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M. Bakri Musa

Seeing Malaysia My Way

My Photo
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.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Parliament Must Reject Muhyiddin


Parliament Must Reject Muhyiddin


M. Bakri Musa (www.bakrimusa.com)


The Agung’s rebuff to Prime Minister Muhyiddin’s request for declaration of a State of Emergency is but an expression of his lack of confidence in Muhyiddins’s leadership. If he has any sense of responsibility, Muhyiddin should resign. However in his over 40 years in politics, Muhyiddin had never shown any sense of public accountability. Do not expect him to have any now.


It is Parliament’s turn to drive home the Agung’s message (shared by the people) by rejecting Muhyiddin’s upcoming budget, if not a formal “no confidence” vote, thus forcing him to resign. The Agung would then be free to select one who in his opinion would command the confidence of the House. Meaning, he would have to accept Anwar’s presentation of October 13, 2020 and appoint him as Prime Minister. If as the Agung indicated, protecting people from this Covid-19 is his highest priority, a general election would not be a wise option.


Let’s be clear. The Agung rejecting the advice of an elected Prime Minister is no small thing and could be a dangerous precedent. Muhyiddin however is far from one. He is but an illegitimate “backdoor” prime minister; Parliament never ratified his leadership.


If however, Muhyiddin were to succeed in Parliament, as with bribing every UMNO MP with a cabinet position or GLC directorship, he would have won his battle but the nation would lose the war. It would forever be established that the King could dispense with his Prime Minister’s advice. There would be no turning back once that bridge is crossed. This should weigh heavily on those inclined to vote for Muhyiddin.


Muhyiddin should take no comfort with the Agung’s proforma expression of confidence hidden deep in the Council of Rulers’ statement. To be noted, Muhyiddin’s name was not mentioned, only the office.


The message from the Agung and the Council of Rulers was not even subtle. As a distracting aside, but one not missed, is that the four Governors were not in the decision. Ever wonder why the secessionist movement in East Malaysia is gaining traction or that citizens in Penang and Malacca feel left out?


Muhyiddin never indicated or even hinted on why he would need the sweeping powers of the Emergency Ordinance to fight Covid-19. If he did, then the Agung, like the rest of Malaysia, was not impressed.


The most egregious violators of the current public health measures on Covid-19 are Muhyiddin’s ministers and party officials. Emergency Rule would not change his ability to deal with that.


The obvious but unacknowledged fact is that Muhyiddin is an ineffectual leader; he could not lead even his ministers. All he knows is how to buy their loyalty through bribery, with public money. His cabinet is bloated for a reason.


Being weak is bad enough but Muhyiddin is also incompetent. He is not even Peter Principles personified (being promoted beyond one’s competence). Muhyiddin has been incompetent all along.


            Muhyiddin faces two choices:  Resign with grace, or face the prospect of an ugly and highly divisive “no-confidence” vote in Parliament and then be hauled out. No Malaysian Prime Minister, save perhaps the first, has ever gone out with any sense of class.


Mahathir deluded himself as being indispensable. He thought he had performed a class act back in February 2020 by resigning. He had expected an outpouring of support, a reprise of his June 2001 decision. Instead he plunged Malaysia into her present unneeded, distracting, and divisive crisis. Welcome to his Vision 2020!


His predecessor Najib tried to escape to Indonesia in a private jet on the night of his May 9, 2018 election mauling. Vigilant citizens mobilized though social media thwarted his “planned vacation.”


Before him was sleepyhead Abdullah; he woke up and found himself out of office. Before him was Mahathir, Version 2001, with his staged melodrama that succeeded in his delaying his departure for two years.


We know what happened to Hussein Onn (ill health) and Tun Razak (death).


Only the first Prime Minister exited with a modicum of grace. As Tunku Abdul Rahman wrote in his memoir, had he known his Deputy, Razak, was desperate for the job, he (Tunku) would have resigned sooner. There was no need for Razak’s behind-the-back scheming that triggered the May 1969 riot. That was the first and only time Parliament was suspended and emergency rule by decree instituted.


Going by history, Muhyiddin would have to be chased out. On the other hand as per Muslims’ belief, everything is in Allah’s hands. We propose; He disposes. Malaysia might get that divine intervention.



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