June 2022 Vol 2 No 21

After giving some thoughts on yet again the issue of why the court cluster of Umno is so desperate in wanting to hold a snap election, your Editor, Jamari Mohtar, thinks this issue can be resolved if Umno holds an election first to give Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob a chance to contest for the Umno’s presidency, so that the position of PM and President of Umno will be held by the same person.

  • Let’s cut to the chase. Despite Umno in its recent Extraordinary General Meeting had amended its constitution to allow for the postponement of its election until six months after a general election (GE), an Umno election should still be held as soon as possible to give PM Ismail Sabri a go at the presidency so that the two positions of PM and President of Umno are held by him.
  • Only this can ascertain, once and for all, who or which faction has the support of the Umno grassroots. Anyway, vesting the positions of PM and President of Umno in one person had always been the case in the past when Umno/Barisan Nasional (BN) was in power.
  • But this should also be the case when Umno is not in power just like any other political party. Otherwise there would always be factionalism when the two posts are not held by the same person, which will become the source of instability in the party.
  • Even in PKR, without Datuk Seri Anwar becoming the PM, the party has time and again been rent asunder with factionalism, which is not good not only for the party but also the nation.
  • Your editor is not advocating for the absence of differences of opinion in a party. This will always exist but differences of opinion should be the impetus and a force that propel the party to be dynamic even when it is not in power. It should not be a divisive force that will split the party.
  • For this to happen, members of all parties should inculcate the discipline of keeping major differences of opinion behind close doors, and put a brave front of unity in their public personae, despite their intense differences of opinion in their “private” personae.
  • The media cannot be blamed for accentuating this divisiveness in the party because it is their basic duty to inform the public or to let’s talk without fear or favour in their writing on current happenings.
  • They know nuts about the going-on in the party if no one in the party leaks it to them. The more experience among them can detect some sort of split in the party by studying facial expressions and body language of senior party leaders which will make them dig further for more info from their “sources” in the party.
  • Maybe all party leaders love to talk or can’t stop talking in private with their fellow party colleagues that perhaps sensitive and confidential info came out of their mouth which get viral slowly at first and then with much speed later on which will then be picked up by the media.
  • In the case of Umno, the situation is different. When Umno helms the government, by right, the prime minister should be Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as he is the president of Umno.
  • But because he is tainted with corruption charges, and his trial is still on-going, he himself knows that he can’t be the PM of the country until he is cleared of the charges.
  • Moreover, Umno/BN with just 42 seats in Parliament cannot helm the government without the support of Perikatan Nasional (PN) – Bersatu, PAS, Gerakan and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) – and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
  • And PN has made it conditional that it will only support an Umno PM that is free from court charges.
  • That should make Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan whose moniker is Tok Mat next in line to assume the premiership in his capacity as a deputy president of Umno.
  • But Tok Mat is destined not to be the PM, as he is not elected as an MP, and is just a state legislator for Rantau. The Federal Constitution specifies that a PM must be a member of the Dewan Rakyat, and not a member of the state assembly.
  • And that was how the next in line after Tok Mat, Ismail Sabri got to be the PM, being the vice-president of Umno with the most number of votes in the last Umno election in 2018.
  • Besides, he is the only one in Umno other than Zahid who has had the experience of being a deputy PM.
  • Being the PM, Ismail Sabri is the Head of the Government and as such, he outranks Zahid who is merely the head of a political party.
  • This is also reflected in the salutation of Yang Amat Berhormat (YAB) or Right Honourable reserved for the PM, DPM and Menteri Besar as opposed to Zahid’s salutation as Yang Berhormat (YB) or Honourable as an MP.
  • So decorum for the PM must be observed by others especially the court cluster in that the PM should not be pressured publicly and openly on a matter that he disagrees, in this case calling for a snap election, especially when it has not even been discussed by the top five in Umno, as agreed in the General Assembly.
  • Because Umno helming the government is also dependent on the support of the other coalition partners in BN, PN and GPS, it is not enough just to discuss it within Umno and BN, but also the heads of all the coalition partners and the Cabinet.
  • This is what consultation (musyawarah) is all about, especially when the day of Umno/BN holding power on its own which does not require consultation with other political parties was long over after its humiliating loss to Pakatan Harapan (PH) in GE14.
  • Moreover, there is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Transformation and Political Stability with PH that pledged to avoid triggering a general election prematurely.
  • As a result, the country has achieved political stability in the last 10 months, which have seen both the government and the opposition having played their part of the bargain to ensure political stability for the country, otherwise we would have witnessed another change in government with another PM.
  • Is the court cluster in Umno a group of people who does not see the sanctity of an agreement when they insist the PM to call for a snap election?
  • As a MoU is indeed a form of agreement, this does not bode well if the court cluster helms the government because of their Machiavellian view towards agreement.
  • They will only fulfil an agreement so long as the situation is not favourable to them without the agreement such as when they agreed to join the PN government under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
  • The moment the situation is favourable to them in not observing the agreement, such as now when they perceive Umno will win BIG in a snap election, they will stoop so low to chuck out any agreement that restrict their wishes without even waiting for the agreement to expire according to the agreed due date.
  • This will result in a trust deficit for Umno, arising from an ethical breach of trust in agreement.
  • Seeing at how leaders of the court cluster do not see agreement as something ethically binding, it is fair to ask whether if GE15 is held, will Ismail Sabri be Umno/BN’s choice as the PM, as agreed to by Zahid in the last Umno Assembly?
  • Hence it becomes very crucial for an Umno election to be held first before a snap election is called to give Ismail Sabri the chance to be both the PM and the president of Umno.
  • If the court cluster refuses to allow this, then they should not be allowed to pressure the PM to hold a snap election.
  • After all, an Umno president is very powerful as his signature is required for any Umno members to contest in GE15.
  • If Zahid decides not to sign on the candidacy of all Umno members in the minister cluster as a political revenge, it will mark the end of their political career as an MP and a minister.
  • On the MoU itself, it can be further extended beyond July if both the government and the opposition agree to extend it.
  • Of course, Ismail Sabri as the vice-president of Umno and the Head of Government will need to discuss it with Umno, BN, heads of coalition partners and the Cabinet before agreeing to it.
  • Just like whether to call for a snap election or not will finally rests on his shoulder after discussion with the relevant parties, the decision to extend the memorandum with the opposition will also fall on his shoulder after he has done the needful in consulting relevant parties.
  • I mentioned above about the possibility of a change in government and PM without the MoU. Malaysia has already experienced political instability in having three prime ministers within two years, which in turn has affected economic stability.
  • It is indeed a blessing the MoU has prevented a change in government because it will just take only two or three Umno MPs to withdraw support for Ismail Sabri for the current government to collapse, just like what Muhyiddin experienced due to the chicanery of the court cluster.
  • If the call for a snap election by the court cluster is entertained by the PM, there could be a fourth PM within three years in the event the Yang di-Pertuan Agong does not give his assent to the dissolution of Parliament, to make way for a snap election.
  • This means Ismail Sabri would have to resign and become a caretaker PM while the Agong decides on who would be the new fourth PM within three years, with history repeating itself when you see 220 MPs marching in batches again to the Istana for a third time to see the Agong to tell him on who their preferred PM would be.
  • That would then make Malaysia the only country in Southeast Asia, perhaps the whole of Asia the rare distinction of having four PMs within three years.
  • In Malaysia, a GE must be held once parliament is automatically dissolved after five years have elapsed from the first sitting of the parliament that was held soon after the previous GE.
  • Since the first session of the current 14th parliament began on July 16, 2018, parliament will automatically dissolve on July 16, 2023 to make way for GE15, which must be held within 60 days i.e. by September 16 2023.
  • This is the practice of many parliamentary democracies particularly in the Commonwealth association. But the question is, can a GE be held less than five years after the first parliamentary session? If yes, how much earlier?
  • The constitution is silent on this, which means there is no explicit prohibition on holding an earlier GE.
  • But one thing is clear, a GE cannot be held if parliament is not dissolved. And the one holding the first key to the dissolution of parliament is the prime minister – an advantage of incumbency in a parliamentary democracy recognised by the constitution.
  • The King on his own cannot initiate the dissolution of parliament, as the Constitution allows him only to give his assent or refusal to the request of the prime minister to dissolve parliament.
  • In this sense, the King holds the more important second key in determining whether parliament can be dissolved.
  • Based on the history of GEs in Malaysia, on the average a GE was held after parliament had entered its fourth year, where it was dissolved on the advice of the then PM and assented to by the then King.
  • The spirit of the constitution in having a GE once in every five years is obviously to prevent a waste of resources because it is not cheap to hold a general election.
  • Speaking in Parliament in August last year, the then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said the cost of holding GE14 was RM500 million, and it could cost RM1.2 billion to hold a snap election then.
