Self-serving politicians, businessmen trying to block Anwar’s rise to power

Self-serving politicians, businessmen trying to block Anwar’s rise to power

There are three main groups that do not want PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to have a smooth transition in becoming the next prime minister.

The first is the business group, who are close to the present prime minister, and they are afraid that the gravy train will no longer be coming to them. After so many years of non-stop supply, they are scared there might even be a total stop to their money-making schemes.

The second is the ambitious dreamers who think, with some horse-trading, they can become the next occupants of Putrajaya.

The last group is the strategic thinkers for Muafakat Nasional, who believe that the longer Dr Mahathir Mohamad helms Pakatan Harapan, the faster the ruling coalition will rot and hence, more comfortable for them to win the next general election.

All three will fail miserably because they think they are smart enough to easily fool voters who supported Pakatan in the last election. Using their usual battery of propagandists to confuse voters, they started by saying that the prime minister can reshuffle the Cabinet as he wishes.

In other words, they implied that the prime minister could remove the PKR elements supporting Anwar, DAP and Amanah ministers, and replace them with the traitors and hopefuls from Muafakat Nasional.

The short answer is that the prime minister cannot do this. In a parliamentary Westminster model that we follow, the mandate obtained from the voters will require the Cabinet to comprise members of the Pakatan coalition.

The mandate of the people was conferred on the political grouping called Pakatan, not directly to an individual. Our prime minister has no more power than the collective strength of Pakatan.

In short, Mahathir cannot cannibalise Pakatan without cannibalising himself.

This is unlike that of a presidential system. A president can dismiss the entire Cabinet and appoints a new set of ministers because he was elected directly by the people. The nature of a presidential mandate is different from that of our prime minister.

Faced with this problem, the propagandists then conjured a new trick. They now say that an opposition party can move a motion of confidence in the Dewan Rakyat to demand that the present prime minister continue to be in office well into the future.

There is another propagandist that said Anwar must have the support of the Dewan Rakyat to be prime minister. He was not insistent of this requirement when Mahathir was made premier.

This trick again is an improper exercise of the powers of the Dewan Rakyat. It was never done elsewhere. The Dewan Rakyat is a legislative body entrusted to pass laws which the country requires.

The office of the prime minister is not within the competence of the Legislature, but that of the Executive.

It is up to the parties in government to decide on the issue of who becomes the prime minister. If the selection of prime minister by the government of the day is one that is not a popular choice, then an MP can move a vote of no confidence against the prime minister and his government.

If the motion succeeds, then the Parliament can be dissolved, and the country will face another general election. So we need to do things properly, step by step.

It is unbecoming and stupid for anyone to think Anwar will not have the support of the Dewan Rakyat when he assumes office. It is mischievous and self-serving to conclude that we have to find someone else now since Anwar might not have the necessary support.

I do not want to labour much about when Mahathir should step down. That is for Pakatan to decide. My concern is I do not want our country to look stupid when leaders talk absolute nonsense about the rudiments of parliamentary democracy.

A political party like PAS will propose anything they fancy without worrying too much about credibility since they are a religious party. Still, I was hoping that the more literate political leaders and commentators will not be so desperate to utter political rubbish when canvassing a political point.

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim is the Kelantan DAP chairman

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