Back to where we were – nowhere!

Will Ismail Sabri's cabinet be top heavy with more Umno and ex-PN ministers?

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Malaysia has a new prime minister – none other than the deputy prime minister in the previous Perikatan Nasional coalition government – Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Many of us knew this might be the outcome – though we were hoping it would not materialise. It’s going to be another tumultuous year for the country and its people. 

Netizens have been vocal about what they are feeling, and their feelings need to be vented. Many know this government will not differ much from the previous one.

So where will ousted Prime Minister Mahiaddin Yasin figure in the new cabinet? Will he watch from the sidelines? Or will there be a position for him? Hopefully, this will not be the case. 

Already netizens have been voicing their disapproval over the choice of Ismail Sabri as Prime Minister. To have Mahiaddin in the new cabinet as well would be showing utter disregard for the feelings of many netizens. So we shall have to wait and see.

The incoming prime minister has already been meeting MPs and Umno supreme council members. 

Many questions arise. What will the composition of the new cabinet be like? Will it be top heavy with more Umno and ex-PN ministers?

Will there be any opposition members in the cabinet? Maybe a token few to placate the people?

What will happen to the rule of law? Remember, Zahid Hamdi is Ismail Sabri’s boss in the Umno supreme council and Najib Razak was once his boss! 

What will happen to the corruption and money laundering charges of those involved in IMDB? Will the executive be able to stay out of the fray and allow judges to make their judgment on their own accord, with no coercion?

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Most importantly, will the new cabinet line-up have the credibility, integrity and trustworthiness to win public support?

Some lawyers and electoral experts reportedly feel the new prime minister should “convene a special meeting and table a vote of confidence in himself to prove his majority”. This would be in line with Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution.

MPs, they feel, should state publicly where they stand regarding the new prime minister and his government. This will prove to the public that the new PM does have the required majority. Hopefully, these MPs will stay put until the next general election and stop jumping to other lily pads.

After reading what some lawyers had to say, a thought popped into my mind: what would happen if, at that motion of confidence, Ismail Sabri fails to get 114 votes.

Were those statutory declarations freely given? Were they induced and MPs had no choice then? What would happen if, at the show of hands in Parliament, there are fewer than 114 votes?

It is doubtful that would happen though – because even if the votes were induced, none of the 114 would have the guts to admit it. So yes, it is wishful thinking.

Ultimately, let’s hope the new prime minister will have some news ideas on how to beat this pandemic. Will the innovation minister continue to run the vaccination rollout? Will there be stricter Covid rules that make sense to the people or will there be more confusing statements?

On 19 August, then-Prime Minister Mahiaddin announced the easing of restrictions for dining in at restaurants while the National Security Council has come up with new standard operating procedures. Dining in would only be allowed for those fully vaccinated, who could bring along their children aged 17 and below by adhering to general health protocols.

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Does this make sense with the daily case numbers hovering around 20,000, and Selangor still having the highest number? Remember, the Delta variant is still out there and Lambda is hovering somewhere. So, is this what we are to expect from the new government?

Now, there seems to be nothing to look forward to. Will the line-up of the new cabinet be filled with some of those 114 MPs, who – if you remember – had earlier supported the previous prime minister? If that is the case, then there will be no change and we’ll be back to where we were – which was nowhere!

Jem, an Aliran reader, still cares deeply about Sabah, despite having lived in the peninsula for some time

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