UMNO Leaders Show Willingness For A Snap Election To Restore Political Stability
Several high-level UMNO leaders have expressed their willingness to hold a snap election to put an end to the political uncertainty in Malaysia
Over the past two weeks, UMNO deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, vice presidents Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, supreme council member Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, as well as former UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin have individually made statements to urge Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to hold an election.
All five leaders cited the current political instability to the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government's inability to restore foreign investors' confidence and push for critical bills to revive the country's economy.
However, while Muhyiddin is said to be preparing the 'budget table', sources told Singapore's The Straits Times that a snap election will not happen until year end.
Additionally, Khairy, who is now the Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) Minister, echoed the same. He contended that the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic must first be resolved before a national poll can be held.
In a report published yesterday, 25 June, Mohamad Hasan said that Malaysia has never undergone such a level of political instability since its independence day
"The current situation makes it difficult for the government to approve critical bills, including supply bills to revive the economy," Malaysiakini quoted the party deputy president as saying on Thursday.
"Any effort to revive the economy, create jobs, and improve competition cannot happen without a stable government and a Parliament that can provide check and balance."
Adding to the conversation, Ismail Sabri, who is also the current Defence Minister, admitted that the PN government does not hold a strong majority and the actual number of the parliamentary seats PN holds is unknown.
In an interview with Sinar Harian on Sunday, 21 June, he said MPs can always change their sides and it causes the premier to be at their mercy. Thus, he suggested that the only way out of this conundrum is to return the mandate to the people.
He is of the opinion that the rakyat trusts the current administration due to the way PN handled the pandemic. If a snap election were to happen, he believes, PN will win.
Meanwhile, Nazri contended that the election is necessary to end the 'ping pong game' of which coalition commands the majority support in the Dewan Rakyat
"One day, (the numbers) are in my court, and the next day, it is in your (PH) court. Then, it is in my (PN) court. Let's stop this uncertainty and let's have the general elections," Nazri told Free Malaysia Today on 16 June.
Nazri said the election should be held at parliamentary and state levels as there is a lot of uncertainty in the states as well.
The former de facto law minister gave Sabah as an example, arguing that now that former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman has cleared his corruption charges in the court, he probably commands bigger support and is able to regain his 'rightful' chief minister post.
As for the current MOSTI Minister, Khairy said the election is the ultimate solution to restore investors' confidence in Malaysia, reported New Straits Times on Thursday.
"Without political stability, it doesn't matter what economic plans or programmes we have in place. Investors will say 'Malaysia is doing okay but your politics is very unstable as your government has less than a 10-man majority' (in Dewan Rakyat)," he said.
Commenting on the claims that PN came into federal power through the 'backdoor', Khairy said the political turmoil hit the peak after Pakatan Harapan (PH) "committed suicide" with Dr Mahathir's resignation and several leaders leaving the coalition.
"[Barisan Nasional] didn't overthrow anybody... UMNO and BN had never, not even once, went around looking for ways to become the government again before the next general election," he claimed.
He added, however, that GE15 should not be held before the announcement of 2021 Budget.
If the election is called amidst the pandemic, Malaysia will not be the first country in the world to have done it
In fact, Singapore had on Tuesday, 23 June, announced that the island nation will head to the polls this 10 July, about nine months earlier than the deadline.
Another example in Asia is South Korea, which held a national election on 15 April and commanded a landslide win for President Moon Jae-in's ruling Democratic Party, reported The Diplomat.
It is widely believed that the historical 180 over 300 seats win can be attributed to the Democratic Party's excellence in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, while not so much for the party's overall three years' rule.