For a layman, the politics in Malaysia gets more complicated every passing day, and by now, you should be wondering if Malaysia has one of the most complicated Governments in the world.
What if I tell you that this, while not common, is actually relatively normal?
So normal that you can just head down to Netflix and watch a drama that had almost the same storyline?
The show is Borgen, and it’s about the politics in Denmark. Similar to Malaysia, the opposition, comprising a few political parties coming together to overthrow the incumbent Government, won the election and shortly after that, disagreements between the parties lead to…erm, many changes and also parties switching sides.
Now that you know this is totally legal and could be happening elsewhere as well, let’s look at what’s happening in Malaysia first.
Malaysia’s House of Cards
So, Anwar is the head of People’s Justice Party (PKR), one of the parties in the coalition that overthrew the previous government.
So, usually, when the coalition won, the ministries would be given to certain parties.
To give you an example that’s easier to digest, let’s say that in Singapore, the opposition wins the majority, with WP winning the most number of seats, while PSP and SDP winning the other seats.
The opposition parties have come together to form a coalition called Goody Party.
When that happens, someone from WP will most likely get to be the Prime Minister, while the Education Minister can be from PSP and the Transport Minister can be from SDP.
However, all ministries must be from Goody Party and not PAP.
These ministries are called a “Government”.
To form the Government, Goody Party must have a majority of the seats; if, for example, PSP decides to join PAP to form a coalition called Baddy Party, and that’d mean that Baddy Party has more seats, then the Government should be formed by Baddy Party instead.
You can see that in Singapore, it’s not complicated because we’ve one party forming the Government. That’s not very common in other countries.
So, in Malaysia, what happened earlier is that a disagreement (or many disagreements) led to parties in the coalition changing sides—you can read more about it here, but the whole idea is that if parties keep changing sides, the ministers will keep changing too because the Government is made up of a coalition.
Now it’s a tad tricky because we don’t know who’s the majority in Malaysia now.
Remember I mention that this is uncommon but pretty normal?
So when this happens, an election is called to…erm, reset the whole thingy lah.
So far, it’s unknown if an election, also called a “snap election” because it’s totally unscheduled, would be called. This is for obvious reasons: when the house of cards fell in Malaysia, the battle against COVID-19 intensified. There are rumours that the snap election would be called by March 2021, though.
But now, Anwar has come out to solve the problem. Supposedly, that is.
Anwar Claimed to have the Majority
Remember: everything will be back to normal if a group of MPs form a majority, regardless of which parties they’re from.
Today, Anwar, the person who was promised the role of PM, has come out to say that he has the support to form a majority—which means he can form the Government. This means a snap election isn’t required.
He said, “Conclusively, we have a strong, formidable majority. We are not talking four or five (majority) we are talking much more than that.”
He mentioned that he has close to two-third support, which is a lot considering that you just need more than half to be a majority. He declined to reveal the number, saying that Agong should be the first person to know it first.
Reporters of course asked if Dr Mahathir is one of the MPs on his side. He said, “Not yet, he may decide later.”
In fact, he was supposed to meet Agong (that is the King; think of him as the President of Singapore) to discuss this, but that was postponed as Agong was being treated the National Heart Institute. He’ll reveal more information after he has spoken to the King.
What happened after that, whether a new coalition is formed or whether MPs would move to one party, isn’t revealed yet.
Now that you understand what this all means, below is Anwar’s full statement which should make sense to you:
I would like to thank the media for joining us today on short notice.
The people of Malaysia deserve leadership which can navigate effectively during these turbulent times. Instead, we have an unstable government whose inability to handle the crisis is driving the country towards an economic recession and rising racial tension.
We have not seen it mobilize all the country’s resources and capabilities to face the crisis head on. What has happened, instead, is the government has been busy distributing positions, appointments and contracts in order to cling to extremely bare and razor-thin majority in Parliament.
It is difficult for us to know what the 70 ministers are doing. We have never been informed about the deliberations taking place in the Cabinet. Until now – seven months after taking office during a unprecedented national and international crisis — the Prime Minister has not held a single press conference following his regular Cabinet meeting.
I have been approached by a number of MPs from various parties who expressed their deep dissatisfaction with the current leadership. They recognize that the country must have strong, stable and accountable leadership to manage the crisis and to do so with compassion and concern for the plight of all people who are struggling in this pandemic economy. They have expressed their support for me to take over the government now.
I have received convincing support from Members of Parliament for me to present to His Majesty the Yang Dipertuan Agong. I wish to state here that the majority of MPs supporting me are Malay and Muslim.
I would like to mention that I was granted an audience to meet His Majesty Yang di-Pertuan Agong yesterday, Tuesday 21 September at 11 am. The meeting was postponed due to the fact that he was being treated the National Heart Institute.
However, through a telephone conversation on Tuesday night, I prayed for his speedy recovery and health.
With a clear and indisputable support and majority behind me, the government led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has fallen. I will meet with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong when he regains his health and will provide more information to the public about what happens next.
This government will represent all people, with majority Malay-Bumiputra and fair representation of all races in this country. We are committed to uphold the principles of the constitution that recognises the position of Islam, the sovereignty of the Malay rulers and uphold the position of the Malay language as the official language and the special position of the Malays and Bumiputra as well as give assurance to defend the rights of all races.
Lastly, I would like to say to all Malaysians: I promise to form a government with integrity and commitment to address the crisis that befell the country, and put an end to corruption and fight for the wellbeing of the people. Insha’Allah I will fulfill my promise to make Malaysia a prosperous, peaceful and just country for all its people.
You can also watch his press conference here (a mixture of Malay and English):
Kenyataan penuh saya berhubung situasi politik terkini tengahari tadi. Kepada Allah SWT kita berserah.
Posted by Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday, 22 September 2020