By Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
The Perikatan Nasional coalition of rag tag parties combined in haste and expediency is an extremely weak group. The decision to hold a one-day parliament session is ultimate proof of its weakness. Despite rewarding the MPs of lucrative positions whether they are qualified or not, it is still worried of a no-confidence motion.
In this article, I wish to outline the real threats to the PN government that may see it fall as early as in the July seating. Unless of course there is another 'COVID-19 outbreak danger' and another one hour seating is called for. Two times is usually the magic number.
The first real threat to the PN government is not from itself but from the Pakatan Harapan coalition. If, and this is an extremely BIG IF, the leadership issue is resolved then the PH and Bersatu faction comes together and that would spell disaster for the PN. The only way PH can mount a serious or credible offensive is if Mahathir was chosen to lead the charge with Anwar as his deputy. But will Anwar trust the old man again. Of course not, but then what are the choices left? The question of Mahathir giving up the Prime Minister post to Anwar is a forgone conclusion. Tun M clearly wants to die in the power seat of Perdana Putra, the building and city he built. Tun M still commands a huge influence on Bersatu and the Malay elites in the public like G25. Civil society leaders may not like him and his private Games of Thrones but they would not stomach the PN releasing those who are accused of corruption and allowing them to possibly rob the country blind again. Will Anwar be the bigger man or will he follow his vanity of 'I must be PM before I die because I waited 20 years for it' attitude? If he says Ok-lah, I give up the PMship, then PN is in deep trouble.
The second threat to the PN coalition is the non-Malay MPs. At the moment, there are a few being appointed in the cabinet. With the razor thin margin of majority, if these non-Malay MPs leave the coalition and join PH, then PN will fall. But for this to happen, two things must come into play. First, there must be a strong push by all non-Malay citizenry to send a clear message to parties such as MCA, MIC and others that this act of working with an all Malay government that defines morality through loyalty, position and money will be the end of the parties. Parties such as MCA should not be buoyed by their landslide win in Tanjung Piai. Tanjung Piai was a rejection of Bersatu and a clear angry message to Tun M of enough with his 1990s politics of a Malay dominant agenda and Third National Car. If the people of Malaysia can lean heavily on these non-Malay race based parties, the MPs would have no choice but to forego their personal interest of being wealthy by burying their own political party's future. Might as well dig their graves now. Secondly, the PH must entice these non-Malay MPs of positions that may be equivalent to what they are getting now for the sake of returning the people's mandate.
The third threat to the PN is if the PH coalition can name their shadow cabinet now and clearly show that there is a slightly greater number of Malays in it, then it could be a game changer. But old politicians like Tun M and Anwar will never name their shadow cabinets because they need the positions to be fluid in order to reward their tribal followers. I don't see this happening but it is possible if PH was under a new and young leadership. Now, that would include the fourth threat.
The fourth threat is an interesting one. This would give Malaysian a real look into a new and brighter future rather than the dark path of Tun M mega ideas or Anwar's Islamization agenda. If Rafizi Ramli can return to be the GE15 Prime Minister candidate with Khalid Samad or Zairil Khir Johari as the Deputy PM, that would fire the imagination of the young people and PH would win the election hands down. But will the old guards like Anwar and Tun M or Mukhriz let that happen? That is a sucker's bet! But this is the most exciting thing that can happen.
The fifth threat is also exciting, long overdue but may not easily be done…although doable. Malay groups like G25 must spear head two important entities. The first entity is easily done which is establishing a real and genuine Institute of Malay Civilizational Discourse that would see it commanding an army of bright, young Malay academics who have the true hearts of Malaysia. These are NOT Islamic Reformist, not UMNO has-beens nor agents of PERKASA or ISMA. These Malay intellectuals must write, talk and make videos of how Malays can move forward in the 22nd century into the Global Scenario and leave their 'Melayu malas, perasan and sombong' mindset. The second entity is the organizing of the Third Force in Malaysian politics. G25, with the help from civil society groups can put up 100 candidates for MPs and 200 candidates for the State Representatives. Malaysians, I think are ready to pitch in money, sweat and their hopes in order to retake Malaysia for Malaysians. With a command of a third of the parliamentary and state seats, the people, not the political parties or vain politicians, will be in control of our future.
Thus, these are the threats which I think are very real for the PN coalition. In order to stave off these threats the PN must rethink its strategy of rewarding unqualified MPs into positions and replace them with real professionals and a 60-40 multi-racial administrative make up. Shock the opposition by acknowledging the UEC. Put the killing blow by appointing a few non-Malay and non-Muslim Vice Chancellors. Provide significant funding for Chinese Independent Schools and give 20% financial support to 100 private universities. With simple decisions like that there would be no hope for a PH assault for the next three years.
Of course, the PN can change all that after they win GE15. It's just another day in Malaysia.
(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university.)