Principles are more important than numbers

Ronald Benjamin


LETTER | The current political drama over the prime ministerial transition from Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Anwar Ibrahim and the out of ordinary opposition parties' support for Mahathir to finish his full term is raising eyebrows on the integrity of Malaysian politicians in keeping promises.

Pakatan Harapan has gone through various U-turns related to international treaties like Icerd and the continues use of oppressive laws like Sosma which are against its own manifesto and this reveals a situation where the coalition has put itself into a trust deficit and this has been made worse by its by-election defeats.

The substance of the transition matter currently is not whether the future prime minister has the majority support of the Dewan Rakyat. It is about promises being kept on the agreement on the transition and the actions taken that reveal a clear path towards a transition. 

It is about whether the prime minister wholeheartedly supports Anwar as the next prime minister. His clear support for Anwar would strengthen the cohesiveness of the Harapan coalition and help resolve some critical social economic challenges that are facing the nation. 

What is obvious is that such principles are clearly missing due to the vague statements of the prime minister and his flirting with the opposition parties through great power play and intrigue.

The opposition parties which consist of Umno and PAS have learned nothing since the last general election where the lack of principles and integrity in governance cause the defeat of the mighty BN government. 

They now believe that by predominantly playing the racial card they can win the next the general election. Their understanding about the transition process is about race rather than principles.

It is time that Harapan gets its act together and reinforce the principles of the transition in line with the agreement that was made before the last general election. 

There is a need for a clear transition path in the spirit that brought the coalition to power in the first place. Principles lay the foundation for durable governance that builds the trust of the rakyat. 

It is not about having the required numbers for support in Parliament. It about whether Harapan sticks together and creates structures and laws that safeguard the common good.

The writer is secretary, Association for Community and Dialogue.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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