MT interview with PM-in-waiting

Malaysia Today did not really interview the PM-in-waiting. But if we did, this would probably be how the interview goes.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

MT: Thank you so much, YB, for agreeing to this interview with Malaysia Today.

YB: My pleasure. I agreed to this interview because, contrary what what my critics allege, I always believe in openness, accountability, and transparency in everything I do. And I know Malaysia Today is one of my critics and you probably have many questions to ask me.

MT: Yes, and our first question is regarding Pakatan Harapan’s allegation that the government is a failed government or kerajaan gagal. What are the criteria you apply to rate the government as kerajaan gagal?

YB: We are referring to specifically the government’s handling of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

MT: The UK’s death rate from Covid-19 is 0.23% of the population, the US is 0.18%, while Malaysia’s is only 0.01%. So, in terms of death rate, Malaysia is faring better than even the UK and US. So what’s the issue?

YB: True, but the vaccination exercise is too slow. It needs to be done faster.

MT: But the problem is not the vaccination exercise itself, is it not? It is that developed countries are monopolising the supply of vaccines and the quota for the lesser developed countries is lower. Hence Malaysia is at the bottom of the list and receives a lower supply of vaccines. Even the UK Parliament complained about this and attacked PM Boris Johnson for this inequality. What should the quota be then?

YB: I do not want to go into specifics. I only want to discuss the principle and the strategy.

MT: But the devil is in the details, is it not, YB? So, if Malaysia is a failed state or has a kerajaan gagal, then we need details regarding the yardstick or measurement of a failed state or kerajaan gagal. If not, it would be mere rhetoric. There must be a criterion to measure the success or failure of any government.

YB: Of hand I do not have any details, but everyone says the government is kerajaan gagal. So how can 32 million Malaysians be wrong?

MT: But it is not 32 million Malaysians who say the government is kerajaan gagal. Only Pakatan Harapan is saying this. And only 5.5 million Malaysians voted for Pakatan Harapan in May 2018, which is only 16.9% of Malaysia’s population. And if we minus the Bersatu voters, it would be even less. For that matter, in the recent general election, Pakatan Harapan won less than 50% of the popular votes.

YB: We cannot look at it that way. Pakatan Harapan won 113 of the 222 parliament seats. That is 50% plus two seats more. So we received the rakyat’s mandate.

MT: But then, in the previous general election, you argued that the legitimate government is the party that wins the most number of votes, not the party that wins the most number of seats. Today, you are saying the opposite. And that was why you called the Barisan Nasional government kerajaan tak sah or kerajaan haram in the previous general election.

YB: That was different. That was because Barisan Nasional won the previous general election through fraud. For example, in GE12, 40,000 Bangladeshi citizens voted in the election.

MT: This was denied by the Bangladesh government. Furthermore, Barisan Nasional won 300,000 more votes than the opposition. So, even if it is true that 40,000 Bangladeshis voted in GE12, that would not have been enough to change the results that much. Anyway, let’s move on. Do you really have the numbers?

YB: Yes, I do.

MT: How many MPs are with you and support you to become the prime minister?

YB: At least 120-130.

MT: Why can’t you be specific? 122? 125? 128? What is the number specifically?

YB: I cannot reveal the details yet.

MT: So you do have the details, then?

YB: Of course I do.

MT: So why did you not give the details to Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong when you had your audience with His Majesty in October 2020? Tuanku said you were not able to give any details or show any evidence. If you had, would you not have been the prime minister seven months ago?

YB: I did not think it was the right time yet.

MT: Why not? Then when is the right time?

YB: I think it should be in August when the Emergency ends.

MT: In August you will have 120 to 130 MPs behind you to oust the PM so that you can take over?

YB: InsyaAllah.

MT: You have been saying this for 13 years since 2008. What if it does not happen and after August Muhyiddin Yassin is still the PM? What are you going to do then? What’s Plan B?

YB: I will decide when that time comes.

MT: Maybe 120 to 130 MPs will back you to oust the PM through a vote of no confidence. But how do you know those 120 to 130 MPs will back you to take over as PM9? There are other people who also aspire to become PM. So you might not have the majority and in the end Muhyiddin might still have the largest minority. Which means he will still be the PM.

YB: We must respect the rakyat’s mandate. So Muhyiddin has to go because he does not have the rakyat’s mandate.

MT: Who then has the rakyat’s mandate?

YB: The one who the voters chose in May 2018.

MT: But the one who the rakyat chose in May 2018 was Mahathir. This means he received the rakyat’s mandate. The voters voted for Pakatan Harapan in May 2018 on the understanding that Mahathir would be the PM.

YB: But for only two years. After that I was supposed to take over, not Muhyiddin.

MT: True. But Mahathir resigned before the two years were up. This means he gave up or threw away the rakyat’s mandate. In essence, Mahathir breached the contract with or mandate from the rakyat. In short, the mandate or contract no longer exists once Mahathir terminated the contract. The contract was he would hand over power in May 2020, not resign in February 2020. So how can you say the mandate still exists?

YB: That is why we need to go back to the rakyat and get a fresh mandate.

MT: You mean through a general election?

YB: Yes.

MT: So Parliament needs to be dissolved?

YB: Yes.

MT: But you want Parliament to sit.

YB: Yes, we want Parliament to sit so that we can dissolve Parliament.

MT: Through a vote of no confidence?

YB: Yes.

MT: So you want Parliament to sit so that you can oust the Prime Minister and not because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Thank you so much, YB. You have been very transparent in this interview. Maybe we can interview you again once you become PM9.