AMID a hyper fluid situation with political coalitions jostling back and forth as to who is their best unity government partner candidate, perhaps the darndest thing to do now is just to leave it to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and his royal Council of Rulers to determine who should be Malaysia’s 10th Prime Minister (PM).
As it is, today marks the fifth day of a stalemate with all crucial policy matters especially those pertaining to the country’s ailing economy left in shambles.
If coalition leaders and/or component party members are so indecisive given they are likely to have personal interest at stake with whoever they decide to select as partners, then it should at best be left to Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah to call the ultimate shot so long as he weighs the wishes of his subjects fairly by taking into account the final GE15 tally.
Last night (Nov 23), the UMNO supreme council chaired by its president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has unanimously decided to support and obey the King’s order for Barisan Nasional (BN) to support and be part in a unity government but caveated that it should not be led by Perikatan Nasional (PN).
Even though a rule is a rule, it has to be accepted that such stance is seemingly at odds with some of its 30-strong future UMNO MPs who would prefer the party to be in the Opposition or worst still, calling for Zahid to shoulder responsibility for the party’s dismal performance in the 15th General Election (GE15) by doing the honourable thing of resigning.
“The supreme council has unanimously decided to support and uphold the command of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for UMNO to support and take part in a unity government that is not led by PN to ensure the formation of a stable and prosperous government,” UMNO secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan pointed out in a statement early this morning (Nov 24).
Although he said such decision was made following the meeting’s review of both proposals from PN and rival Pakatan Harapan (PH), unless Zahid who is also the BN chairman is able to tone down the voices of dissent within his own party and that of the coalition’s component parties, the entire so-called ‘done deal’ is unlikely to hold water.
Recall that UMNO Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki has hit out at MCA president Wee Ka Siong over the party’s call for Barisan Nasional chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to step down following the coalition’s loss in the general election.
“He (Wee) should resign first because they contested 44 seats and only won two, both of which were Malay areas,” the Free Malaysia Today (FMT) news portal cited him as telling reporters at UMNO’s headquarters. “That means he has failed to win the support of Chinese voters and should take responsibility for it.”
Earlier, MCA secretary-general Datuk Chong Sin Woon described Zahid as having acted “completely out of line” by sending a letter to the King stating that all 30 BN MPs were backing PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as PM. That letter which has since gone viral was confirmed as authentic by MIC president Tan Sri S.A. Vigneswaran.
Another fraction loyal to Zahid led by Sungai Besar Umno division chief Datuk Seri Jamal Md Yunos has also called for Wee’s resignation following the party’s stance that Zahid should be replaced by his deputy Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan who is popularly known as Tok Mat as the new BN chief.
“So tomorrow (today, Nov 24), we the division leaders of UMNO will defend the position of Zahid as the BN chairman and the president of UMNO and we will ask Wee to resign, not the president of UMNO,” he demanded, noting that about a hundred UMNO division leaders will gather at 3pm at Riverfront today.
Sabah BN chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin also reiterated his call for UMNO to be firm in its decision to become the Opposition but that was prior to the issuance of the official UMNO stance. in the wee hours of today.
“We are committed to the status of being the Opposition but now the situation is different. As the Opposition we must be loud. Whether we are on this side or on the other side, we have to be loud,” he said in a statement issued last night (Nov 23).
“So, I hope all parties and BN remain calm. It is my opinion that we keep calm and trust UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.”
In fact, Tok Mat himself has said on Monday (Nov 21) that BN should just leave it to PH and PN to form a new coalition federal government while UMNO remains in the Opposition as “it should accept the will of the voters who rejected the coalition in the GE15”. – Nov 24, 2022