Malay proclamation points to another Sheraton move but Anwar no pushover either, say pundits

07 May 2023 03:20pm
Anwar Ibrahim is the 10th Malaysian Prime Minister
Anwar Ibrahim is the 10th Malaysian Prime Minister

SHAH ALAM - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has expressed confidence in his government's stability with the support of 148 MPs but should he be worried over a possible vote of no confidence during the upcoming May 22 parliamentary sitting?

Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Dr Oh Ei Sun said if he was Anwar, he would be extremely concerned.

"All signs point to the eve of another round of Sheraton Move with the Malay proclamation as likely a Trojan Horse joining Perikatan Nasional (PN) with Dr Mahathir Mohamed as well as those potentially flipping from within the unity government," he told Sinar Daily.

Sheraton Move refers to the political maneuvering that took place in Feb 2020 which saw the sudden collapse of elected Pakatan Harapan government while Malay proclamation refers to a declaration of support for Malay political interest.

"The opposition can easily wrest the premiership away just by having more than half of the MPs declare support for them, regardless of their party affiliations. It is worth noting that the anti-hopping law does not stop MPs from switching their support," added Oh.

Political analyst Associate Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said anything is possible since the 2020 sudden collapse, even if it does not violate constitutional provisions, resulting in the people's mandate becoming a mandate for politicians.

"The Unity Government is only about 6 months old,made up of those who could not meet eye to eye on many issues but decided to form the government and put aside the differences.

"At this stage, they need to iron out differences and look at similarities, what is needed most now is stability in the political arena," he added.

As Malaysian politics becomes more fluid, he said the political performance is influenced by various factors, including the Unity government losing some states while performing better in others.

"However, this does not necessarily translate to the overthrow of the federal government," he added.

"As a seasonal politician, the PM knows how it works and what strategy to use in order to address the issues of ‘instability’ and ‘vote of confidence’," he said.

The key factor for the Tambun MP's success is to earn the trust and confidence of coalition members, as well as those from Borneo and BN blocs.

"If he manages to maintain the momentum, the unity government could remain stable for a considerable period. However, politics is known for its lack of permanent friends or enemies, only interests," added Sivamurugan.

Echoing Sivamurugan’s views, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) political analyst Dr Abdul Aziz Azizam shared two differing two viewpoints on vote of no confidence.

"Firstly, such proposal may not be appropriate as it appears to question the appointment of the Prime Minister, who has been appointed by the King.

"Additionally, this vote of confidence overlaps with the decision made by the King, as if the parliamentarians (want to further find the) need to confirm the appointment made by the King.

"Secondly, the proposal for a vote of confidence is to ensure that the government has the confidence of the parliamentarians to continue governing the country.

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"In my personal view, I am more inclined towards the second opinion, although this matter is not stated in any constitutional statement, the objective of this voting of confidence is to measure the confidence of parliamentarians towards the leader of the government," he said.

Aziz further added that the approach is deemed appropriate since it can convey a message of authority and, to some extent, inspire trust and reassure the people in the current unstable political environment.