Everybody is trying to work with Mahathir

The political situation in Malaysia, to put it succinctly, is simply odd.

Everyone is trying to support Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and looking forward to working with him. This includes both his own ruling coalition partners as well as the opposition.

They never fail to declare their support for the current PM repeatedly, even if it is for “no apparent reasons”. It must be completely odd for someone craving to table a motion of confidence for Mahathir in Parliament when there is no crisis of lack of confidence!

The problem is Mahathir himself is not saying much. Here lies the crux of the conundrum.

Everything is ambiguous, from the date of handover to how it is to be effected. He is now saying Anwar Ibrahim must “personally” secure the support of the majority in the Dewan Rakyat. I wonder if Pakatan Harapan has lost its majority in the Dewan Rakyat.

Why is the PM, who is from a small party, so powerful? Why is he able to control everything?

Is it because of Mahathir’s strong personality and leadership? Perhaps, but then when he was fighting against Umno and the Barisan Nasonal during the 14th general election, he was practically standing alone except with the help of PH component partners.

Is it because of the institution of the premiership? Whoever becomes PM would ipso facto become very powerful. I think this is true, the formal position does carry with it lots of power in this country.

Is it because PH coalition partners are unfaithful to each other? Each of them is trying to look for new partners outside rather than working with existing partners within. I think this is quite obvious. They support each other to seek power, but after attaining it, they seek to exclude each other.

Is it because opposition parties are bankrupt and therefore desperately trying to save themselves from annihilation? In which country would opposition parties try hard to support the sitting PM more than their own coalition partners? Again, the reasons are obvious – some are loaded with lots of court cases, some are trying to avoid being investigated and charged, and some are trying to gain federal power after being in the wilderness all their life.

In case we have not noticed, there is effectively no opposition in the country today in terms of setting new direction or policies. For the last two years, I think politicians spent more time scheming and manoeuvring against each other than administering the country.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.