Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 27 Feb 2020

In other liberal democratic countries, governments collapse when there are factions fighting for different ideologies or interests. While there certainly are opposing interests among the parties in PH and BN, the reasons given by Dr M for resigning as the 7th PM are not convincing…

From the start, it was evident that Dr M had no intention of handing over the PMship to Anwar as if that was not clear enough. In the 1998 video, he had told the world press that Anwar was not fit to be PM because he lacked moral rectitude. Until today, he still has not apologised or retracted that condemnation of Anwar. He made it clear to all that he was prepared to work with UMNO and PAS and the Azmin faction of PKR and vehemently refused to be tied down to naming a date for the handover.

It was the incessant importuning by PKR and DAP leaders to name the handover date and his refusal to do so which ultimately led him to resign. The departure of his own party Parti Pribumi from the PH coalition then led to the collapse of the government. Thus, we have “gotten into this fine mess” through this really frivolous reason and not through any cataclysmic economic, political or social crisis faced by the nation!

The subsequent turnaround by Anwar and the DAP leaders pleading for Dr M to stay on must be the lowest point to which politicians are prepared to go in opportunistic flip-flopping. Only when Mahathir announced his intention to form a unity government, did PH finally decide that they are actually the ones ready to form the next government with Anwar as PM…if they have the numbers.

We credit Mahathir with being a cunning old fox. Nevertheless, his latest unity government proposal will be unpopular not only with PH but also with civil society. The opposing coalition of UMNO and PAS have already declared their refusal to work with DAP. But in Malaysia, you never know how “pragmatic” politicians can be.

If Mahathir does succeed in cobbling together a unity government, Malaysian civil society will certainly rise up to the challenge of playing the true Opposition Front. Or could this unity government idea turn out to be Mahathir’s swansong?

The only dignified exit from this political farce is to call for new elections so that the people can vote for whom they distinguish to be the good, the bad and the ugly in the new political menagerie.

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