The possibility of PH collapse and fall of democracy

It is no longer pertinent now whether Pakatan Harapan will become one-term government. There are now talks the ruling coalition is on the brink of collapse!

Koh Chiew Heong, Sin Chew Daily

From the statements issued by the four component parties of PH warning former Umno vice president Hishammuddin Hussein and his allies, the “Umno-PAS policy shift out of desperation” theory forwarded by DAP’s veteran leader Lim Kit Siang, and remark that the PH government and DAP need the help of Sarawak, among others, we can see that the rumoured PH collapse is not completely baseless.

We can deduce from the major incidents taking place in this country in recent years that politics is absolutely the art of the possible.

After PAS’ departure from the then Pakatan Rakyat in 2015, the party and DAP retained their representation in the Selangor state government in an incomprehensible way. Prior to the 2018 general election, the tie-up between Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his two former archrivals Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang to fight the BN regime opened the eyes of Malaysians to this unfathomable art of politics and the reality that there are no permanent enemies or friends in politics.

And now, it is rumoured that Hishammuddin has designed a plan to form a new government without DAP and Amanah. Judging from a string of recent developments — including the “Long live Malays” slogan chanted by Tun Mahathir alongside Umno and PAS leaders at the Malay Dignity Congress, as well as the allegations DAP is supporting terrorism and communism — such a probability has become increasingly stronger.

As if that is not enough, PKR’s second-in-command Azmin Ali has repeatedly made diverging remarks from those of his boss Anwar Ibrahim in support of Mahathir finishing his full term as prime minister.

Meanwhile, leaders of PPBM and DAP are holding very different views on a large number of issues of late, including the Seni Khat issue and Ronnie Liu’s “PH without PPBM” argument. This shows that the rift between the two parties has significantly widened to an extent solidarity within PH coalition has come under unprecedented threat.

There are two ways of interpreting such developments: PH is headed for an imminent collapse, with PPBM forming a new Malay grand alliance with other Malay parties; and that all these are in place to ensure Mahathir can stay for a full term.

Both these possibilities are plausible.

While it has been mentioned earlier that politics is the art of the possible, very often new developments could upset the original plan. Other than Mahathir, another key person in question is Hishammuddin.

There have been media reports that Hishammuddin’s moves have not been strongly supported by Umno leaders, but do bear in mind that he is the cousin of former prime minister Najib Razak, and no one can tell for sure what effects such a relationship would mean when things have developed to a very crucial stage.

If Hishammuddin’s plan succeeds, he will either be PM or DPM or a key person in the ruling party. It won’t be surprising that Najib will eventually be acquitted and the 1MDB case slowly drifts out of public attention. As for whom Umno’s elected reps will support is purely a question of interest, not of principle.

It has been reported that Hishammuddin may have 27 MPs from PPBM, 18 from PAS, 40 from BN and 15 pro-Azmin reps from PKR on his side, making up a total of 100 seats, still shy of the 112-seat requirement to form a government. This is not impossible if Hisham manages to get 12 more from the two East Malaysian states to back him.

Parti Warisan Sabah now has nine seats and GPS, 18. Judging from the political ship-jumping history of East Malaysia, such an eventuality is utterly possible.

Of course, Ronnie Liu has his own way of computing the numbers in arriving at the conclusion that PH can survive without PPBM, although it is up to individuals to gauge how strong this possibility is.

DAP currently has 42 seats, PKR 50, Amanah 11 and UPKO 1, provided that there is no split in PKR. Azmin’s loyalty remains questionable until the very last minute.

Inconsistent stands over the power transition plan has severely bruised the public’s confidence in PH. A publicly declared handover agreement before the election has now given rise to so many unconvincing versions more than a year after PH came to power. We must not allow politicians to continue treating us as fools.

All these incidents, as many critics have put it, couldn’t have been possible if not for the consent of Tun Dr Mahathir. Only the prime minister himself can tell whether he has been condoning such acts, or are actually pulling the strings from behind.

The combined effort by Umno and PAS in manipulating racial and religious issues has successfully reawakened a sense of insecurity among the Malays, putting PH in a real dilemma.

The election pledges which DAP used to believe are deliverable after Mahathir steps down from office, such as UEC recognition, have become significantly more difficult now.

Sure enough a power transition will not happen easily owing to the massive vested interest who will do everything to stop this from happening.

To the Malay leaders and majority of the Malays, there is no such thing as betraying the democratic agenda and voters, for the sake of the grand unity of Malay privileges.

In the event the PH regime collapses, it will be a triumph of the Malays, while the Malaysian voters who fought so hard to bring New Malaysia to fruition and materialise the first ever change of federal administration in the country’s history last year, are the biggest losers.

The new democracy that we thought we had won through peaceful power transition is thoroughly defeated, signalling the most ironical collapse of democracy.

Such an unorthodox way of forcing a change of government will most positively provide the world a new reference in democratic process, that politics is indeed very much an art of the possible.

Let’s wait and see see what other previously unimaginable “innovative” tactics could be deployed in the days to come.