Isham Jalil is right, but what can be done about it?
Now that even Pas is thinking about getting hold of the position of PM for itself, not only will Umno think twice about joining PN, even Bersatu might be thinking twice about remaining in PN.
In all of India, the most populous country in the world, there are only two people who are attempting to claim the Prime Minister’s seat. One is Narendra Modi, who is the serving Prime Minister, and the other is Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the opposition.
In all of China, the second most populous country in the world, there is probably just one person who is claiming the top position. Xin Jinping. His is the one and only name you will hear touted for the job of the President of China.
In Malaysia however, the number of people gunning for the top job will easily exceed half a dozen.
As it is, Malaysia has a large number of former prime ministers who are still alive. There is Muhyiddin, Ismail Sabri, Najib, Mahathir and Pak Lah.
Of the 5, only Pak Lah can be safely discounted from wanting to be the next prime minister on account of ill health. Muhyiddin and Mahathir are definitely still trying to be the Prime minister. Najib is probably focusing on getting out of jail for now, but if he manages to come out of jail, who is to say that he will not desire to be the Prime Minister again. Ismail Sabri will probably say that he has no interest in being the prime minister again but that is only because he doesn’t really have a chance. If he had a legitimate chance of becoming the prime minister again, I doubt that he is going to decline the opportunity either.
We already know that Khairy Jamaluddin wants to be the Prime Minister. Mahathir’s son, Mukhriz, probably wants the job too.
Hishamuddin Hussein and Hamzah Zainuddin probably think that they are just one or two lucky decisions away from being the next PM.
Sanusi Md Nor and Samsuri Mokhtar are another two candidates who have recently joined the list of potential prime ministers of Malaysia.
Tok Mat of Umno’s name also has always been included in the roster when the question of who is to be the next PM of Malaysia is discussed.
Azmin Ali used to have the desire to be the next PM of Malaysia. It is probably his inability to contain his desire to be the next PM of Malaysia that caused a scandalous video of him to be released, which has almost eliminated his chances being the next PM of Malaysia. Despite that, there is still a sliver of a chance that he might make it as a future PM of Malaysia. Though the scandalous video has dimmed his chances, it is not a smoking gun. The jury is still out as to whether it is Azmin that is starring in the video, and as long as the jury is out, Azmin still has a chance.
But I digress.
My point here is that one of the biggest problems in the Malaysian political scene today is that there are too many Malay parties and the main reason there are too many Malay parties is because there are too many ambitious Malay leaders and politicians who feel that they are fit to become the next PM of Malaysia.
Umno Supreme Council member Isham Jalil has spoken of a need for the unification of Malay parties to jointly govern the nation again.
PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man also has said that the Islamist party is open to working with Umno again for the sake of the ummah.
The question however is who is going to be the one that holds the Prime Minister position. Are Pas, Bersatu and Umno planning to rotate the position of PM, as the parties in Sabah once did for the position of CM? Rotating the PM is one thing, but what about all the PM’s men (and women) that the reigning PM would have put in strategic positions in order to have a good grip of the government? Are they going to be rotated too every time the PM is rotated?
Pas used to be willing to let either Umno or Bersatu have their leaders be the PM of Malaysia, but is it still willing to do the same?
Pas today is talking about naming its own candidates as the future PM of Malaysia. Now that even Pas is thinking about getting hold of the position of PM for itself, not only will Umno think twice about joining PN, even Bersatu might be thinking twice about remaining in PN.
Mahathir might look like a friend of Pas today, but will he still be a friend of Pas tomorrow, if Pas is able to name a Prime Minister, while Mahathir and Mukhriz are side-lined with just a thanks.
All this talk about penyatuan ummah is all fine and well, but politics is about power, and politicians are in the game of accumulating power, not serving the ummah. When politicians talk, they will talk about serving the ummah or the nation or the people, but when they act, they will act in the direction of accumulating power.
It is impossible to satisfy every Malay leader in the country simply because there are too many of them who are too used to being at top to accept not being in a high profile or a decision making position.
Comparatively, Chinese and Indian politicians in the country can accept a non- decision-making position. The only major power struggle that is occurring amongst the non-Malays today is going on between Lim Guan Eng and Chow Kon Yeow for the position of the CM of Penang. Despite being the party with the second highest number of parliamentarians and the biggest party in the ruling coalition, DAP leaders are not clamouring for more federal positions.
Today Umno might be in a lamentable position in the unity government, but if it joins PN, it is hard to see how its position will see any improvement.
If before, it only had to contend with Bersatu, for Pas was willing to sacrifice its claim so that the three Malay Muslim parties can work together, today it will have to not only contend with Bersatu, but Pas as well, who with the passing of the day, is increasingly seeing itself as the first amongst equal of the Malay parties.
The problem with Malaysia, like Isham Jalil said, is that the Malay parties are too disunited, but the reason that they are too disunited, is because they have too many ambitious leaders and politicians amongst them.
Each of these politicians have a lot of status, connection, clout and probably even resources that they can use to upset the rule of their rivals, using whatever excuse that they can find.
Malaysia is in a state where an excuse to topple the ruling government can always be found. The state of our economy alone can provide anyone with ample reasons to criticize the ruling government. Add class, race, ;pride, gender, status, religion, resources, regional issues and age to the mix, and the list of things you can use to bring down the government is never ending.
While Isham Jalil has clearly identified the problem, which is that the Malays are too disunited, does he know how to fix it?
The solution is of course simple. You have to put at least a third or half of the active Malay politicians to pasture in order to unite the Malays, but the question is, how do you do it, when none of the politicians are likely to go gently into the night without a fight.