Let’s keep the faith

There have been so many changes, flip-flops and drama in recent days.

Everything was almost instantaneous, faster than we can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

But the mood to describe most ordinary Malaysians is nothing but the feeling of betrayal, anger and disappointment.

Just as we thought we were on track to improving our economy in the face of the Covid-19 global health threat, we got side-tracked by self-gain political chameleons.

Many Malaysians will now have to deal with the current political turmoil instead of the real issue of livelihood at hand.

Barely two years ago, Malaysians voted to change a government linked to corruption, kleptocracy and religious bigotry. Twenty-two months later, we are back to square one where our new government was formed through the alliance of Bersatu, PAS and Umno which the rakyat had voted out.

For East Malaysians, there is so much negativity towards West Malaysian politics which is fuelled with religious sentiments. And for the longest time, they have been seen as the ‘king makers’ in Malaysian politics.

According to political scientist from Universiti Putra Malaysia, Professor Dr Jayum Anak Jawan, Sarawak and Sabah continue to be important in any power configuration at the federal level.

“Muhyiddin’s (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) ascension as Prime Minister was made possible with the support of East Malaysian MPs,” he told Twentytwo13.

So it all boils down to a game of numbers. Former political master Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad under Pakatan Harapan has claimed they have 114 MPs in support, including those from East Malaysia. Muhyiddin, who was appointed by the King to be Prime Minister, also claimed to have garnered the majority but has yet to reveal the numbers.

So have our MPs really thrown in their hats in support of an alliance which consists of Umno and PAS, which are seen to be corrupt and fuelled with race politics?

Last year, the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition consisting of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Progressive Democratic Party( PDP) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), left BN to distant themselves from those parties.

This was to rebrand their image in preparation of the impending state elections.

Jayum said: “Sarawakians and their leaders are united in reclaiming their rights under MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963). Sarawak’s Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg made it clear that support by GPS for the national coalition is conditional upon respecting these rights.

“Depending on how Muhyiddin manages this will determine the sustainability of his (federal) government, especially in the next few weeks or months ahead.

“Struggle for power is a normal part of the political process.”

“It occurs due to the need for realignment in the post-election period to account for changing preferences that lawmakers see have shifted since the last election,” Jayum added.

On Monday, Muhyiddin in his maiden speech, appealed to Malaysians to give him the opportunity to steer the country to new heights. He also gave the assurance that he would appoint Cabinet members of calibre and integrity and with a clean track record.

We will just have to wait and if he is true to his word to stay away from politicians who are marred with corruption when his Cabinet line-up is announced.

GPS’ chief whip Datuk Seri FadillahYusof was also reported to have said that claims that the state coalition was with PAS and Umno simply because they support Muhyiddin as the new prime minister were baseless.

“The Prime Minister has been appointed and everyone must honour the Agong’s decision which adhered to the Federal Constitution. We should now focus on ensuring the development and prosperity of the country,” he added.

And rightly so. Sarawak’s 12th state election will be held soon, with its current assembly term ending in June next year. Sarawak is the only state that holds its state election separate from the parliamentary polls.

Who knows, it may likely be called simultaneously with the national election if Parliament is dissolved at the federal level in May.

When that time comes, make sure our voices are heard again, just like in the last general election.

I don’t think democracy is dead. We may have a curve ball thrown at us as we deal with self-gain political chameleons, but the people’s voices will be heard again the next time we head to the ballot boxes.

As American civil rights leader John Lewis had said: “We must keep the faith, keep our eyes on the prize. We must go out and vote like we never voted before”.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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