PETALING JAYA: Despite enjoying a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat, a political analyst says there are still elements of instability in the new federal government led by Anwar Ibrahim.
Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said the prime minister was walking on very thin ice when it came to holding on to his parliamentary majority.
He said one of Anwar’s top tasks moving forward would be to stabilise the government as soon as possible, adding that he could “satisfy” partners in the administration with key Cabinet appointments.
“However, with a leaner Cabinet, it might not be that easy,” he said during a post-15th general election (GE15) analysis held by KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific.
Describing Anwar’s “unity government” as very fragile, Oh pointed out that former Sabah chief minister Shafie Apdal had also commanded a two-thirds majority in the Sabah state assembly after the 2018 general election (GE14).
However, he said, this changed overnight in July 2020.
“Although we have the anti-hopping law (for MPs) now, parties (and coalitions) within the ruling (bloc) can leave anytime.”
Meanwhile, Bridget Welsh of University of Nottingham Malaysia said the next eight months will be a challenging time for the federal government.
“Umno, as a party, is at a very pivotal point and its access to the government and its resources is very important to the party’s longevity.”
Welsh also said the state elections in six states next year will be fascinating due to the “evolution” in ties between previously warring parties and coalitions, namely Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional.