Friday, February 28, 2020

As PM, Anwar's charisma can save PH government


Analyst tells why a PH government, minus PPBM, may not last

by Robin Augustin

Political analyst Chandra Muzaffar says if the Malay community’s representation in the government is weak, it will be unstable 

PETALING JAYA: A political analyst has voiced doubt that a Pakatan Harapan-led government can survive, owing to its current composition where it is dominated by non-Malay and non-Bumiputera MPs.

Speaking to FMT, Chandra Muzaffar said as it stands, PH’s 92 MPs were backing PKR president Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister, meaning the Port Dickson MP would need another 20 more MPs from outside the coalition to support him.

Currently, of PH’s remaining 92 MPs, following the exit of PPBM and 11 MPs alligned to former PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, some 59 are non-Muslim and 33 are Muslims.

Chandra said Malaysia was rooted in Malay polity, centred around a Malay political system, including its institutions.

“So if the community’s representation in the government is weak, it will be unstable.”

Earlier today, the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM), the country’s largest umbrella group of Malay economic bodies, had warned that any government formed without support from Malay-based parties will be short-lived.

Chandra said PH only won some 27% of the Malay vote at the 14th general election, and that was while PPBM and Azmin’s faction was still with them.

“Now, the Malay support for PH will be lower because PPBM and Azmin’s faction are not there, not to mention that Malay support for the coalition has also been eroding, as evidenced by the recent by-elections.”

He added that PKR, while being Malay-led, relied more on its non-Malay support base while Amanah was too small. As such, neither can fill the void left by PPBM.

Chandra said with Umno and PAS having a strong antipathy towards DAP, Anwar would have to secure the support of individual MPs.

“The problem is, rightly or wrongly, a PH-led government will be seen as being controlled by DAP. This is what may make it challenging to get individual MPs from Umno and PAS to join.”

James Chin 

James Chin, of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute, meanwhile said that if Anwar succeeds in becoming PM, he will bring in more Malays.

“He knows he cannot have the Malays sitting outside and will probably do a deal with PPBM or Umno.”

He added that a PH-led government could still secure Malay votes in the future but only if they dramatically increase the number of Malay MPs.

“This is possible as many MPs want to be in the ruling coalition.”

But Chin said PH must show that a multiracial government is better than one dominated by one race as history has shown that a multiracial government is far more stable than one that is not.

Awang Azman Pawi 

Universiti Malaya’s Awang Azman Pawi, meanwhile, said PH having more non-Malay MPs would only be temporary. If Anwar becomes PM, he said more Malays would want to join him, be it en bloc or being PH-friendly.

“If the Conference of Rulers gives Anwar a chance to become PM and form a minority government, it will still stand a chance, despite facing a possible vote of no confidence in Parliament.

“Anwar’s advantage is his charisma and he can surely attract more Malay MPs to cross over.”

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