers to form the next government. 

But common sense, and perhaps even fair play, dictates that the leader of the coalition that won the most number of seats - and that would be Anwar not Muhyddin - would be the most likely to command the support of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat. The King ought to give him the first shot, no?

So why did Muhyddin jump the gun? I had no answer to this chap sitting across my table during breakfast at McD here in Ampang.

“I slept at 4am, sir. What time did our Agong give this Muhyiddin the haha letter?”

The Palace will have to respond sooner or later to this developing crisis. Don’t let gilakuasa politicians take the nation for a ride again. Listen to the people’s wishes. Respect the voters and their choice. Respect the mandate.

We the people are waiting, watching. So much have been stolen from us lately. Will one more mandate robbed even matter? 

Or would it be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back?

Friday, November 18, 2022

What Anwar Ibrahim must NOT do if he becomes PM

Nov 18: We’ve all almost forgotten the so-called Council of Eminent Persons, created by Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2018, supposedly to advise a Cabinet lacking the experience in governing a nation. 

The Council was supposed to expire in 100 days, help the Pakatan Harapan coalition which had defeated BN in the GE14 fulfill its manifesto promises, and after which Dr M himself would hand over the premiership to Anwar Ibrahim. None of the above happened.

Dr M appointed his most trusted, Daim Zainuddin, as head of the CEP. Billionaire Robert Kuok, Zeti the former Bank Negara governor, KS Jomo the economist, and former Petronas chief Hassan Merican were the other eminent persons. Their reign saw a spate of resignations of top government and corporate leaders, including in government-linked companies, many suspected of being close to the previous government led by BN.

While the CEP is not responsible for every departure, they have been linked to the resignation of several top leaders including the governor of the Central Bank, the Chief Justice, and the President of the Court of Appeals. In the case of the latter two, the CEP had summoned them to a meeting where council member, Daim effectively sought their resignation. … Speculation was also rife – as was reported by Singapore’s Straits Times – that the council requested the top management of Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia’s strategic investment arm to resign. Days later, the board members of the entity handed their undated resignation letters en bloc.

There was so much fear, uncertainty and doubt among the civil servants, investors, and the general public as a result of the CEP's "shadowy" modus operandi . Cronies liked the CEP for the opportunities that suddenly came their way but sone of us started to liken the Council's reign to the Spanish Inquisition, where thousands were executed and hundreds of thousands prosecuted during the 15th century to maintain Catholic orthodoxy. 

A rather excessive comparison, of course, but you get the idea of the kind of witch-hunting and politics of fear and personal vendetta that took place in 2018. We neither needed nor deserved that, and certainly not a repeat after tomorrow.

If his people's prayers are finally answered and Anwar becomes PM after the results are known tomorrow night, I hope the Saudara will honor his words and pursue reconciliation with all parties so that the nation can finally focus on doing everything necessary to get back to its feet. No mindless witch-hunt and vendetta, let the young take over and the old retire gracefully, and don't even think of staying as PM for two terms, let alone twenty-two years.

Selamat Mengundi Semua!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Enough of politics of fear and vendetta

Rafizi says will punish MACC chief after GE15

Kuala Lumpur, 17 Nov: This is the problem with politicians like Rafizi Ramli: you cross him a bit and -he's all hell-knows-no-fury-like-a-woman/man/bapok-scorned and threatens to punish you once he comes to power. 

His threat to go after MACC chief Azam Baki after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption-Agency once Pakatan Harapan wins the GE15 this Saturday smacks of the same kind of politics - of fear and vendetta - that Malaysians witnessed and subsequently rejected after the last general election. 

It is also arrogant, brattish. 

So the MACC raided Invoke's office. So what? Two days before nomination day, the MACC said Umno president and Barisan Nasional chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would be brought in for questioning over the RM9 billion littoral combat ship affair. Azam was accused of interfering with the elections. Read Why bring up Zahid and LCS now?: Waytha 

So, the MACC should stop investigating graft just because the general election is around the corner, is it?

Rafizi says the MACC and Azam are political tools for "hidden hands". Well, I think the one time when MACC was really made a political tool of the government was when Latifah Koya, who was Rafizi's comrade then, was made MACC chief by PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 

I hope there will not be a repeat of that once Pakatan Harapan wins the polls.

Nobody loves the MACC but it has a job to do. Azam Baki was part of the MACC team that was responsible for helping bring down the Najib Razak administration over the 1MDB affair. Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed, who was Azam's immediate boss then, had stuck his neck and paid the ultimate price (Abu Kassim suggested charging Najib with SRC-related crimes in 2015). 

Monday, November 14, 2022

With KJ as Umno’s next poster boy, wither Tok Mat Hassan?

KL, 14 Nov: When things were falling apart for Umno after 2018, party insiders started touting the likeable deputy president Tok Mat Hassan as its future  president and, by extension, a potential Prime Minister of Malaysia. 

Such talk has become less audible these days. Tok Mat’s move to contest in the parliamentary seat of Rembau in the GE15 was met with, at best, a lukewarm reception at natuional level. On the contrary, Khairy Jamaluddin, the 3-term Rembau MP who grudginly made way for Tok Mat’s parliamentary ambition, is now being bandied about as Umno’s next “poster boy” after Ismail Sabri. KJ is contesting the Sg Buloh parliament, a seat won by Pakatan Harapan in the last election.

Wither Tok Mat Hassan?

