THE outcome of the forthcoming six state polls on Aug 12 will not affect the standing of the federal government despite the opposition raising negative perceptions about the unity government in recent times.
This is because the state polls only concern the election of state legislative assembly members to form state governments in Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Penang as well as opposition-ruled Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, according to an Utusan Malaysia report.
In fact, rumours of a change in government can affect the country’s stability, restrict economic growth, affect investor confidence and give negative sentiment to the country’s economy.
Speaking to the Malay news portal, Political Sociology lecturer at the School of Social Sciences in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Prof Dr P. Sivamurugan said the formation of the federal government following last year’s 15th general election (GE15) came as a result of PH, Barisan Nasional (BN), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coming together to form a coalition government with the support of 148 MPs.
Elaborating, he said even if the outcome of the state polls be less encouraging for both PH and BN, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s leadership at federal level remains intact.
In fact, on Dec 19 last year, Anwar won the vote of confidence in the Dewan Rakyat thus proving that he has the support from two-thirds majority in Parliament.
“[The current PH government] has the support of 148 MPs compared to before GE15 where they only had a slim majority which had later led to the retraction of support and eventually, the fall of the government,” said Sivamurugan.
“Surely the opposition, who feels that the people’s support is in their favour, will raise questions about the strength of the federal government after the state polls although this will not change anything unless there should be a vote of no-confidence in the future.”
Previously, Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin urged voters in the upcoming elections for six states to treat the contest as a referendum against the PH-BN coalition government, which he claimed had failed to resolve the people’s bread-and-butter issues.
In response, Anwar had challenged the opposition to bring a motion of no-confidence against him at the next Dewan Rakyat session while giving assurance that he will not reject such a motion if it is presented to the House Speaker Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani.
Rather than creating an atmosphere that could threaten investor confidence in the country which could later lead to adverse effects on the country’s economy, Sivamurugan said that the opposition should have a thought for the future of the country instead.
“The anti-party hopping law that is currently in place gives assurance of the unity government’s strength as it will prevent MPs from the government bloc from retracting their support,” he noted.
“Any MPs’ failure to comply with their party’s instructions to continue supporting the government may cause them to lose their position as MPs, thereby triggering a by-election.
“However, I believe this is a path they will not take as these MPs will have to go through the harrowing process of facing a by-election and possibly incurring the wrath of the people. At the same time, their victory in the by-election isn’t even guaranteed.
As such, Sivamurugan said Anwar should make the necessary changes, including a Cabinet reshuffle after the state polls by taking steps to restore the people’s confidence in the parties that support the unity government. – Aug 1, 2023
Main pic credit: Bloomberg