“Ignorance is strength”
– 1984, George Orwell
Events, actions, inactions, missteps ranging from downright arrogance to utter stupidity by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government are threatening to destroy democracy in a nation that elected freedom over totalitarianism.
Last week, a seeming simple motion by the Melaka State Assembly to nominate State PKR chief Halim Bachik as a senator faced an embarrassing defeat with 12 votes in favour and 13 votes against.
Defeat and spectacular losses in by-elections and State Assemblies are now the norm for the PH government in just over 19 months after coming to power.
This embarrassing defeat comes hot on the heels of the Nov 16 loss of PH’s candidate in the Tanjung Piai by election by an MCA candidate, which is aligned, to the ousted BN/Umno alliance that ruled the nation for 61 years.
Analysts and political pundits have put the blame squarely on factional infighting in PKR. The Senatorial candidate, Malacca PKR chief Halim Bachik, was slotted to be the governing coalition’s nominee for the Upper House or Dewan Negara.
But, PKR, apparently had its knickers in twist when two of its state representatives, Ginie Lim and Muhammad Jailani Khamis had left the assembly hall just prior to the count.
Speculation is that Halim, who is aligned to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, while Lim and Jailani who are part of deputy president Azmin Ali, paid the price of being on the wrong side of the political divide within a divided PKR.
The action by Lim and Jailani allowed the motion to be rejected in a state where PH controls a slim majority. Harapan has 15 elected assembly persons in the 28-member assembly. However, G Saminathan of the DAP was absent as he is being detained over his alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Once the vote for Halim was rejected, the State Assembly went into chaos with the State opposition leader Idris Haron from Umno, proposing that the house nominates Melaka Umno chief Abdul Rauf Yusoh as senator. He then asked for the matter to be put to a vote immediately.
The ensuing argument then descended into a heated exchange between the Opposition and the ruling PH assemblypersons.
The matter was put to rest after consultations with the state legal adviser Mohamad Abazafree Mohd Abbas who said any motion must be notified to the speaker beforehand.
But this entire episode may trigger a vote of no confidence against Malacca Chief Minister Adly Zahari after the state government failed to pass its own motion.
In reality, the state government faces being toppled if both Lim and Jailani fail to appear when it is time to vote again on the matter.
The fracture within PKR seems to be spreading with potentially damaging consequences to the entire PH governance, which has wafer-thin majorities in many State and Federal constituencies.
Democracy, while not perfect, seems to be crumbling at lightning speed in New Malaysia that only in May 2018, removed the shackles of a very restrictive and kleptocratic regime.-/TISG