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Malaysia Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad blasted a Democratic Action Party (DAP) leader for criticising his style of running the country, in a first against a Pakatan Harapan coalition partner.
The MP from Klang, Charles Santiago, said there should be a halt to Dr Mahathir’s decision-making using his unilateral powers as PM.
Dr Mahathir replied with cynicism saying next time around when he is deciding on something he will consult the MP first. He even said he will ask the MP whether he can make decisions by himself and whether he as the PM can do such-and-such a thing or not.
Pakatan Harapan came to power with a manifesto rigged with challenges for the ruling coalition. The government carried out many of these promises but some key and very important ones remain outstanding.
A key element is a form of control of the Prime Minister’s powers or the setting of a definite term for the PM to hold power.
In the meantime, Dr Mahathir is making full use of the established powers of the Prime Minister, deciding without consulting the Pakatan leadership.
Some of the decisions taken by Dr Mahathir are the imposition of the Khat or Islamic calligraphy in vernacular schools and the appointment of a Parti Keadilan Rakyat or Justice Party member as the anti-graft chief.
Justice Party member Latheefa Koya quit her party post the day before taking over as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s head.
This created a rift within Pakatan because the coalition members wanted the PM to consult them on appointments for major posts.
Latheefa’s appointment was also seen as a challenge to PM-to-be Anwar Ibrahim because she is known for her criticism of Anwar.
Anwar was her leader in the party but she constantly attacked him on his decision making and leadership.
Santiago wrote in his Facebook page that Dr Mahathir is taking the liberty to make decisions despite coming from a minority party in the Pakatan.
Dr Mahathir’s party is Bersatu and it has only a dozen MP’s until recently when Umno members left their party to join Dr Mahathir’s party giving it 26 seats in Parliament.
Thus it is not the smallest party in the Pakatan anymore and Santiago got it wrong, perhaps.
The smallest party in the Pakatan to date is the Amanah, a splinter group from the Islamists Party Islam se-Malaysia.
Santiago vented his concern regarding the imposition of Islamic calligraphy in Chinese and Tamil language schools.
People had come in droves to vote for Pakatan from both communities in the last elections. A large majority voted for Pakatan.
Santiago went further in his criticism of Dr Mahathir saying he was certain the PM and the minister of education Dr Maszlee Malik knew of the sensitivities regarding Khat before it was mooted.
This got Dr M firing back at the MP on whether the latter has the same capacity as the PM. -/TISG