There are a lot of rumours about the Malaysian political scene and more often than not the rumour mill is actually pretty accurate.
Under the Umno-BN rule, most of the rumours about the political plots in the country were actual happenings within the corridors of power.
And it appears this has not changed under the Pakatan Harapan government.
Rumours are flying around of an impending change of government or a Cabinet reshuffle and now the Islamic party PAS has added more fuel to the fire with their claim that there is going to be a motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
However, Dr Mahathir remains tight-lipped on the matter.
Not many believed PAS when it says it wanted a meeting with Dr Mahathir to warn the Prime Minister of an impending vote of no confidence against his leadership.
PAS has been embroiled in a series of conflicting situations and has failed to come clean on a number of issues such as money laundering, corruption and its support for Umno and now its purported support for Dr Mahathir.
PKR president Anwar Ibrahim on Monday rubbished PAS’ claims of an impending Pakatan Harapan coup against Dr Mahathir saying the motive behind the Islamist party’s claims were aimed at covering up the RM90 million issue it is currently mired in.
Some say that the party pocketed more than RM90 million! PAS is currently being investigated by graft-busters on this issue which was said to have transpired during the reign of UMNO’s Najib Razak as PM.
In addition to all this local newspapers have published rumours of an impending break-up between PKR’s Azmin Ali to join Dr Mahathir’s Bersatu party.
These rumours were denied, and Azmin and his alleged 20 followers are still members of the PKR, much to the relief of the party supporters and ‘reformasi’ activists.
However, the pertinent question is what drives the rumour mill in Malaysia and why is it so important to pay attention to what the rumours are saying?
It took Malaysia 20 years to bring down the one party that ruled the country for 61 years. The fall of UMNO, indeed, has ramifications within the country’s business and monarchical domain.
But it has an even wider impact on neighbouring countries and it is being used as a yardstick for change across Asean.
In Singapore, the new Malaysia narrative has inspired a retired political figure to form a new political party.
The aim is perhaps to create a momentum that would result in a regime change, or at least a bigger shift in the political spectrum in Singapore.
A look around the Asean region shows a lack of political change in most countries, with either one-party ruling for decades with little scope for a reversal in the process, or a monarchy in absolute control.
There is also the fact that the two most vibrant democracies in the region, Indonesia and the Philippines, are not politically stable enough to influence the rest of Asean to adopt strong democratic principles.
Nevertheless, Malaysia has the mettle to establish a rare example for the rest of the Asean.
But the success of Malaysia as a democratic country will depend solely on how the present government of Dr Mahathir Mohamad handles the situation amid the scuffle and confusion created by the rumour mill.
The Pakatan Harapan government has to officially decide on its next move, in terms of leadership, leapfrogging of the tainted MP’s from the previous kleptocratic regime and in terms of its immediate reform agenda.
Rumour also has it that PAS had to meet with Dr Mahathir not only to give their ‘support’ to the latter, but also to press hard to prevent Anwar Ibrahim from acceding to power.
However, the people of Malaysia voted wisely in 2018. They did not give Dr Mahathir’s party enough seats to clamp down against immediate opponents within the PH.
They gave Anwar and his buddies in the DAP enough seats to impose their views on the current government.
The people also gave the opposition PAS-Umno enough seats to play a strong opposition role, but both parties are suffering from a blow to their ego.
Bersatu has offered the PAS-Umno a way out of their own political impasse, but this is dangerously close to imploding the PH due to resistance from hard-core reform leaders who do not see the influx of ex-kleptocrats within their ranks.
But there are indications that PAS and Umno are both as unstable as PH at the moment. There is no certainty that 18 PAS MP’s will really support Dr Mahathir if they are needed to keep the elderly statesman in power beyond 2020.
There is also no certainty the remaining Umno MP’s will remain in opposition or will remain as Umno MP’s altogether. The fire is burning and revolt is brewing within both formations.
It is only a question of time before we see who would dump Dr Mahathir and who will break their own parties to join Anwar Ibrahim and his gang.Follow us on Social Media
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