The Malaysian United Indigenous Party (“PPBM“), under the leadership of Tan Sri Muhyiddin bin Haji Muhammad Yassin, has agreed to be a part of the Muafakat Nasional (“MN“) coalition.
Tan Sri Annuar Musa, the Secretary General of the Barisan Nasional (“BN“) coalition and the Minister of Federal Territories, has stated that MN has agreed in principle regarding PPBM’s wish to join the coalition.
At its inception, MN only consisted of the United Malays National Organisation (“UMNO“) and the Malaysian Islamic Party (“PAS“).
A necessary formality?
PPBM’s joining of MN appears to be mere formality as PPBM, UMNO, PAS, and a host of parties from Sabah and Sarawak informally formed the Perikatan Nasional (“PN”) federal government.
The PN federal government, however, even with the inclusion of UMNO and PAS, only have a precarious 2-3 seats majority in the House of Representatives.
When UMNO announced that it would not become part of PN should the informal coalition be registered, it then became necessary for PPBM to formally align itself with UMNO and PAS in order to remain a part of the federal government .
PPBM is the weakest of the three.
It cannot be disputed that PAS & UMNO have strong grassroots support. The same, however, cannot be said about PPBM.
PPBM, being a relatively new national party, experienced exponential growth in its first few years largely due to Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad (“Tun M”).
Tun M, a seasoned politician and a former Prime Minister, commands great respect and support amongst the masses.
When Tun M left PPBM, an exodus soon ensued. Since his departure from PPBM, Tun M has announced the setting up of the Party of Homeland’s Fighters (“PEJUANG“).
Various PPBM branches have since been dissolved due to lack of members.
Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, deputy president of the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), has openly stated that PAS intends to table a vote of confidence in the lower house of Parliament.
According to PAS’ secretary general, Dato’ Takiyuddin Hassan, the proposal to table a vote of confidence arose as a result of rumours that certain quarters were not happy with Tun Dr Mahathir.
It would be reasonable to assume that the dissatisfaction (if true), has to do with inter alia Tun Dr Mahathir’s non-committal vis-a-vis the promised handover of premiership to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Commanding the confidence of the majority
A Prime Minister has to, in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA)’s judgement, “command the confidence of the majority of the members of [the Dewan Rakyat].”
In the event the Prime Minister “… ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the [Dewan Rakyat], then, unless at his request the Yang di-Pertuan Agong dissolves Parliament, the Prime Minister shall tender the resignation of the Cabinet.”
Such constitutional provisions, not uncommon in other countries, have led to the creation of a parliamentary mechanism known as the ‘vote of no confidence.’
It has now become more and more apparent that PAS and DAP don’t play well together. Ever since the Selangor Menteri Besar imbroglio, blows have been traded repeatedly ad nauseam
Over the past few weeks, the issue on the table has been PAS President, Dato Seri Haji Hadi Awang (HA)’s absence from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) presidential council meetings
In all fairness, HA is an elderly man and is thus more prone to sicknesses. For the sake of the betterment of PR, shouldn’t HA temporarily delegate his ultimate decision-making power to a trusted right hand man? Or at least step down in order that a physically fit person may take the helm
Yes, PAS does send its representatives (namely deputy president Mohamad Sabu and vice-president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man) for PR presidential council meetings. However, if you have been following the recent criticisms by DAP, it centers around HA having veto power and yet being absent from the meetings
Basically, whatever is agreed upon by the PAS representatives in the presidential council meetings may be overruled by HA at the end of the day. Thus, DAP has a valid point when it says that a PR presidential council meeting without HA is akin to PAS being absent
It is clearly undemocratic for a political party leader to have veto power in every matter considering other leaders are also elected by the members of the party. As cliche as it sounds, there is a lot of truth to the saying “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton)
If PAS refuses to sort out the aforementioned issues, PR’s effectiveness as a coalition would undeniably be adversely affected, and PR may need to reconsider its composition. After all, you can’t join the school but refuse to wear the uniform!
Just like when Britain entered the European Union (then known as the European Community) in 1973, it had to subject itself to EU treaties, regulations, directives, and European Court of Justice (ECJ) decisions despite having done things its own way for centuries
A good example of PR’s effectiveness being hindered would be when the PR presidential council accepted the proposal for Datuk Seri Wan Azizah to be nominated as the new Selangor MB, and HA ended up vetoing the decision and nominating candidates of his liking
Another problematic issue is PAS’ continuous insistence on implementing hudud. Prior to the 13th General Election, PAS seemed to have abandoned its hudud agenda by pursuing a benevolent state concept.
Needless to say, the whole “Pas For All” election slogan, gained PAS the votes of many non-muslims who were unsure of PAS yet wanted a regime change. However, after GE 13, PAS reverted back to advocating hudud
Since PAS is seriously considering implementing hudud in Kelantan and has taken many steps to realise it (e.g. a federal-level hudud technical committee, finalising that “trained professionals” will be carrying out the amputations), it is high time for PKR and DAP to consider whether to move on without PAS
PAS’ move may gain support from the more hard line Islamists, but it is sure to cause loss of votes for PR because DAP and PKR will be seen as being inable to influence PAS to abandon its wishes for hudud.
