‘No end to Malaysia’s political dilemma – even after GE-15’

The Covid-19 pandemic and the political instability in the country are not auguring well for the economy, raising questions on how Malaysia will bounce back.

Adding to the uncertainty is a looming general election this year which may cause everything to go south for Malaysia, says Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Assoc Prof Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk.

“With the political situation not getting better by the day, what’s happening in the country is alarming, especially for the future generation,” said Azeem who is USM’s Centre for Policy Research and International Studies director.

“We now have two groups of politicians within the ruling coalition – Umno and Bersatu – who are one and the same but strangely fighting each another and causing instability in the country.”

He highlighted the recent unprecedented letter by Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said to Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun. In her letter, Azalina called for the setting up of an emergency Cabinet and questioned why Parliament cannot be in session.

Azeem said the letter showed a clash of ideologies among those within the ruling coalition.

“One would expect the opposition to be raising such questions. There’s just a lot of confusion and this is making people fed-up,” he said.

Azeem said one possible reason why Parliament was not in session is that the government of the day no longer enjoyed majority support. It could also be Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s “way of doing things”.

“The Prime Minister may want a free hand to administer the country and navigate the Covid-19 situation,” he said.

Muhyiddin, during his televised speech following a declaration of emergency last month, assured the people a general election will be on the horizon as soon as the emergency is lifted. The state of emergency is set to last until Aug 1.

“We may go to the polls in October after Parliament is dissolved in August. But even then we will not know which political party or coalition will be able to form the government given the on-going political games.

“Umno and Bersatu cannot see eye to eye on many issues. We could also be staring at a hung Parliament,” he said.

“It looks like we have to just live with the present situation for a while even if we know the government of the day does not have the numbers in the Dewan Rakyat,” said Azeem.

Azeem added with the Movement Control Order still enforced in key economic states namely Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Penang, and with people not being able to travel inter-district and state, the economy would “go down south”.

“Hotels and businesses are closing down, people are losing jobs as we speak. How long can people be relying on their EPF (Employees Provident Fund) savings?”

“It’s still calm right now. But there will be a storm once the people don’t have enough to eat,” he said.

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