Bersatu Must Stop Destabilising The Ismail Government


From Ibrahim M Ahmad
Perikatan Nasional is becoming very tiresome with its constant harping on Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s alleged failure to honour the political agreement that he entered with the Bersatu-led coalition just prior to taking office in August last year.
The coalition’s secretary-general, Hamzah Zainudin, announced to the press on Thursday that he was to meet Ismail the following day on the matter. As it turns out that meeting had to be postponed. Ismail was otherwise occupied apparently.
The Memorandum of Agreement, dated Aug 17, 2021, was probably one of the better-kept secrets of the current government. PN’s deputy chairman Abdul Hadi Awang didn’t even know it existed. Neither, it seems, did anyone else in Umno.
The four signatories (Ismail, coalition chairman Muhyiddin Yassin, Hamzah and Ketereh MP Annuar Musa) did not breathe a word about it for almost a year – until Muhyiddin called out Ismail last month for supposedly breaking promises he made in the document.
The accusation was that the prime minister had reneged on the agreement to appoint someone from Bersatu’s ranks as his deputy.
Lately, the complaint has included Ismail’s failure to strip party defector, Zuraida Kamaruddin, of her Cabinet post and replace her with another Bersatu member.
Although presented as the coalition’s complaints, the grumblings in fact emanate entirely from Bersatu.
Perhaps Muhyiddin, Hamzah and company need reminding that Malaysians are sick to death of the endless politicking and jockeying for positions of power.
It is a well-known fact that when party leaders negotiate to put in place a coalition to assume power, some “horse-trading” will take place, but all that should have been resolved prior to coalition members taking office.
How much longer does Bersatu intend to press on with its demands? At what point does the reward its leaders seek turn into gratification, and attempts to secure such gratification turn into corruption?
Bersatu’s demands appear to be entirely selfish in nature. The party is seeking to secure for itself and certain members of its leadership positions of power within the executive branch.
To date, Bersatu has not revealed who they wish to put forward as deputy prime minister.
Surely not Muhyiddin, who has already betrayed the rakyat on multiple occasions, first with the Sheraton Move, then by suspending Parliament, and thereafter by various other shenanigans in a desperate effort to cling on to power.
Azmin Ali is a non-starter, while Hamzah has performed abysmally as home minister, recently provoking our friendly Nusantara neighbours, Indonesia, into issuing terse media statements on foreign worker issues affecting their citizens here.
Who, then, does Bersatu intend to put forward, and how will the incoming pair, the new DPM and new minister for plantation industries and commodities, improve the administration of government? It is time the party shows its hand.
After all, Muhyiddin himself did not appoint a deputy during his tenure as prime minister; he appointed senior ministers instead who, he said, gave him sufficient assistance. Why is Ismail’s reliance on the same structure wrong now?
Zuraida has many detractors, but at the very least, the fact that she has held the plantation industries and commodities portfolio for almost a year now must count for something. Malaysia does not have the luxury of giving a new minister another 100 days to get into the groove of things.
The only conclusion one can reach is that Bersatu seeks power for power’s sake.
It is merely trying to increase its profile within the government, hoping to use any heightened exposure the party may get for the benefit of its candidates at the next general election.
By continuously harping on its “entitlements”, Bersatu is showing that it has the capacity to destabilise Ismail’s government, hoping that the prime minister will at some point cave in and confer the party the benefits it lusts after.
Thankfully, Ismail has been impervious to its antics. Here is one occasion when his non-engagement actually helps the country as we wait impatiently to elect the next government.
When that day of reckoning comes, Bersatu may quite possibly pay a heavy price for its many missteps. - FMT
Ibrahim M Ahmad is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

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