  • That cost was at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. If a snap election is held today, the cost would be probably more because in addition to the fact that the Covid virus has not been completely wiped out, there is a global inflation now as a result of disruption in supply chains and soaring food and energy prices brought about by the perfect storm of a triple whammy of pandemic, climate change and the Ukraine war.
  • In some places this has resulted in stagflation – a phenomenon of low economic growth coexisting with galloping inflation that was quite common in the 1970s, which economists thought had made a disappearing act since the 1990s.
  • So, PM Ismail Sabri is spot on when in an interview with a Japanese daily he said this is not the right time to hold an election, as the interest and welfare of the people are paramount and need to be taken care of by mitigating the impact of high inflation through measures to stem the higher cost of food and energy.
  • And the RM2 billion that is going to be used for holding a snap election now is not peanuts. It is peanuts only to the kleptocrats.
  • The monies will be better spent on both remedial and proactive measures to assist the rakyat in facing the high cost of living brought about by the spiralling inflation.
  • Of course you can’t have sustainability in food and energy security, and in the emission of greenhouse gases, among others, in the immediate term with short term measures like subsidies, abolishment of APs and banning some exports, etc., but these are necessary measures in the short term – fire fighting.
  • But as you are deeply fighting with fires, at the same time you must also simultaneously be able think of ways and means for the implementation of the intermediate and long term-solutions that are sustainable.
  • And long-term being long term, you won’t see the results NOW. So stop complaining NOW especially opposition politicians.
  • The long-term sustainable results will take the form of your parachuting forward with finesse and success once the crisis is over, as compared to countries that do not have an intermediate and long-term game plan.
  • When the fire stops, these countries will find themselves in the same slow position as before the fire ravages.
  • The government’s handling of the chicken shortage crisis is a case in point. Due to short-tem solutions, the chicken shortage crisis is now manageable, without affecting food security.
  • Meanwhile, the long-term solutions, one of which is being implemented now to grow grain corns as animal feed so as to achieve self sufficiency in the long run will make not only the animal feed industry sustainable, but also poultry farming too once the global inflation subsides, the Ukraine war is over and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic and climate change are brought under control.
  • It is quite amazing the court cluster has criticised the PM for focussing on the impact of high inflation to help the rakyat instead of a snap election by dismissing inflation as a three-year cycle.
  • Even if this is true, this three-year cycle won’t be the normal high inflation of the same old, same old that we are used to. As mentioned above, the current rise in inflation is the result of the confluence of three separate factors – the pandemic with its excess pent-up of aggregate demand with the opening of the economy that supply won’t be able to meet due to supply chain disruptions, climate change and the war in Ukraine.
  • This means the intensity of the suffering of the people would be something that is unprecedented for the next three years, assuming the court cluster is right that it is a three-year cycle.
  • So much for the court cluster’s “populist” idea of helping the rakyat by letting people withdraw their EPF savings until most workers especially the Bumiputras go broke on their EPF savings.
  • Now their populist agenda to help the rakyat is replaced with this agenda of spending RM2 billon to organise a snap election.
  • Hence, Padang Rengas MP, Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz is also spot-on in describing those calling for a snap election very “selfish and irresponsible” because they have only their personal interest in mind, instead of helping the rakyat.
  • At present, Malaysia and many Southeast Asian countries are fortunate the inflation rate, although bad is not bad enough like the inflation in the sanctioning countries in the Eurozone countries where it is in the region of more than 7%, brought about by energy prices soaring to more than 30% and food prices up to 7.5%, the cost of industrial goods by 4.2%, and services by 3.5% in May alone (see Sanctions not only hurting Russia but sanctioning countries as well).
  • But this does not mean Malaysia will be immune to the runaway inflation like the one experienced by Eurozone countries now. We will definitely be “infected” with this spiralling inflation the longer the pandemic and the Ukraine war last, and the more supply chain and climate change issues are not handled judiciously.
  • So politicians of all stripes should focus on mitigating these hardships of the people now for the sake of the rakyat by giving their concerted efforts towards this end rather than indulging in politicking for their selfish interest.
Read more on the call for a snap election, Umno election, dissolution of parliament, global inflation and Russia-Ukraine war:
When should GE15 be held?
Malaysia’s Ismail Sabri resists rush to election as inflation bites
Amid calls for GE, Najib reflects on consequences of ‘delayed’ polls
Umno sec-gen insists not premature to force snap election now
