Does Mahathir have the majority support of the 222 MPs? Or does Anwar have the majority support instead? We will not know until the vote of confidence is done. However, most of Umno right down to the grassroots do not want Mahathir (even if some Umno leaders may want Mahathir). It was Mahathir who destroyed Umno (once in 1987 and again 30 years later in 2017). So most of Umno want nothing to do with Mahathir.
They say one week is a long time in politics. Well, it is now 644 days since GE14 in May 2018 and much has changed since then.
DAP leaders say the people have decided and have given Pakatan Harapan the mandate. Hence the vote of confidence that PAS plans to table before Parliament violates the wishes of the people.
What the people wanted on 9th May 2018 and what the people want today has changed. When you were 18 your needs were different than what they would be when you are 48. And when you are 78 your needs again would change.
So, needs, wants or wishes are not static. And, as PAS explained, they want this obsession with the succession to be settled once and for all so that the government can get down to the running of the country and solve the many problems the country is facing — such as the economy, high cost of living, lack of transparency and accountability, abuse of power, corruption, cronyism, nepotism, polarisation, religious differences, deterioration of the education system, selective prosecution, etc.
The question of who should be the Prime Minister needs to be resolved as the country is being run on autopilot
Yes, there is a long list of issues that need resolving but the entire country is focused on just one issue — which is, should Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad retire or step down as Prime Minister and hand power to Anwar Ibrahim on or before 10th May 2020?
Anyway, ultimately the 222 Members of Parliament have to decide. Whoever becomes the Prime Minister has to be from amongst the 222 MPs and the MP who commands the confidence of the majority of the House gets to become the PM.
His Majesty the Agong will have a say in the succession from PM7 to PM8 if more than 112 MPs vote for a change of PM and in a standoff can dissolve Parliament to make way for GE15
By convention, His Majesty the Agong will appoint the leader of the party with the majority seats in Parliament as the Prime Minister. In 1957, the Agong, His Majesty Tuanku Abdul Rahman, appointed Tunku Abdul Rahman as Malaysia’s first Prime Minister because the Alliance Party won 51 of the 52 seats in the 1955 election. (PAS or PMIP won the other one).
Out of the 51 seats, Umno won 34 — with MCA winning 15 and MIC 2. Hence Umno gets to become Prime Minister and since the Tunku was the party leader then he would be Prime Minister.
In 1964, Umno won 59 seats against 27 for MCA and 18 for all the others.
In 1969, the “worse” election for Umno since 1955, Umno still won 51 seats against 52 for all the others. But since the Alliance Party won a combined 66 seats versus 37 for all the others, Tunku Abdul Rahman still got to become Prime Minister.
But in the 2018 general election or GE14 this was not the case.
Umno is far stronger now than it was in 2018 and is going to decide who becomes PM8
In 2018, Umno won the highest number of seats: which was 54. Next came PKR with 47, followed by DAP with 42. PAS won 18 seats. Mahathir’s party, PPBM, won only 13 seats while Mat Sabu’s party, PAN, won 11 seats. In East Malaysia, Warisan got 8 seats, PPB 13, and PRS 3. Nine other parties won 1 or 2 seats each and 17 parties got zero.
Yes, 35 parties and four coalitions contested GE14 in May 2018 with Umno winning the highest number of seats followed by PKR, DAP and PAS. PPBM was at number five and at par with PPB from Sarawak. Yet Mahathir got to become Prime Minister instead of one of the party leaders from Umno, PKR or DAP.
Well, Mahathir was appointed the Prime Minister not because his party won the highest number of seats but because PKR, DAP and PAN combined their seats with PPBM’s seats to give Mahathir a total of 113 seats — versus 109 seats for the other 31 parties that contested the general election. Even Pakatan Harapan versus Barisan Nasional would be 113 versus 79.
In short, Mahathir became Prime Minister although he won only 13 or 5.86% of the seats at the pleasure of PKR, DAP and PAN. Ever heard the saying, “you serve at my pleasure?” Well, in this case it is true. Mahathir serves at the pleasure of Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng and Mat Sabu.
Dr Mahathir is Prime Minister because Anwar Ibrahim, Kit Siang, Guan Eng and Mat Sabu say so and not because he controls the majority seats in Parliament
And as far as Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng and Mat Sabu are concerned, Mahathir will serve as Prime Minister at their pleasure for only two years, after which he must retire.
So, some say Mahathir should resign and hand power to Anwar in May. Some say Mahathir should not resign but serve his full term until GE15. Until then the country is on autopilot and all the problems remain unresolved. Hence we need to resolve this matter once and for all and decide who should be the Prime Minister so that they can get down to the business of running the country.
Does Mahathir have the majority support of the 222 MPs? Or does Anwar have the majority support instead? We will not know until the vote of confidence is done. However, most of Umno right down to the grassroots do not want Mahathir (even if some Umno leaders may want Mahathir). It was Mahathir who destroyed Umno (once in 1988 and again 30 years later in 2018). So most of Umno want nothing to do with Mahathir.
The question is: will Umno follow Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Najib Tun Razak, Mohamad Hasan or Hishammuddin Hussein? As it stands today, many in Umno not only will follow Najib but Najib’s support is increasing and he is gaining popularity. And Najib is NOT with Mahathir.
Najib is not a spent force and still very much has Umno grassroots support
So, is Najib then with Anwar? Not yet, but if Anwar plays his cards right and sits down with Najib to discuss terms then most of Umno will choose Anwar over Mahathir.
And the same goes for Sabah and Sarawak. If they are asked to choose between two devils, they would choose the lesser of the two devils, Anwar, and will stay far away from Mahathir, the father of “Projek M”, like you would the coronavirus.
Yes, in a straight race between Anwar and Mahathir, Umno, Sabah and Sarawak would choose Anwar. Hence PAS’ vote of confidence will lose. Mahathir will not get at least 112 votes that would be required for him to stay in office. Mahathir will scrape through with less than 100 votes and will need to step down and hand power to Anwar.
That is the sentiment as at 12th February 2020.
But the one week is a long time in politics and 10th May 2020 is 88 days away. And even I might swing from supporting Mahathir to remain as Prime Minister till GE15 to resign and hand power to Anwar by May 2020. That’s politics where there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies and kawan jadi lawan, lawan jadi kawan overnight.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin