The public knew that the general election was due sooner rather than later, but learning that the King gave his consent to the dissolution of Parliament on 9 October still came as a shock.
Until then, the speculation was that the general election might not happen so soon. So we got it wrong!
Some might feel sorry for the King since he had to deal with a prime minister who did not have the backbone to stand up to his party. The Agong said he was disappointed with current political developments (as are the Malaysian public!) and had no choice but to agree to dissolve Parliament.
Parliament is the living, breathing instrument of our democracy. But it has been taken too lightly and treated recklessly by our politicians.
Ultimately, the King has left it to us, the people, keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian family), to decide for ourselves who we want to vote into office.
So the die is cast! Umno president Zahid Hamidi had been pushing Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob for this and, true to form, the latter caved in because he could not stand up for himself and for keluarga Malaysia.
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Zahid got what he wanted and said Umno had been “magnanimous in any matter involving the interests of the people and country”. He said the party had “generously” worked with other political parties for the interest of the country, only to be met with betrayal. He added that Umno had been “misunderstood because of the defamation and deception of the past few years”.
So a shoutout to all Malaysians: did you know that Malaysia has this absolutely ‘magnanimous’ human being who has been struggling with the people all this while?! Let’s hope people take this so-called Umno ‘magnanimity’ with a large dose of salt.
The country now has a caretaker government and it will carry on the business of government. As for Budget 2023, it is null and void until a new government comes to power, and then a new or even the same Budget will have to be tabled again in Parliament.
On 7 October, the finance minister had dismissed claims that the Budget tabled that day would be redundant. He said the Budget would need to be retabled if Parliament was dissolved before it could be approved. This was reiterated by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who said that the people would now know what to expect should Ismail Sabri become prime minister again.
That’s assuming Ismail Sabri is the new ‘poster boy’ for the party who will bring in the votes. Who knows, he might get lucky and become prime minister again, depending on the whims and fancies of the Umno president.
But what if Ismail Sabri does not become the prime minister again?
The elections are coming and it must be especially galling for Najib (Mr Bossku) Razak to be behind bars at this point in Malaysian history. Some speculate he might still stand in Pekan. Or, who knows, maybe it could be his son.
It is hilarious that only days ago, his lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, was trying so hard to get the court’s permission for his client to visit Pekan. Now he has to work a lot harder to get his client to contest in the general election.
Najib had filed for a royal pardon on 1 September. But because he was convicted, he will not be able to stand for election unless he is pardoned before the election. Meanwhile, he is apparently and controversially still an MP pending a decision on his application for a royal pardon.
Will Umno-BN be holding their breath and wait for the ex-poster boy to be freed with a royal pardon? We can only hope that the King and his advisors will let common sense prevail and decide in the interests of the people.
Once again, it will come down to the people to choose who to vote for. Will new younger voters be kingmakers? Will they make their voices heard or are they already sick and tired of the constant bickering from all the parties? Will social media play a bigger role for them when they go to the polling stations?
We have not had a stable government since the collapse of PH in February 2020. With all the political infighting and parties throwing barbs at each other, it is tough to figure out which parties will act in favour of the people, rather than for themselves.
It would be a change if all political parties just behaved themselves instead of acting like unruly brats! But that is just wishful thinking.
To all who intend to vote, hopefully you will reflect and discern from now on who will work for the people’s interests. It is a tough choice as all parties are thinking of their own survival.
So, for now, think well and vote wisely when the time comes.
jem, an Aliran reader, still cares deeply about Sabah, despite having lived in the peninsula for some time