Unity government not such a good idea, says analyst
Oh said Malaysia needed a new government led by a prime minister commanding a strong majority in the Dewan Rakyat and installed without going through an election. “Only the King can affect such a move,” he said.
(FMT) – An analyst disagrees with academics who apparently think that a unity government is best for Malaysians when the state of emergency ends.
A stable government would be better, said Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.
Oh said the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government had clearly lost its parliamentary majority and was hanging on to power only through the emergency.
He said Malaysia needed a new government led by a prime minister commanding a strong majority in the Dewan Rakyat and installed without going through an election. “Only the King can affect such a move,” he said.
He said a unity government would be “intrinsically dangerous” with political checks and balances thrown out the window.
With all political actors co-opted into the government, there would be little political accountability, and dissent could easily be stifled, he said.
Oh said the academics’ proposal was likely to go nowhere.
“Most senior politicians would fight tooth and nail to be the prime ministerial candidate, with scant regard for the complicated selection process outlined in the proposal,” he said.
Yesterday, Tajuddin Rasdi of UCSI University and social scientist Lim Teck Ghee called for the establishment of a unity government when the emergency ends on Aug 1, saying a general election during a pandemic would be fraught with risks.
They said MPs could nominate their choice of prime minister anonymously, with the top five names proceeding to the next selection round in which the MPs would cast their votes.
Azmi Hassan, formerly of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, was less apprehensive of a unity government but said Malaysia needed a stable government capable of managing the pandemic.
He told FMT it was clear to him that political instability had made PN unable to govern the country efficiently.
The looming question, he said, was who would be the one to lead a unity government.
“PN, which is dominated by Bersatu, has its own choice, Barisan Nasional has its own choice and Pakatan Harapan (PH) has its own choice,” he said.
“Who is the one person that can bring together the three warring parties? We’re lacking a leader like Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who managed to bring together a strong PH three years ago.
“But, right now, it will be difficult for Mahathir to muster support either from BN or PN. Besides Mahathir, whether it’s Anwar Ibrahim, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi or Muhyiddin Yassin, I don’t see anyone capable of forming a unity government.”
Azmi said it would be easier for a new coalition government made up of two or three strong entities to take over Putrajaya, adding that the best potential link-up would be between BN and PH.
“Their objective is the same – get rid of Bersatu from the government. This is more plausible than a unity government,” he said.
PH has 88 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat and BN has 41.