  • The difference between having a general election now and having it when it is due on Sept 16, 2023 is just this: having it now gives Umno/BN a best chance of winning BIG.
  • Still, it’s just a chance not a certainty!
  • But what’s in it for the rakyat if Umno wins BIG? Directly – NOTHING! Going by what had happened in the past especially during the 1987 Umno election where Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad won with a slim margin over Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, the following pattern will be repeated:
    • The direct beneficiary will be primarily the warlords of the court cluster and their rank and file.
    • This will be followed by fence-sitting Umno members coming out in droves to declare their staunch support for the court cluster leaders, the majority of them opportunists expecting some kind of rewards for their support.
    • Court cluster’s leadership embrace them because they want traction in the number of members supporting them to show they have the support of the Umno grassroots.
    • If the anti-hopping bill does not become law, and most likely it won’t because parliament was dissolved for snap election, the phenomenon of leap frogging will intensify with the latest destination – Umno and BN.
    • While the court cluster leadership will harp on unity and blame the opposition – now PH and PN – and the media for creating these imaginary factions in Umno, at the same time witch hunting against the core members of the minister cluster and their supporters would intensify behind the scene.
  • We can clearly see above, there is nothing in it for the rakyat.
  • Even indirectly, with Umno winning BIG, there is nothing in it for the rakyat. They will still continue to suffer from the unprecedented high cost of living brought about by the global inflation due to the triple whammy of pandemic, climate change and the Ukraine war.
  • This triple whammy will not disappear just because Umno/BN win the election. Even the court cluster has admitted that this high rate of inflation is a three-year cycle.
  • In fact, inflation will get worse under a new Umno government that comes into being after a snap election because the political leadership of the country – both in the government and the opposition – will be profusely distracted from moving head on to protect the rakyat.
  • Precious times will be wasted because the focus of politicians of all stripes is to ensure their party win the election – from the few weeks before Nomination Day right up to more than a week of campaigning.
  • And time will be wasted again because after the election, the winning prime minister cannot immediately do things with optimum efficiency because he doesn’t have a Cabinet and needs about a week to form one.
  • And even after the Cabinet is formed, ministers especially new ones need time to familiarise with their jobs and their ministries, and click their thinking with their PM.
  • All in all, about two or three months will be wasted with nothing substantive done. If a crisis emerges, the response will be a knee-jerk reaction.
  • So why does the cluster wants a snap election? Simple. They know the going will be tough for Umno to capture power if election is delayed because things will definitely get worse for the government because of the triple whammy that has engulfed the world has just started to look real by May.
  • What better way to escape the brunt of complaints from the rakyat that will be accompanied by their punishment in a GE by outvoting Umno from power than having an election now when things haven’t gotten worse yet.
  • Then assuming Umno wins BIG, whenever things get worse they know they can turn a deaf ear to the complaining rakyat including the complaining opposition because they have a five-year mandate.
  • By the time the three-year cycle of inflation is over, things will get better and the rakyat being a complaining lot would suddenly become mellow as in Malaysians “mudah lupa” (easily forget) and all will be forgiven when election is due within two years. Umno by now dominated by the court cluster will be voted in again.
  • Let’s compare what will happen to Umno if election is held when it is due in September 2023 or slightly earlier than the due date.
  • If PM Ismail Sabri focuses on helping the rakyat during this difficult time, then he will be remembered as a statesman that puts the interest of the rakyat at the forefront.
  • Just like what Muhyiddin did during the early stage of the pandemic by making hard and bold decisions in introducing the MCOs accompanied by the biggest economic stimulus of all time that benefit the rakyat.
  • Basically the idea is to act like what a successful corporate leader does i.e. in order to generate income, either you increase revenue or cut cost or do both at the same time.
  • In this difficult time, it is relatively difficult to raise revenue than cut cost because the government coffer will be affected too by higher inflation.
  • So implementing initiatives to protect the rakyat in this difficult time should be generally based on the concept of equality of sacrifice, where every stakeholder of the country are in it together for survival by tightening their belt.
  • For a start, Ismail Sabri should begin with the short-term solutions of finding revenue to finance the rakyat centric initiatives by cancelling events that do not directly put monies in the pockets of the rakyat, and park these events in different events with similar objectives.
  • By rakyat centric events, it means events that have the rakyat at the centre stage such as allocations for NGOs and relevant agencies to establish more food banks, produce more food baskets to cover a greater area, and introducing grocery and petrol vouchers that will benefit the rakyat especially the B40 low-income group.
  • He has already started this when on June 9 the PM, through a statement of the Law Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, has decided to cancel a special parliamentary sitting on the proposed anti-party hopping bill.
  • Holding the event, which was scheduled to take place on the first week of July, will cost the government some RM1,077,600, excluding operating costs. The monies saved can be spent on other matters, such as helping the people to survive.
  • But this does not mean the bill would not be tabled and debated. It will instead be discussed during the next Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara sittings on July 18, just a delay of slightly more than a week.
  • More of such duplicating events should be identified with at least one duplicating event cancelled to save monies to finance rakyat-centrist events mentioned above.
  • Another cost-cutting measure that can be considered would be salary/allowance cut for Ministers, MPs and Senators. The cut shouldn’t be too high to begin with because they too are affected by the high cost of living brought about by high rate of inflation.
  • Perhaps a 5% across the board cut should be reasonable with the high incidence of burden borne by the Ministers because all of them are also either an MP or a Senator.
  • The move to re-introduce GST will definitely enhance the revenue aspect of the government for the long term but again because everybody is suffering, this should be done with a light and easy stance with a 3% GST rate.
  • Most countries that have a GST taxation system started with 3% when they first introduce it, either for the first three years or the first five years before the rate is hiked.
  • But what is more important is to study why the opposition PH then abolished it which analysts say was one of the factors that contributed to a PH victory.
  • Is the opposition’s abolishment of GST then due to a populist reason, a strategy to win election or the case of criticism for the sake of criticism or a justified one due to its poor implementation that has burdened the rakyat?
  • All these need to be studied judiciously and urgently so that it can be implemented in the short term with the lowest rate possible and with a light and easy touch in view of the need for revenue generation to finance rakyat-centric initiatives.
  • As Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz has said if the GST is so bad why do so many developed countries are implementing it since years ago, which point to the fact that it could be just due to the poor implementation when the then BN government under Datuk Seri Najib Razak introduced it.
  • Finally, the government should have a crystal-clear plan and an equally crystal-clear communication mechanism so that all can follow and adhere to the game plan of coming out on top of the situation.
  • The focus must be – managing the inflation rate, climate change and having a strong foreign policy stance of making the world knows of our disgust with the big powers, without taking sides, for engaging in proxy wars with each other or failing to stop wars of oppression and injustice simply because these have caused the suffering of the people in our country and region.
  • It is thus very critical for the government to have a holistic strategic communication team that function proactively mainly, and reactively, sometimes, to help provide clarity in communication to the public. Failing which confusing narratives will be the norm!
  • One way to do this is to list all the successful initiatives that the government has introduced to protect the rakyat during this hard time.
  • This requires continuous monitoring of the civil servants in charge of all these initiatives before the projects become successful and imbibing them with work ethics that are efficient and corrupt-free.
  • If mistakes are made, admit it and apologise like what PM Ismail did during the flood crisis, and take firm action against the perpetrators of the mistakes after due process have been done.
  • Finally, he must develop an information and communication strategy that includes the social media to answer any allegation of opposition politicians whether in or outside parliament that distorts the truth of the good things that the government has done with irrefutable facts.
  • As for allegation of the opposition that is true, admit it, apologise, explain why it happened, outline the steps for remedial actions and ask the opposition politician concerned for inputs on the solutions.
  • If the answer is “resign, resign” or “you are paid to do the job why should I give you the solutions”, then just ignore this monkey politician who is making the parliament into a circus, and wait for the Speaker to order this monkey to sit down.
  • Instruct all government MPs not to turn parliament into a circus, and to have good relations with the opposition MPs not only as individuals but also as fellow parliamentarians.
  • But despite all these efforts, if the scenario painted by the court cluster becomes the reality and Umno loses in the election, know that it is always good to lose with honour compared to winning with chicanery.
  • There will always be another day, another occasion to resume your struggle for the cause of the rakyat and don’t give up despite facing tremendous odds and act with honesty and sincerity in whatever you do.
  • Then the only One in Heaven will smile at you, ease all your affairs and open up the way without the least you expect it for you to attain your worldly and eternal victory. Aamiin.
Read more on the probable outcome of holding a snap election and holding an election when it is due:

Let’s cut to the chase.

Despite Umno in its recent Extraordinary General Meeting had amended its constitution to allow for the postponement of its election for office bearers until six months after a general election (GE), an Umno election should still be held as soon as possible to give PM Ismail Sabri a go at the presidency so that the two positions of PM and President of Umno are held by him.

Only this can ascertain, once and for all, who or which faction has the support of the Umno grassroots. Anyway, vesting the positions of PM and President of Umno in one person had always been the case in the past when Umno/Barisan Nasional (BN) was in power.

By right, when Umno helms the government, the prime minister should be Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as he is the president of Umno. But because he is tainted with corruption charges, and his trial is still ongoing, he himself knows that he can’t be the PM of the country until he is cleared of the charges.

Moreover, Umno/BN with just 42 seats in Parliament cannot helm the government without the support of Perikatan Nasional (PN) – Bersatu, PAS, Gerakan and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) – and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

And PN has made it conditional that it will only support an Umno PM that is free from court charges.

That should make Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan whose moniker is Tok Mat next in line to assume the premiership in his capacity as a deputy president of Umno.

But Tok Mat is destined not to be the PM, as he is not elected as an MP, and is just a state legislator for Rantau. The Federal Constitution specifies that a PM must be a member of the Dewan Rakyat, and not a member of the state assembly.

And that was how the next in line after Tok Mat, Ismail Sabri got to be the PM, being the vice-president of Umno with the most number of votes in the last Umno election in 2018.

Besides, he is the only one in Umno other than Zahid who has had the experience of being a deputy PM.

Being the PM, Ismail Sabri is the Head of the Government and as such, he outranks Zahid who is merely the head of a political party.

This is also reflected in the salutation of Yang Amat Berhormat (YAB) or “Right Honourable” reserved for the PM, DPM and Menteri Besar as opposed to Zahid’s salutation as Yang Berhormat (YB) or Honourable as an MP.

So decorum for the PM must be observed by others especially the court cluster in that the PM should not be pressured publicly and openly on a matter that he disagrees, in this case calling for a snap election, especially when it has not even been discussed by the top five in Umno, as agreed in the General Assembly.

Because Umno helming the government is also dependent on the support of the other coalition partners in BN, PN and GPS, it is not enough just to discuss it within Umno and BN, but also the heads of all the coalition partners and the Cabinet.

This is what consultation (musyawarah) is all about, especially when the day Umno/BN holding power on its own which does not require consultation with other political parties was long over, after its humiliating loss to Pakatan Harapan (PH) in GE14.

Moreover, there is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Transformation and Political Stability with PH that pledged to avoid triggering a general election prematurely.

As a result, the country has achieved political stability in the last 10 months, which have seen both the government and the opposition having played their part of the bargain to ensure political stability for the country, otherwise we would witness another change in government with another PM.

Is the court cluster in Umno a group of people who does not see the sanctity of an agreement when they insist the PM to call for a snap election?

As a MoU is indeed a form of agreement, this does not bode well if the court cluster helms the government because of their Machiavellian view towards agreement.

They will only fulfil an agreement so long as the situation is not favourable to them without the agreement such as when they agreed to join the PN government under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The moment the situation is favourable to them in not observing the agreement, such as now when they perceive Umno will win BIG in a snap election, they will stoop so low to chuck awayany agreement that restrict their wishes without even waiting for the agreement to expire according to the agreed due date.

This will result in a trust deficit for Umno, arising from an ethical breach of trust in agreement.

Seeing at how leaders of the court cluster do not see agreement as something ethically binding, it is fair to ask whether if GE15 is held, will Ismail Sabri be Umno/BN’s choice as the PM, as agreed to by Zahid in the last Umno Assembly?

Hence, the importance of the PM not to put too much hope on Zahid’s promise that Ismail Sabri will be leading BN as the poster boy (PM) in GE15.

It is in this context that it is very crucial for an Umno election to be held first before a snap election is called to give Ismail Sabri the chance to be both the PM and the president of Umno.

If the court cluster refuses to allow this, then they should not be allowed to pressure the PM to hold a snap election.

After all, an Umno president is very powerful as his signature is required for any Umno members to contest in GE15.

If Zahid decides not to sign on the candidacy of all Umno members in the minister cluster as a political revenge, it will mark the end of their political career as an MP and a minister.

Already he has turned his back on his promise during the last General Assembly not to call for a snap election while the MoU with PH is still on.

It turned out he is still making the call now, in spite of the MoU and despite his promise not to call for an election until the memorandum has expired in July.

There should be no mention at all in the open of a snap election going by his promise at least until August because the expiry date of the MoU is end of July.

And even then, the MoU can be extended beyond July if both the government and the opposition agree to extend it.

Of course, Ismail Sabri as the vice-president of Umno and the Head of Government will need to discuss it with Umno, BN, heads of coalition partners and the Cabinet before agreeing to it.

Just like whether to call for a snap election or not will finally rests on his shoulder after discussion with the relevant parties, the decision to extend the memorandum with the opposition will also fall on his shoulder after he has done the needful in consulting relevant parties.

I mentioned above about the possibility of a change in government and PM without the MoU with the opposition. Malaysia has already experienced political instability in having three prime ministers within two years, which in turn has affected economic stability.

It is indeed a blessing the MoU has prevented a change in government because it will just take only two or three Umno MPs to withdraw support for Ismail Sabri for the current government to collapse, just like what Muhyiddin experienced due to the chicanery of the court cluster.

If the call for a snap election by the court cluster is entertained by the PM, there could be a fourth PM within three years in the event the Yang di-Pertuan Agong does not give his assent to the dissolution of Parliament, to make way for a snap election.

This means Ismail Sabri would have to resign and become a caretaker PM while the Agong decides on who would be the new fourth PM within three years, with history repeating itself when you see 220 MPs marching in batches again to the Istana for a third time to see the Agong to tell him on who their preferred PM would be.

That would then make Malaysia the only country in Southeast Asia, perhaps the whole of Asia the rare distinction of having four PMs within three years.

Regards,

Jamari Mohtar

Editor, Let’s Talk!

%d bloggers like this: