Towards a BN minority government after PRU14

umar mukhtar

Umar Mukhtar

That Barisan National will lose its majority in PRU14 is getting more obvious by the day, especially if Najib Razak is still leading it into the elections. Apart from losing seats in Peninsular Malaysia, many Sabah and Sarawak party defections from BN, before and after the elections, will result in BN becoming the largest minority bloc in a situation where no party or grouping holds a majority.

The original assumption that Pakatan Rakyat would take over the government will not materialise. First, PAS will only enter into an electoral pact, at best, but not be part of an opposition coalition at the national level. The DAP-PAS rift is just too wide to bridge. If the ulama wing is still dominating the party, even an electoral pact may not be possible.

On the other hand, PAS would never join BN because BN will never change from its present self. In fact, PAS’s increase in seats won would be the result of this. But it will never allow the formation of a government that follows the dictates of DAP, which would have then grown by winning more Chinese majority seats.

So in the aftermath of PRU 14, BN would still be summoned to form a government, especially when PAS declares that it will not join DAP to form an alternative government. How could they after DAP’s declaration of PAS as a party not to be trusted.

PAS will not vote for any parliamentary motion of no confidence against a BN minority government and that will allow BN to go on as a government. However, PAS may vote against normal motions on issues that it disagrees on. This way PAS is an effective opposition, not tainted by association, and can collect IOU’s for its own agenda. And the sky is its limit.

BN will be busy with its forte – ‘buying’ MPs to strengthen itself. But it is submitted that this time it will not be an easy task. The deficit is too big. Its best hope will be to court a mosquito party like PKR. But PKR hasn’t much to offer.

The non-Muslim Bumiputeras are a bit sceptical of DAP but they can’t go on like this, their parties playing second fiddle to UMNO in their own states. They will urge their parties to go independent if they aren’t already, before the elections.

BN’s real shopping target will be the Sabah and Sarawak non-Muslim Bumiputera MPs. But they have now a new realisation of power, a doable agenda – greater autonomy from Kuala Lumpur. Watch the ex-PBDS parties of Sarawak and ex-PBS parties of Sabah. They still harbour memories of what BN did to break them up.

The above may be a speculative scenario but it is not unlikely. The lessons to be learnt for both DAP and UMNO presently are not to under-estimate PAS as the real replacement to UMNO worth courting and respecting, and the Sabahans’ and Sarawakians’ bid to be treated equally if not better, is real and not to be dismissed lightly. The patronising attitude towards both is showing.

BN will then spend time to re-invent itself. But it will be too late. It will be on the slippery slope. They have to tolerate power sharing with adversaries, albeit informally. Trying to devise any other way, like non-Parliamentary means, to get to Putrajaya will not be democratic. And it is an unthinkable option.