COMMENT | The recent spate of political appointments to government-linked companies (GLCs) and agencies is only to be expected. The Pakatan Harapan government indulged in the same kind of bloodletting – it was about the first thing on their agenda – and caused needless discord and dislocation.
The difference is this time it is being taken to new heights by the different groups that have to be satisfied. As with Harapan, the leadership of Perikatan Nasional (PN) is strangely Bersatu, the crop of accidental, wet-behind-the-ears politicians, terribly tainted Umno dropouts and washed-out has-beens.
Together with that handful of treacherous people, who were avid, fervent and sworn supporters of Anwar Ibrahim once, enticed out of PKR by that oldest of currencies – power and patronage – they have 30 or 31 MPs.
Then you have Umno itself, a bunch of people of whom many were charlatans and crooks who thought they would never be defeated ever in an election. They were defeated but now they are in through the back door and wielding the largest block of MPs – 39 in the coalition of sorts. The number rises to 42 if you include MCA (2) and MIC (1), whose total relevancy has been reduced to three miserable seats for the over 30% of the population they purport to represent.
What can you say about PAS, all of 18 seats? They supported Dr Mahathir Mohamad vigorously and virulently, and then dropped him when it was convenient and they had the numbers. In politics, religiosity, even God and morals, fall by the wayside in favour of treachery, backstabbing and the immediate expediency towards power and ascendancy.
Next come the kingmakers, these astute players who stand by the sidelines and watch and wait until the last minute (and the best deals) before they declare their allegiance, but only just, allowing for the fact that they may just switch if the right better offer is made by someone else. We are talking about Sarawak’s GPS, of course.
If Harapan can get these people to swing the other way, then, with or without Mahathir – better without – this current backdoor government will be thrown out the front door on their backsides. This group of 18 wield more power than their numbers because of this.
And when the majority is razor-thin, mosquitoes have power too. There is Sabah’s GBS of just three MPs and a couple of independents besides, all of whom could cross at the drop of a songkok for the right trade of course.
Total that up and Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin can count on (42+30 or 31+18+18+3+2) 113 or 114 MPs in a 222-seat Parliament – that’s as thin as a majority that you can get. But remember, these are porous borders – many have been here, there and here again. And some of them even here, there, here, there and here again. So much for ‘jangan kesana-sini, duduk diam-diam di rumah’.
If you were Muhyiddin, you have a choice – be good and honest and care for the country and appoint only the best and the most capable to GLCs, government agencies, regulators and wherever else you can appoint people. You might lose that vote of no-confidence. Or be what you were before...