The universe seems to be conspiring against Malaysia, as there is no surcease of daily bad news for the country.
Yesterday’s, it was disclosed that Bank Negara’s international reserves have declined further to US$94.5 billion (RM356.4 billion) as at Aug 14 compared to US$96.7 billion (RM364.7 billion) on July 31.
At this rate of shrinking international reserves to stem the ringgit slide against the US dollar which yesterday stood at RM4.17 to a US dollar, the BN international reserves could fall to some US$92 billion on Merdeka Day on August 31 and by Malaysia Day on Sept. 16, might be struggling not to fall below the US$90 billion level.
The news yesterday of the flip-flop by the new Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, forming a new task force to investigate the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, after disbanding the earlier multi-agency Special Task Force to investigate into the twin scandals of 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts, but now excluding the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), is only calculated to further undermine and not restore a very shaken public confidence in the key national institutions in the country.
In this context, the “interesting proposition” by former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir that the Opposition support a no-confidence vote in Parliament against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak while still retaining Barisan Nasional as government has opened up a Pandora’s Box about the directions Malaysia should be heading in the coming years.
In his FaceBook, Najib said it up to the people who elected him “to give and to take away” his mandate and the right doesn’t fall to any “individual, however eminent.”
Najib seems to have forgotten two things: Firstly, he is a minority Prime Minister, the first one in fact, in Malaysia as the majority of voters in the 13th general election did not vote for him but Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Secondly, his role as the mastermind of the undemocratic and unconstitutional coup toppling the Pakatan Rakyat state government in Perak in February 2009, without seeking a vote of no confidence against the then Perak Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin. If Najib had been consistent in the past and acted in accordance with what he claimed in his FaceBook yesterday, Nizar would have served out his term as Perak Mentri Besar afer the 2008 General Election and moved on to become a second-term Perak Mentri Besar in the 13th General Election.
Is Najib going to degenerate from one undemocratic history (the Perak coup in Feb 2009) to another undemocratic outrage as to now claim that it is undemocratic and even unconstitutional for any motion of no confidence to be discussed, proposed and decided by Parliament and that those who advocate any such vote of no confidence against him are guilty of the offence under Section 124B of the Penal Code on “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” and can be jailed up to 20 years?
Will there be a vote of no confidence against Najib as Prime Minister and is such a motion likely to succeed when Parliament reconvenes on Oct. 19?
Mahathir’s “interesting proposition” would be a good starting point to explore such a possibility.
One of the key factors for consideration of such motion of no confidence is whether there are at least 35 UMNO/BN MPs who are prepared to join Opposition MPs in October Parliament on a “Save Malaysia” agenda including a no-confidence motion on Najib, and the terms and conditions of such an unprecedented united front.
Although the three former Pakatan Rakyat parties of DAP, PKR and PAS have a total of 88 MPs, it will be foolhardy for anyone to assume that the 21 PAS MPs will all support a vote of no confidence against Najib unless this is clearly and specifically spelt out by the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang himself.
In the circumstances, the safest bet is to assume that some 75-78 Opposition MPs will take a united common position on the no-confidence motion with the balance having to be made up from UMNO and Barisan Nasional MPs.
At present, UMNO/BN have 134 MPs, i.e. 88 UMNO MPs and 46 non-UMNO BN MPs, comprising:
UMNO – 88
MCA – 7
MIC – 4
PBB – 14
SUPP – 1
PBS – 4
PRS – 6
SPDP – 4
UPKO – 3
PBRS – 1
Are there at least 35 UMNO/MPs who are prepared to join with Opposition MPs in October Parliament on a “Save Malaysia” agenda including a no-confidence motion on Najib?