Many Malaysians can see through the political games that are going on, and they are unlikely to be impressed, writes Anil Netto.
The saga of Hadi’s bill in Parliament descended into a farce this afternoon when Speaker Pandikar Amin refused to allow a debate amidst shouts of “Takut! Takut!” from opposition MPs.
But not everyone is upset with the speaker’s decision to abruptly defer the debate on the bill to the next parliamentary sitting. [Update: It has since emerged that all this was pre-planned, as many suspected.]
The fact that the bill made it to the floor of Parliament – albeit for a one-sided airing – will allow Pas president Hadi Awang to go into the Pas party elections on 29 April-2 May 2017 in Alor Setar with something to show his party delegates – that his bill is moving.
This will bolster his position in the face of apparent disquiet within segments of Pas over the party’s rapprochement with Umno of late. It will perhaps put off some hard questioning from within the party of Hadi’s cosy relations with the Umno leadership ahead of an impending general election, widely expected later this year.
Whatever the case, the BN has painted itself into a corner at the next parliamentary sitting, which begins on 24 July, assuming the general election is held after that.
If the bill is put to a vote, it will cause a severe rift with East Malaysian and other BN component parties.
If the bill is not put to the vote, it will become even clearer that all this manouevring over Hadi’s now-on-now-off bill is political brinkmanship of the highest order – and both Umno and Pas could suffer.
To save the BN from this likely no-win predicament, Parliament could be dissolved before the next sitting due to begin on 24 July, paving the way for the general election.
By now, many Malaysians are already viewing this as a sandiwara to try and entice Muslim voters ahead of the general election. Indeed, many can see through the political games that are going on, and they are unlikely to be impressed.