What started off as Malay unity Government in the Sheraton Move (Malaysian political crisis 20-2021) on 23rd Feb 2020 may collapse.
The Sheraton Move is an ongoing political crisis in Malaysia that has led to the appointment of Muhyiddin Yassin as the 8th prime minister. It also oversaw the ousting of the coalition government of Pakatan Harapan after having ruled the nation for 22 months following their unprecedented victory in the 2018 Malaysian general election, and replacement with the Perikatan Nasional government.
It must not be forgotten that its initiation of a backdoor Government Malay race-based Perikatan Nasional (PN) Government that led to the crisis today.
The Malay unity with UMNO ended yesterday (3rd Aug 2021) with the party pulling out its support for the ruling backdoor PN Government.
Updating the latest development, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is not quitting, despite the pressure by Umno and other opposition parties for him to do so. He said today that the issue of him resigning does not arise as he still enjoys sufficient support in the Dewan Rakyat.
Surrounded by a phalanx of ministers, including Umno’s deputy prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Muhyiddin said in a televised address at noon today that his government will table a motion of confidence in the Dewan Rakyat in Sept to test his majority.
Currently, talk is rife among political leaders on the need for a unity Government. Race-based politics obsession entrenched in Malaysia has become a major stumbling block to unifying a multiracial nation. It will continue to worsen if a unity government is not in the making.
The Malaysian 14th General Election (GE14) results saw the formation of a unity government of different races on 10th May 2018.
Pakatan Harapan (PH) was formed when some multiracial political parties joined hands for a better and united tomorrow in Malaysia. They joined forces regardless of their differences in order to form a unity government. PH defeated the 61-year-old Barisan Nasional Government led by leaders charged in court for corruption.
Twenty-two months later, saw the demise of PH Government when its Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned on 24th Feb 2021 from the internal pressure of component party leaders.
Several civil society organisations condemned the move to form a PN backdoor Malay unity government led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, saying such an action was not only undemocratic but was also a betrayal of voters in the 14th General Election.
Currently, Malaysia is going through a political crisis as political parties and leaders pull out from PN.
Once it is proven that Muhyiddin has lost his majority, he then either tenders the resignation of the entire Cabinet, or he requests that the King Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong consent to the dissolution of Parliament. The Agong may or may not consent to the dissolution of Parliament. It is the Agong’s discretion.
Parliament reconvened last week in the midst of tension grew between the palace and the prime minister. Malaysians were left wondering if anything will change.
“Malaysians must demand change now. The crisis facing the country is not one about the failure of democracy. The country never had a true democracy anyway, despite the colonial trimmings.
One major reason we have failed is that our political economy is largely race-based – the antithesis of democracy. Racist policies remain in place as some of our leaders continue to espouse racial views,” said columnist Chandran Nair, founder, and CEO of Global Institute for Tomorrow.
“The only thing that can save the country is a mindset shift within the populace and for it to demand a leadership reboot. Malaysians have witnessed first-hand the ineptitude of their politicians and the damage done to once-strong institutions.
The citizens will hopefully no longer be seduced by racial politics and instead will demand competence and integrity. This could be the start of a long-overdue revolution,” Chandran noted in his column To save Malaysia, end racism and put technocrats in charge published in FreeMalaysiaToday.com
The first step, he proposed to install an interim technocratic government, comprising the most able professionals, based solely on their technical expertise, personal integrity, and proven performance.
Being time-bound and accountable need to be critical features of this technocratic government. It will be a transition government, a stopgap measure to steer Malaysia back on course. It will need to have a watertight check and balance system to deter the invisible hands of vested interests, finding a back door into the interim government.
“This is not a new concept as it has been deployed before in Malaysia during the leadership of Abdul Razak Hussein in the early ’70s, and also elsewhere when elected governments became unstable and untenable.
But we need to act swiftly. The first and most acceptable way forward would be for the prime minister to step down and inform the King that he believes it is in the best interests of the country that a government led by technocrats be put in place,” Chandran added.
He called on the population to play a key part in making sure they demand change and are heard. Business groups should make their opinions clear, not simply about business policies but about the root cause of the current malice and put forth concrete proposals. Civil society groups need to do the same and mobilise the public to send the message loud and clear.
“If the PM is unwilling to graciously step down, the Conference of Rulers could exercise its influence so as to facilitate a change in the current leadership, with the backing of elected representatives. Unprecedented times call for radical interventions.
A mechanism needs to be found to work within the constitutional constraints, so that the Rulers can appoint a technocrat to form the Cabinet and run the country for a fixed period of perhaps three to five years, with autonomy to make decisions, and with parliamentary select committees overseeing the newly appointed Cabinet, thus ensuring a healthy system of check and balance.”
In the final analysis, Malaysians will realize that any race-based Government like PN Government, which failed miserably, is not viable anymore. Political observers are convinced that a multiracial unity Government is a solution for the nation’s economic growth and progress.
M. Krishnamoorthy is a freelance journalist and has been a local producer for CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Australian TV networks. He has also freelanced for the New York Times, TIME, Sydney Morning Herald and worked for The Star and New Straits for 35 years. He is the author of six books and his latest May 9 — People Power Saves Malaysia — Mahathir Leads the Way, was the bestseller for five months last year following the GE 14 in Malaysia. Last year, he retired as Associate Professor at an international university.
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