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LETTER | We exercised our constitutional right about two years ago, in May 2018, with the belief of seeking reforms against any unjust enrichment among politicians and citizens in this country.

The clear transgression of the laws governing our society undermined our intelligence and patience that made Malaysians infuriated and known around the world for our hospitality towards conspiring thieves.

Calls for change and hopes were unanimous and a deal was made between the ‘atoned tyrant’ Dr Mahathir Mohamad and reformist Anwar Ibrahim. It was a game-changer in a sense of creating the ‘Penicillin of democracy’.

A full script of what transpired before, during and after GE14 would have earned us the second-best foreign drama in the Academy after Parasite - yet, the director for this screenplay would not have shared the same humility of Bong Joon-Ho.

Unravelling what has transpired in our beloved nation after the formation of Pakatan Harapan, changes were sought with high expectations from the rakyat, similar to asking an ‘obese nation’ to now run a one-mile stretch without problems.

It was a naive afterthought. A series of blunders were met with overjustification, perhaps due to the lack of prior mindset readjustment from opposition to now spearheading the government. Our ministers simply did not step up to the game. They were simply busy with playing chess for political survival.

The ‘Sheraton Move’, as cheeky as it sounds, was a clear act of betrayal by each MP who signed the Statutory Declaration to form a new government. If there was a need for a change then it should be done according to the Federal Constitution.

At most, what we understood from the Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council meeting a day before, Mahathir and his supporters were offended by the call for a fixed date of transition to Anwar (below, centre) as the 8th PM and a Mexican standoff was defused in good faith. Mahathir was not pleased and it gave him a second wind in his fight for total dominance.

Mahathir’s gambit move by resigning the next day gave the desirable effect of constitutionally removing his cabinet ministers. It was a brilliant move played with the usual poker face that enabled his reinstatement as interim prime minister of Malaysia. Our ‘7-and-a-half PM’ but just slightly off half-past six.

Mahathir is best described in the Kedah dialect as ‘ligat’ (agile) and my personal favourite to define stubbornness, ‘ketegaq’. With the manoeuvring and coincidences of Bersatu exiting Harapan and his resignation as Bersatu chairperson, it was hard to believe that he was merely sulking.

Although we have all encountered such familiar scenarios and realise how long it may take to ‘pujuk’ (comfort) someone. In our nation’s case, we had till March 9th as Parliament reconvenes then. Enough time for Mahathir to form a new government.

Loyalty in the political game is fluid, but our nation is safeguarded by the Royal Institution. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong asked for the rakyat to be patient and trust the process of deriving a well-informed decision.

It was a first in history that every MP was given the opportunity for a one-on-one audience with the Agong to give their honest answer on who should be the next PM or call for the dissolution of Parliament. It put an end to the serious doubt cast by the statutory declarations signed.

At this juncture, Mahathir’s bluff was called by Muafakat Nasional and there was no future for a ‘Unity Government’ that would have been theoretically sound as we would eliminate partisan politics, but the timing for such proposal and execution was a merely extended lifeline for the ‘atoned tyrant’.

In chess, Mahathir is now experiencing a Zugzwang, when in this situation every move is a serious disadvantage. He was off by a tempo. Ignoring the Royal Institution and his limitations as interim prime minister, Mahathir’s pre-empt announcement yesterday challenged our constitutional belief. It was not his first time but it should be his last.

Muhyiddin Yassin, Azmin Ali and Zuraida Kamaruddin were mere pawns in Mahathir’s deadly game. Even now, by proclaiming that Muhyiddin may be named as the prime ministerial candidate, is just another eye-wash by the puppet master who will be pulling the strings from behind.

As Malaysians, we grew up reciting the Rukun Perlembagaan during school assemblies and sometimes forget the spirit behind it. There is no need to be a legal expert to read into what has happened this whole week. One begs for an answer from Mahathir and even extend it to his like-minded associates. When will you stop hurting the rakyat?


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

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