PM ‘thinking the unthinkable’ after new DPM

PM ‘thinking the unthinkable’ after new DPM.

Muhyiddin needs stronger gov’t as Parliament reconvenes on Mon 26 July.

Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri of “turtle eggs” fame in Sabah may be Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s “teaser” as he “thinks the unthinkable” for the Way Forward until GE15 in 2023.

The Prime Minister clearly needs stronger gov’t as Parliament reconvenes on Mon 26 July. That strength probably can’t come from within the present Administration even if Muhyiddin reshuffles the Cabinet.

The Opposition in the Cabinet isn’t a new idea even if there’s no hung Parliament.

It has been practised in other countries, including Fiji, a Commonwealth member state which has a troubled past in forming gov’ts. Lawmakers were even imprisoned in Parliament for weeks during one stand-off in Fiji.

Muhyiddin can perhaps include only nine lawmakers from the Opposition in Cabinet, some probably as Deputy Ministers. Already, the Cabinet has 32 Full Ministers. It’s unlikely that any incumbent can be dropped without risking further instability.

There’s no reason why Muhyiddin can’t include lawmakers from Opposition parties in the Cabinet without forming a gov’t of national unity or a new super coalition.

PKR (35 MP), DAP (42 MP) and Amanah (11 MP) figure immediately in the list. Others in Malaya include Pejuang (4 MP) and MUDA (2 MP including an Independent), both breakaways from Bersatu (31 MP) which holds the PM’s post. Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, an NGO which holds a Senate seat, is linked to the newly-formed Indian-based M’sian Advancement Party (MAP).

In Sabah, Parti Warisan Sabah has eight MPs and Upko one MP. Warisan lost the Sabah gov’t in a snap territorial election on Sat 26 Sept last year.

In S’wak, there’s Parti S’wak Bersatu (PSB) with two MPs in Parliament.

Umno’s Supreme Council demanded on Wed 7 July that Muhyiddin be replaced by an Interim Prime Minister. This is easier said than done, and with good reasons.

The DPM appointment on Wed 7 July may have separated most of the 38 Umno MPs (including two Independents) from the party’s Supreme Council. MIC (1 MP) and MCA (2 MP), both in the Cabinet, back the new DPM.

The Umno Supreme Council meet on July 7 did not mention the DPM or reiterate the oft-stated stand that the party’s MPs should withdraw from gov’t by Sun 1 Aug when the Emergency Proclamation expires, unless extended by the Agong.

Ismail Sabri wasn’t recommended by the Umno Supreme Council for the DPM post.

Umno president Zahid Hamidi would have liked the post but the Supreme Council couldn’t recommend him. Muhyiddin didn’t consider Zahid as the latter faces charges in court. The Prime Minister reportedly toyed briefly with Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein Onn as DPM. Zahid wouldn’t allow the Supreme Council to recommend the Foreign Minister.

In Umno’s view, the Prime Minister has too many failings and this includes runaway figures on the virus, too many suicides in the wake of the pandemic and an economy battered as never before.

The party will not back Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim as Interim Prime Minister or support any gov’t which includes DAP.

Author: fernzthegreat

Joe Fernandez holds a honours degree in management, majoring in economics, and has opted from academia in law to being a jurist. He was trained professionally on the job as a journalist. He's a longtime Borneo watcher, keen on the history and legal aspects of Malaya's presence in Sabah and Sarawak. He teaches the English language privately and has emerged as a subject matter expert in public examination techniques.

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