COMMENT | Governing by the numbers

Thor Kah Hoong


COMMENT | The bell in Parliament has tolled 11 times (at the time of writing) during the committee stage of the Supply Bill, and to my ears, it sounds like a dirge, a death-knell for Anwar Ibrahim’s hopes of heading the government before the end of the year.

The budget for 11 ministries cleared. Another 16 to go. Where are the numbers? Where will they come from?

Umno? Nobody has jumped ship, with only Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah taking a stand. Concessions were made to satisfy Umno’s demands, so they stayed put … for the moment

They still have the threat of withdrawal from Perikatan Nasional to exercise periodically till the next general election. It’s ingrained in the heritage of our cultural behaviour – nothing more satisfying and more often than not successful than a full-blown merajuk (sulk). If nothing else, it’s a cathartic venting of steam to singe or scorch your target.

Hasn’t Anwar learned, after all these years in politics, that if you deal with shifty, slippery people who cannot stay still and consistent, you can’t count on them for the numbers? There are always people who can offer bigger numbers.

Talking of merajuk, MPs from Warisan were conspicuously absent for one vote. If they were to maintain their distance, whom else is Anwar counting on for his comfortable majority?

His last-minute instructions for Harapan MPs to pass the Supply Bill at the policy stage last week stirred up a storm of fuss and criticism, charges of cowardice, and dissent even from within his coalition.

He tried to deflect the brickbats by promising that Harapan would be calling for bloc votes during the committee stage when each ministry’s budget came up for scrutiny.

Well, so much, so far, for the bloc votes.

Anwar should watch the current hit ...  

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