Written by Wong Choon Mei, Politics Now!
KUALA LUMPUR (Politics Now!) – Show of strength, show of false strength or a trap? Another month, another dreary controversy shrouds Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and his government. This week, another opposition MP – Bersatu’s Bukit Gantang rep Syed Abu Hassan – has declared support for Anwar in exchange for federal funding.
The fifth Bersatu MP to do so, Syed Abu Hassan took it a step further by hinting he was ready to take up a post in Anwar’s government.
“My question is, is the prime minister ready to welcome the willingness of MPs with the experience, expertise, and ability to help the people and develop the country’s economy?” Syed Abu told Parliament.
“I myself am ready to give and help the government create a civil society to deal with the rising price of goods and the cost of living by taking the ‘ibrah’ (lesson) of the Prophet Yusuf.”
“With this, Bukit Gantang declares its support for Tambun (Anwar) as the 10th prime minister and the idea of the Madani government,” Malay Mail reported him as saying.
DEFECTIONS SHOW ANWAR IS WEAK, NOT STRONG – MALAY SYMPATHY GOES TO MUHYIDDIN
Syed’s move is not unexpected given Anwar’s stubborn refusal to give opposition MPs any funding, but the timing of the move which comes just two days after both Bersatu and Anwar’s PKR held their party meetings caught many pundits by surprise.
Muhyiddin had pulled a ‘tear-jerker’ announcing he would not defend his presidency as rumblings in the party grew over the Bersatu backdoor ‘defections’. He U-turned on the decision when it became clear he still had the support of the majority of Bersatu members who had loudly pleaded with him not to go.
Anwar on the other hand was in denial mode as his unpopularity grew – his approval rating plunging to 50% from 68% a year ago when he took power – despite charging on with a Malay-centric platform that included a strongly tilted pro-Hamas stance in the Palestine-Israeli conflict and a show of strength, real of false, via the backdoor ‘defections’ of the Bersatu MPs.
“Anwar’s reading of the Malay and non-Malay psyche is very poor. If you’re non-Malay and you read of a 5th Bersatu backdoor defection, chances are you’ll be a bit disgusted that such dirty politics is still going on and Anwar is the same as all the other PMs who were criticized for abusing power and playing money politics. Anwar may not realize it but each time it happens, whether he directly or indirectly enticed rival MPs, he’s actually stabbing himself and making voters dislike him even more,” a political analyst told Politics Now!
“If you’re Malay, odds are your sympathy will go to Muhyiddin. Don’t underrate him. Malays do genuinely see him and Bersatu as real alternatives to Umno, much more than Anwar and PKR, but not as much as Hadi and Pas. You can say Malays are split now but actually they are very united against the non-Malays. It’s just that they have more leadership choices these days and stunts like the Bersatu defections will only keep Anwar and his PKR party at bottom of the rung as far as Malay voters are concerned. They don’t like him or believe in him and unhealthy practices like these will be magnified and make them even more upset and wishful of replacing him as PM – perhaps with some they know from the past like Umno’s Hishammuddin Hussein or a relative newbie like Pas’ Samsuri Mokhtar, whom they see as a breath of fresh air with Islamic flavor and pin their hopes on to lead their community to new heights.”
IT’S CORRUPTION, SAYS MAHATHIR
Anwar has denied enticing the Bersatu MPs, yet his act of withholding funds smacks of deliberate pressure – and this has not escaped the notice of the majority of civil society, corruption watch dogs like C4 or clean-polls groups like Bersih.
His political nemesis Mahathir Mohamad took a shot at him today (Nov 28), accusing his administration of committing bribery in the form of constituency allocations.
In a posting on X, Mahathir said the opposition MPs declared support for Anwar were receiving allocations typically reserved for government MPs.
“The Bersatu MPs also acknowledged receiving other offers. This is considered as corruption because those who do not support the prime minister do not receive them,” said Mahathir.
“The Bersatu MPs also acknowledged receiving other offers. This is considered as corruption because those who do not support the prime minister do not receive them.”
DIRTY POLITICAL CHESSBOARD & THE MACC
Coincidentally or not, sources in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, long accused of being used as a tool by the government of the day to further their political agenda against rival, told Malaysiakini today they have found no traces of corruption so far.
“Our investigators have recorded the four MPs’ statements last week. From what I was informed, the MPs came to MACC headquarters in Putrajaya. So far, the initial investigation found no element of corruption in their actions,” said a high-level source with privy into the investigation.
The four Bersatu MPs who preceded Syed Abu in declaring support for Anwar while refusing to resign from their party are Labuan MP Suhaili Abdul Rahman, Kuala Kangsar MP Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid, Gua Musang Azizi Abu Naim, and Jeli MP Zahari Kechik.
The joke among jaded and long-suffering Malaysians is now – will the MACC suddenly find ‘evidence’ of corruption when Anwar is ousted?
And on goes the political chessboard in Malaysia, perhaps among the dirtiest in the world, with those elected to clean up sucked in and transformed into the biggest pieces of dirt themselves.
Written by Wong Choon Mei, Politics Now!