A scenario of how the Anwar government could fall

There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics

Murray Hunter

‘Et tu, Brute?’

For political strategists, it’s always important to map out and play through different political scenarios that could potentially face the government. Below is one potential and probable scenario, which Anwar strategists must be concerned with, and find preventative solutions to. That is ‘The art of war’.

Picture a very poor showing by Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional coalition during the coming state elections. Pakatan loses all the Malay majority seats in Penang. PH get a firm beating in Selangor, just holding on, and Perikatan Nasional make up ground in Negeri Sembilan.

This would install a sense of panic within the ‘unity government’. After six to seven months of the ‘unity coalition’, no ground has been made up against Perikatan, and the so called ‘green wave’.

This is a poor result for Anwar, meaning his government hasn’t been able to win over the hearts and minds of voters, and there will be growing crescendo of concerns over his legitimacy, from opposition quarters.

From the Malay-centric viewpoint, and we must understand that 7.2 million voters in Malaysia had that viewpoint in GE15, Anwar didn’t win any clear mandate from the people in GE15. Anwar became prime minister by a recombination of political parties – PH+BN+GPS+++ This is how Muhyiddin Yassin became prime minister, and this is how Ismail Sabri Yaakob became prime minister.

That’s enough to have politicians from the Malay-centric side to start talking about forming a new government once again. They want a government that has sympathy towards their view of Malaysia.

However, there is no trigger, or isn’t there?

The trigger could be deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, if he realizes that his fate in the judicial system doesn’t look good, and he may be convicted. If that became the case, then a cascade of events could occur, which would bring down the Anwar administration.

Zahid may have only 30 seats in his BN coalition. However, the MCA and MIC are starting to realize the ‘unity government’ really doesn’t have a place for them. DAP or PKR are extremely unlikely to allocate MCA or MIC any seats in the coming state elections, other than those they can legitimately claim from within the BN.

Zahid holds Anwar as a political hostage. He is starting to wind up the pressure on Anwar. It’s clear, a ‘get out of jail free card’ is wanted. This implicitly for Zahid was the most important term of the coalition deal. The honouring is this deal, even though it may have been unsaid, is paramount to Anwar’s survival.

Under Zahid’s influence and persuasion are Sabah’s GRS, with 6 seats, and Sarawak’s GPS, with 23 seats. Combined with BN, that gives Zahid 59 seats. That’s enough to recombine with Perikatan Nasional with 74 seats, to control 133 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, and take the government.

With the perceived political persecution of Muhyiddin Yassin, over his criminal charges, Muhyiddin would be more than willing to retake the government once again. This is thanks to the motivation Anwar gave him to do so. Someone in the Anwar camp did not think through the potential political consequences of criminally charging Muhyiddin in a potentially unstable political environment. That should have been learnt in Political Science 101. PAS leaders are missing the trappings of political power, as well.

So, there is a moral question facing Anwar today; is a ‘get out of jail free card’ worth it to stay in government?

There is also a question for the Rakyat: at what cost do you want Anwar to remain prime minister? If you do, then don’t complain about handing out ‘get out of jail free cards’.

A final twist on this scenario might be that a break up of the current ‘unity coalition, might lead to another general election, rather than a swearing in of a new prime minister. PH might not get the 82 seats they won in GE14.