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M. Bakri Musa

Seeing Malaysia My Way

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Location: Morgan Hill, California, United States

Malaysian-born Bakri Musa writes frequently on issues affecting his native land. His essays have appeared in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asiaweek, International Herald Tribune, Education Quarterly, SIngapore's Straits Times, and The New Straits Times. His commentary has aired on National Public Radio's Marketplace. His regular column Seeing It My Way appears in Malaysiakini. Bakri is also a regular contributor to th eSun (Malaysia). He has previously written "The Malay Dilemma Revisited: Race Dynamics in Modern Malaysia" as well as "Malaysia in the Era of Globalization," "An Education System Worthy of Malaysia," "Seeing Malaysia My Way," and "With Love, From Malaysia." Bakri's day job (and frequently night time too!) is as a surgeon in private practice in Silicon Valley, California. He and his wife Karen live on a ranch in Morgan Hill. This website is updated twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays at 5 PM California time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Muhyiddin Yassin: Resign Or Recall Parliament

 Muhyiddin Yassin – Resign Or Recall Parliament!


M. Bakri Musa (www.bakrimusa.com)


Anwar Ibrahim has given the Agong the assurance of his (Anwar’s) majority support in Parliament. The ball is now not at the palace but with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. He has to prove that he has the people’s support by securing a parliamentary vote of confidence. Failing that, he must resign. That is the only right and honorable course, for him and the nation. Amateurish press conference with put-on bonhomie is no substitute.


            With the Covid-19 threat and the tanking economy, the nation does not need this added leadership crisis.


            Parliament can meet virtually within days and end this divisive, unnecessary, and distracting issue. Parliament should not be allowed to drag this crisis like a debilitating cancer upon the nation. In a democracy, sovereignty lies with the people, meaning parliament, not the palace.


Parliament was scheduled to meet last August to pass the 2021 Budget but was postponed many times. Malaysia is now well into her new fiscal year and without a budget. What a way to run the country in crisis!


Had that Budget been approved as scheduled, Muhyiddin’s legitimacy would not have been questioned, and there would be no leadership issues. Tengku Razali had sought that vote of confidence back in August but was denied. Speaker Azhar Harun’s excuse was that it did not have a minister’s consent! Typical civil service mindset of Kami menunggu arahan! (I await instructions!) This character may have a law degree but functionally he is but a minister’s peon.


            If there is one critical factor in a leadership crisis, it is this:  Citizens want certainty and assurance now, not weeks or months later. Anything that does not help that or worse, muddles it and thus delays its resolution only aggravates the problem.


            The bland palace statement issued following Anwar’s visit falls into this category. Far from clarifying the matter, it muddled it even more. If the Agong was not satisfied with what Anwar had presented, as the palace statement implied, then he (Agong) should have raised it with Anwar right there and then, not issue a useless press statement hours later. Anwar’s meeting with the Agong was a business one, and very serious at that, not the usual ceremonial sembah menyembah bit with everyone obsequiously bowing and grinning, with nothing accomplished.


            That meeting lasted over 30 minutes. Was Agong not prepared to ask tough questions of Anwar at the time? That did not reflect well on the palace advisors.


            In that statement the Agong expressed concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic. Had he resolved the leadership matter there and then he would have made his greatest contribution towards controlling this pandemic. Anything else, no matter how heartfelt the message, depth of concern, or eloquent the prose, pales in comparison.


Now the Agong is reduced to being a Director of Human Resources seeking references for his top hire. Quit the parade of MPs to the palace. While the constitution is clear on the Agong’s function to appoint the nation’s top executive (the individual must have or believe to have the confidence of parliament), less clear is his power to dismiss. That should be the prerogative of and only of Parliament, if Muhyiddin refuses to resign.


            It is praiseworthy for Agong to have met Tengku Razali. As the longest serving MP, he is the repository of that body’s history, wisdom, and tradition. As for meeting UMNO leader Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, those facing criminal charges have no privileges of a royal audience. Innocent till proven guilty is fine in the court of law, but not at the palace. It must demand a much higher standard, as without even a hint of impropriety. As for Mahathir, he started this mess; dispense with him.


            In meeting every MP the Agong reduces himself to a royal interviewer-in-chief. The crucial point here is not the individual MP’s decision expressed in private to him but the MPs’ collective resolution after deliberating in Parliament where the proceedings are open. Democracy demands such transparency.


Meanwhile Anwar should set up his team, ready to go. Let us pray for Malaysia’s sake that will be soon. Malaysia has had enough of decades of corrupt and incompetent leadership. Malays have a special reason for wanting this to end now. We are fed up of our race and culture being equated with those loathsome traits and detestable characters.



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