A PR without PAS would most definitely appeal to the more progressive Malaysians. Will we see a PR coalition without PAS/DAP? Or will we see PR end up just like Barisan Alternatif? Or will PR learn how to sort out its differences and work together? Only time will tell
On a side note, if UMNO Kelantan supports PAS’ efforts (which is has in the past), it is time for MCA, MIC, and Gerakan to reconsider its partnership in BN. After all, what’s the point of being in a coalition if your view doesn’t matter?
*This awesome article appeared in The Malay Mail Online, The Malaysian Insider, Malaysiakini, and Free Malaysia Today
The Selangor Menteri Besar impasse has left a bitter taste in many of our mouths, especially of those in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition. Inter alia, we have seen bickering, backstabbing, craven acts, and a myriad of volte-face.
It has been an abject past few months to say the least. Even in the aftermath, we have boorish comments (such as Lim Guan Eng labelling the former 4 PAS excos that stood by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as “traitors” and PAS Youth saying PAS will one day leave PR) coming from the different PR parties which are supposed to be Malaysia’s hope of one day replacing Barisan Nasional (BN) as the federal government
It’s time that PR stops drying their dirty linen in public. The more insults hurled at one another in public, the less confidence the people have in PR as a whole. A survey by The Malaysian Insider and Merdeka Center indicated that PR may lose Selangor if snap polls were held
PR should learn to settle their differences behind closed doors. They can learn a lot from the constitutional convention of collective ministerial responsibility (a.k.a cabinet collective responsibility) whereby members of the Cabinet must publicly support all governmental decisions made in Cabinet, even if they do not privately agree with them
Basically the PR component parties must maintain a united front and all toe the line. No more puerile statements made in public! Behind the scenes is where discussions are held, ideas are ridiculed, chairs are hurled, name calling is done, etc
PR’s current system of operating on consensus has proven to be greatly flawed in the recently concluded Selangor MB saga. PKR and DAP agreed on only nominating Dr Wan Azizah’s name but PAS had something else in mind.
There was clearly no consensus and the fact that PKR and DAP were so obdurate and kept insisting on having their way shows that the consensus system is more effective theoretically than practically
OMG!’s proposed decision making mechanism will greatly benefit PR. His/her proposal is that each member of the PR triumvirate be allotted votes to decide on matters involving PR according to its representation in Parliament and state assemblies, with 60% allocated to Parliament and 40% to all 13 state assemblies.
“(a) First, the number of Parliament seats is divided: (PAS: DAP: PKR) as (21:38:29) at GE13
(b) The number of state seats is divided similarly as (85:95:48) at GE 13.
Note: In both cases, PKR’s total has been reduced by one state seat and 1 Parliament seat reflecting Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s new Independent status.
(c) After applying the 60:40 weightage, we find that the votes, within PR, to be allotted to the 3 members PAS:DAP:PKR, are 29:43:28. Total 100 votes in the new proposed system.
The present, less satisfactory consensus/(agree to disagree) approach could now be replaced by a 2/3 majority vote, i.e., a 2/3 majority of 67 votes means that the decision is adopted by PR and dissenting members must fall in line”
Regarding any decision, the PR parties will meet up, deliberate, and then vote on the issue. The moment a 2/3 majority is achieved, the issue is resolved and every party has to stand firm with it.
This decision-making system that is similar to the “electoral collegial system which governs the US presidential elections based on the results in the various states” would prevent further straining the already strained relationship between PKR, DAP, and PAS
The parties not happy with the votes allotted to them can work harder to win more seats in the 14th General Election in order to increase their say in PR policies & decisions. This proposal appears to be the panacea that PR has been looking for. The idea should be seriously and thoroughly considered!
*This article also appeared in The Malaysian Insider, The Malay Mail Online, and Malaysia Today
A reply to: Only UMNO can stop hudud
Lim Guan Eng slightly erred in saying that ONLY UMNO can stop hudud. As we all know, “a coin has two sides.” Similarly, when looking into the hudud issue, UMNO is only one side of the coin
While it is true that “With 88 MPs in Parliament, UMNO is in the best position to stop PAS’s attempt to implement hudud,” the onus to act isn’t just on the part of UMNO. As a political ally to PAS, DAP should convince PAS to drop the idea of hudud as it is not suitable in our multi-racial and multi-religious nation. The whole problem will be solved if PAS does not table both the Private Members’ Bills
By asking UMNO to act, is DAP absolving itself from all liability? Is DAP implying that it is incapable of pressuring its ally to abandon hudud? These are questions which should linger on our minds
Pakatan Rakyat works on a concept that they will “agree to disagree” especially when it comes to controversial issues. In one sense it is good as the component members of PR wont draw it’s guns and start a friendly fire. But it also leaves a loophole that allows each party to put its own interests above that of the entire coalition
It could potentially be devastating for PR. Imagine if hudud were to be implemented in Kelantan. It would probably cost DAP A LOT of non-muslim votes at GE 14. This is because before GE 13, DAP went around gathering votes for PAS by reassuring the non-muslims that hudud would never be implemented
And in this hypothetical situation, DAP has let down its voters. Hopefully this hypothetical situation does not come to pass. Back to the million dollar question “Who can stop hudud?”, UMNO can. But so can DAP and PKR!