Mistaking a Fountain for a Tsunami. GE14 Aftermath
September 26, 2018
As the former Prime Minister Najib’s trial begin to take shape, those stars closest in his orbit has begun to decay. Relatives are expected to be charged, his brother will step down from CIMB as the chairman, and BN's chances of being de-registered increases as the inevitable expose of the trial paint a lurid portrait of its complicity in the 1MDB theft.
As the BN wane both politically and legally, Anwar's ascension to the exalted office of Prime Minister seems inevitable. This is a pageant that PH likes to keep the general population mesmerized to and distract from the fact succession is not a democratic concept and contradicts its very principle. The power to govern is a precious duty to be contested with a vociferous and ardent fight, through which a candidate emerges with the approval of the majority of the electorate to govern the awesome machinery of the state for all. When well exercised, a nation becomes prosperous. When badly discharged, the government becomes a wealth-transfer from the people to the few.
It is clear from the GE14 election, the Malaysian majority voted to replace Najib with Dr. M. Due to Bersatu being de-registered ahead of GE14, Dr. M was forced to join the PH to achieve his goal. In order to do so, Dr. M. had to promise to pave a path for Anwar to become the Prime Minister. This clearly shows that Dr. M did not run in order to put Anwar in the PM’s seat, but with the foremost goal of unseating Najib. Obtaining the pardon and outlining a succession path for Anwar was the price of the political deal.
In the upcoming Port Dickson election, the opposition should mount a vigorous and passionate candidate to challenge Anwar for the post, and BN should throw all of its considerable resources while it still has them, to participate in a truly democratic process. In the edge case where Anwar fails to win the MP’s seat, the PH coalition may very well fall apart and leaving room for BN to gather enough votes to decide who the PM should be. In the case where Anwar fails to win by a decisive margin, BN can convincingly ask Dr. M to register Bersatu and the BN will merge with it, thus consolidating power around Dr. M’s ideology and the Malaysian voter’s mandate, while removing the taint left by Najib.
While deal-making is the grease that keeps the political machinery running, the control room needs to be pristine, transparent and accountable to the electorate passengers whose life depends on a capable captain. BN’s defeat resulted from failing in those areas. Anwar is untested and has not achieved the leadership position through the people’s mandate but through the political dealing. As Malaysia moves towards the turbulent water of regional politic without a stable partnership, the voters may need to ask if they are part of a crew that motivates the ship through their hard work, or they’re merely indentured passenger on someone's private yacht.