Snap polls the solution but it’s risky

Muhyiddin is in no realistic bargaining position with regard to Umno, as his Bersatu candidates, even if allowed to run, will not win without the combined full support of Umno and PAS.

—  Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs

The uncertainty of Malayan politics is killing us. It does, and I couldn’t think of any other solution to resolve it.

Hear me out, while it would be unbelievably callous, risky and not to mention, fatal, a snap general election would bring the political unrest, for the lack of a better word, to rest.

If anything, it would be purely academic at this point, as calling the general election amid the five-digit daily Covid-19 cases is unthinkable, but this is one way that we can put the drama behind us for good.

You see, the shifts happening in Putrajaya — one MP jumping ship to another, and the horse trading — are not what the people had in mind during a critical time in the anti-pandemic fight.

Moreover, it is being done without any say-so by the rakyat — the ultimate stakeholder, the kingmaker and the voice that matters most.

Last October, I wrote in this column that the nation needs a political reset for us to move forward and not being trapped in a situation that is “neither here nor there”.

I had said that unplanned, spur-of-the-moment political pacts is a mess and I still stand by it. This is evident with the bad blood between United Malays National Organisation (Umno) and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

I had also stressed that we can’t have differing ideals and sets of goals be working together and expect nothing will go wrong, especially if the parties are pandering to the same set of crowds.

I viewed that this is not a long-term solution and a ticking time bomb. What’s stopping one of the loose components from pulling out due to disagreement over power and that there is no principle that needs abiding and no accountability if anything happens.

What happened is that the time-bomb finally exploded when Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi finally made the move to retract the party’s support for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Umno ministers are urged to toe the party line and so far, two haveresigned from their Cabinet posts with others are still in a limbo in choosing sides between remaining in the federal government and their party.

This raises further doubt in the majority attained by the current federal government which is already slim to begin with.

This prompted rumours from Istana Negara that the premier was given three choices:

either bring forward the motion of confidence vote in Parliament to next week, step down or dissolve Parliament to pave the way for a general election.

While such was not verified as of writing, it in a nutshell, reflects the current state of the federal government.

My take is that if the prime minister is proven to have the majority, then he is within his right to lead the government until the end of the term, which is in 2023.

If he does not, then he would have to step down from his role and allow those from Umno to take over the reins. That is the safe and responsible thing to do.

The federal government, if it comes to it, should not pull off a Shafie Apdal and call for a snap election at the height of Covid-19.

Not only that they will have the people turning against them in a similar fashion to Warisan last year, it would also undo whatever efforts to arrest the current surge of coronavirus cases.

While the third option, as I had mentioned, has a lot of merit, it should be deferred to a safer time to protect the lives of the people. The people needn’t die due to politics.

With the mandate returned to the people, there is hope that we can elect a government that has a comfortable majority comprising only allies and not political foes under the same roof.

Let the coalitions be it Perikatan Nasional (PN), Pakatan Harapan (PH) or Barisan Nasional (BN) sort themselves out before being elected to Parliament.

Let them choose their prime minister candidates and stand by them. Let the winners assume the federal government and the losers be in the opposition.

This way, there will be no more hanky-panky and political manoeuvring that irks the people. The federal government will stand and their legitimacy should not be called into question.

Only with a stable federal government, can we move forward and think of other things rather than be on a prolonged political brinksmanship.

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