It may be too soon to tell. Umno’s infighting in the run-up to this Friday’s polls is unprecedented. KJ’s bold admission that he wants to be PM is causing a lot of anxiety among supporters of the bigwigs and warlords in Umno. Political rivals are rubbing their hands in glee: Hamzah Zainuddin of Bersatu warned KJ that Uno will cut him into pieces after his I-want-to-be-PM declaration. KJ’s “good friend” Rafizi Ramli from Pakatan Harapan has predicted a bloody death (politically, that is) for the 46-yer old as a result of his outburst. Kerana mulut badan binasa, or so says the Malay adage.

But KJ shouldn’t care. Caretaker PM Ismail Sabri has given his blessings to KJ. “He’s qualified (to be PM),” the Bera MP, a Vice President in the party, said. Ismail is going to be in Sg Buloh to help with KJ’s campaiging. If Umno wins the election and rule once again, he has promised to make KJ a “senior minister”. 

Ismail has not made the same kind of promise to Tok Mat, even though Tok Mat is more senior in the party than KJ or even he himself. 

Wither Tok Mat?

It does not help that Rafizi Ramli’s Invoke has got to say this about Tok Mat’s parliamentary dream: Rembau is NOT safe

If Rafizi is proven right and Tok Mat fails to defend the Rembau seat that KJ had held since 2008, it should be the end of the road for him, for sure. The only consoloation is that it has happened before. In 2013, Melaka chief minister Ali Rustam decided to pursue his dream of becoming a Cabinet Minister, only to lose to Shamsul Iskandar of PKR in one of the biggest upsets ever. Read Chinese didn’t appreciate me.

Ali Rustam, when asked about his political future after the crushing defeat, said, “Time will tell”. Well, time has told.

Tak dapek den nolong doh, Tok Mat.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Anwar Ibrahim a tool of DAP, really?

Damansara, 13 Nov: In his quest to become Prime Minister for the second time in 2018, Dr Mahathir Mohamad had to bring himself to do two things many had thought impossible and unthinkable: the first was to embrace Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the former DPM he had incarcertated and accused of sodomy 20 years earlier; and the second to eat humble pie and kow-tow to the DAP, the party that he had for decades labelled as an anti-Malay spectre so that Umno and he would continue to get the god-fearing Malay-Muslims votes, especially in the kampungs

Dr Mahathir even went public to say that I now realise DAP is not chauvinist at all. When he became PM, he made Lim Guan Eng the Finance Minister and turned his charms full on to become the love of the lives of the likes of Hannah Yeoh and Tony Pua. There was no happy ending to that short-lived fairy tale, as we all know, and the DAP is back in Pakatan Harapan, solidly behind Anwar Ibrahim once more. Dr Mahathir, for his trouble, has now lost all rights to trample on the DAP although he still takes pot-shots at Anwar as the country prepares to go to the polls this Friday.

Today, howevert, Dr Mahathir’s former party Umno, his own Pejuang and Bersatu, the party that got the nonagenarian his ticket to premiership it the last GE, are still playing the same old rhetoric that DAP is an anti-Malay, Chinese chauvinist party. And that a vote for Anwar is a vote for DAP.

In its editorial yesterday, Harakah Daily, the organ of the so-called Islamist party PAS, openly called DAP a Chinese chauvinist party that is anti-Malay and anti-Islam. PAS is accusing Anwar for being a tool of the DAP. Read Alat DAP: Untuk apa Anwar menafikan? 

The funny ting is PAS and DAP were coalition partners together with Anwar’s PKR in the 2008 and 2013 general elections. In the GE15 on Nov 19, PAS will be hiding behind the Perikatan Nasional banner. PAS knows that many, including God-fearing Malay-Muslims, will not vote for its candidates if they stand using the PAS logo and banner.

For PAS and Malay-Muslims who still fear the DAP, perhaps the words of the great man Dr Mahathir himself, when he saw the light in 2018, would bring them comfort:

“I am the one who started the labelling of DAP as a Chinese chauvinist party. But when I got closer to them, I found that they are not Chinese-only like MCA. DAP is multiracial. They have Malays and Indians as well. The image I created of DAP was not really true. In their meetings they speak Malay, the national language … Their song is also in Malay”.

As for Anwar being the “tool” for DAP, let’s sit back and think rationally for just a bit. Hasn’t Anwar been the only Malay leader who has been able to keep the DAP as part of his coalition for the last two decades or so?

Fact is fact: Anwar has been and still is the only Malay leader who can rein in the DAP.

No other Malay leader within or outside DAP can claim to have that ability or will be able to do so after this Friday. Not Ismail Sabri, not Muhyiddin or Azmin Ali, not Ahmad Sabu or Hadi Awang. Not even Dr Mahathir. 

Friday, November 11, 2022

Welcome back, Tony!

Friday, 11 Nov:  Got a text from Tony, an old friend who had spent the last four years trying to make something out of his life in Indonesia. He's back for the GE15, hoping that his vote will help change the country of his birth - the only country he calls his home - for the better. Not for himself, he says, but for his children. 

We all share that hope, don't we? We also have shared frustrations with both the excesses and the shallowness of those who call themselves leaders. From Tony's a tweeter account, I stumble upon a recent posting by my old lawyer Malik Imtiaz: 

"If you're voting, and you should be if qualified, think about the future, yours and the young around you. Vote for a future for the country. Please, it's the only home many (of us) have." 

Exactly a week before you and I go to the polls and decide where we want this country to go: back up or further down.