If DAP and Pakatan Harapan are only interested in our own political interests, we will do everything possible to ensure that Datuk Seri Najib Razak will remain as Prime Minister and lead UMNO/Barisan Nasional into the 14th General Elections because he will be an easier target with so many political and economic scandals exploding all over the place.
We will not force an issue of a vote of confidence in Parliament, whether in the form of a no-confidence motion or in defeating the government on an important measure like the Second Reading of the 2016 Budget which will be voted on Monday 16th November at the end of the three-day Ministerial winding-up of the budget debate.
But our national interests must override all our political party interests for we want to send a clear and unmistakable message that the present state of national affairs where confidence, whether national or international, has plumbed to the lowest depths in the nation’s history, cannot continue for the next two-and-half-years before the 14th General Elections, as the country cannot afford the great economic and nation-building costs of such prolonged crisis of confidence.
November 16. when there will be a vote in the Second Reading of the 2016 Budget, will be Najib’s first test of leadership in Parliament.
Pakatan Harapan has 72 Members of Parliament, but only 71 votes, as I have been suspended from Parliament for six months. PAS has declared that it will not support any effort to vote out the 2016 Budget.
In these circumstances, is it possible to expect 41 Members of Parliament from UMNO/Barisan Nasional to cross the floor on Nov. 16 to support Pakatan Harapan Members of Parliament to vote down Najib’s 2016 Budget by ensuring that there is an absolute simple majority of at least 112 votes out of a Parliament of 222 Members of Parlaiment?
I do not see two scores of UMNO/BN Members of Parliament crossing the floor to join Pakatan Harapan Members of Parliament on Nov. 16 to vote down the 2016 Budget.
This is not because there are no UMNO/BN Members of Parliament who are extremely unhappy with Najib’s 2016 Budget, in particular his complete failure to give proper and satisfactory accounting for the RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega scandals, which had jointly created the worst crisis of confidence in the Prime Minister in the nation’s history.
However, unless there are some 40 UMNO/BN Members of Parliament who are prepared to gang up and team up with Pakatan Harapan Members of Parliament and risk disciplinary actions by the UMNO/BN leadership, I do not expect to see UMNO/BN Members of Parliament to act singly, or in twos or threes, to declare their dissatisfaction with Najib which would be tantamount to a break with the Prime Minister.
In the circumstances, I do not expect any surprises in the vote in the second reading of the 2016 Budget on 16th November.
However, even if Najib wins the vote in the 2016 Budget second reading on Nov. 16, it does not mean that the coast is clear for him and that he is safe and no more vulnerable from any attacks, particularly from UMNO itself, on his leadership.
After the second reading on the 2016 Budget, there is still the motion of no confidence in Najib as Prime Minister which the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, has given notice in Parliament.
Even if Azizah’s no-confidence motion is not allowed to come up in the current meeting of Parliament for debate and vote, Najib’s position as Prime Minister and head of the UMNO/BN coalition government could still come under challenge after the Parliamentary meeting on Dec. 3, largely through a constitutional precedent on the toppling of a head of government which had been set by none other than Najib himself.
Recent polls in August 2015 have shown that for the first time in the nation’s history, approval for the government among Malays have fallen below 50 per cent since Merdeka Centre began recording the data in February 2012.
Malay support for the government fell from 52% in January this year to 31 per cent in August, and this could have fallen even lower now in November after the many economic and political economic scandals in the past two months, with the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” scandals continuing to produce one adverse publicity after another, not only in Malaysia but also internationally.
The government’s overall approval rating had also plummetted from 38% in January this year to mere 23 per cent in August.
As I said, if DAP and Pakatan Harapan are only interested in our own political party interests, the last thing we want to do now is to rock Najib’s boat as there cannot be a weaker Prime Minister and head of UMNO/BN to lead the 14th General Election than Najib.
However, we put national interests above everything else, as we do not want Malaysia to go down the drain from a country which half a century ago had the potential to be among the best and most successful countries in the world losing out to one country after another in terms of economic achievements, educational attainments and a show case of successful multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation-building to become a basket-case on the road to a rogue and failed state where there is not only a breakdown of the rule of law but collapse of good and democratic governance.
For this reason, DAP and Pakatan Harapan are prepared to co-operate even with UMNO/BN parties, Members of Parliament and ordinary members who want to save the country from becoming a rogue and failed state by putting an end to the multitude of disastrous political and economic polices pursued by the Najib government.
A silent war is being waged in UMNO, between the 300 UMNO chieftains who have vested personal interests to protect like Najib and the three million UMNO members who have no such vested personal interests to protect.
DAP and Pakatan Harapan are prepared to work with the three million UMNO members and the 30 million Malaysians to save Malaysia.
The challenge is whether a new political configuration can emerge in Malaysia where national interests override party or personal interests!
(Speech to the Johor DAP workshop for political assistants to elected representatives held at Taman Megan DAP Branch premises in Batu Pahat on Saturday, 7th November 2015 at 11 am)