Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.— Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of USA
“Weird”. That was how Chief Minister and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg described the announcement by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim this week.
The ever polarising PKR chief and Port Dickson MP said on Wednesday that he has the majority to form a government and wrest away the prime minister position from Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, pending an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The question now is, who would believe him?
In my WhatsApp conversation with a state leader this week, I retorted with a knee-jerk reaction on the topic, “Anwar is like the boy who cried wolf.”
Quite rightly so. Mind you, this is the same person who made the claim on Sept 16, 2008 that he has the numbers to form the government and issued an ultimatum to Pak Lah (Tun Abdullah Badawi) for the then prime minister to give up power peacefully.
In case you were wondering, Anwar did not become prime minister in 2008 and 12 years on in 2020, it is also unlikely that he will be prime minister now.
Former chief minister, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, back in 2011 summed it up quite neatly when he said, “On Sept 16, 2008 when I turned on the TV, I thought there was a live broadcast of Anwar being sworn in at Istana Negara, all I saw was a cartoon show.
“I turned off the TV and waited a year after that, 2009 — when I tuned in to the TV, it was also a cartoon. In 2010, I didn’t even bother watching the TV.”
Simply put, this wasn’t the first time that the former deputy prime minister has pulled this trick, claiming that he has the support of the MPs in Dewan Rakyat.
No matter how many numbers he obtained this time around, be it enough to form a simple majority (112 MPs) or even close to two-thirds, people would take his claim with a handful of salt.
Of course, other MPs and politicians taken aback by Anwar’s swashbuckling announcement came up with various views or even theories on what is actually happening in the nation’s capital.
The popular one is that the claim by the 73-year-old is a farce, or as one current Warisan candidate in the ongoing Sabah state election and former Cabinet minister would describe, as sandiwara.
Because frankly that is the most logical explanation to all this. It is a scheme, nothing more and nothing less.
Of course, it isn’t every day that people would claim they have the support of at least 112 MPs in Dewan Rakyat, so as much as we want, we can’t simply dismiss the claim as it is.
If Anwar really does have the numbers backing him, then he should prove it.
This is the same Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition that has no qualms over sharing the list of MPs who supported Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his attempt to overturn the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decision of appointing Muhyiddin at the eleventh hour back in February.
There should not be an excuse for suppressing the list of MPs that are backing him on the basis that it is prudent by doing so. We’ll know who the MPs are sooner rather than later.
Now, frankly, if Anwar does have the numbers to form the federal government, it would be a shock.
PKR alone has 38 MPs in Parliament, add that to Amanah’s 11, Anwar only has 49 MPs who are solidly behind him. DAP, although a traditional PKR partner, is split between supporting Anwar or Warisan chief Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the party will support Anwar if the PKR man has the numbers — a statement which in all fairness does not inspire much confidence.
DAP’s 42 MPs, if added to Anwar’s existing 49, means that he only has 91 MPs with Warisan, Pejuang, Muda and other parties seemingly on the fence over supporting the former.
The question now becomes, who is backing Anwar? It was reported that some MPs from Umno did, but the usual suspects vehemently denied their involvement with the purported coup.
Regardless, I for one doubt that what Malaysians want now is an Anwar-led federal government or just another change in federal government for that matter.
Give us a break, we’ve been through enough.