As for the ongoing political tribulations in the country, politics and party politics have to be set aside for the time being and a government be formed that will not side with any party. Only the interest of the nation should be prioritised.
Indeed, the perception among Malaysians today is that the nation is facing a severe political crisis. During this unfortunate phase, the country is also facing the Covid-19 pandemic, economic instability and social disorientation. Even by having a bloated Cabinet comprising politicians has not helped “navigate the country out of the turbulent seas”. For that reason, the country now is in dire need of a government that has to be depoliticised.
A state of emergency is not the solution. History has shown that in a state of emergency overconcentration of power in the hands of leaders has led to dictatorship.
Political parties are viciously struggling for power believing that they can do better than the others.
Due to these unhealthy political drives, the spread of Covid-19 has worsened. The economy has grown sluggish with many Malaysians out of jobs. Investors are shying away from the country. Schools, colleges and many institutions have to be shut down.
The country is facing an unprecedented new normal and in the midst of these misfortunes, politicians are busy politicking against each other.
No clear majority
Even a snap election is not going to bring relief to the quandary. Apparently, with too many political parties vying for votes, no single political party could come out with a comfortable majority. Thus, whichever political party or coalition comes to power, the present snags facing the country would remain the same and would not be resolved.
With no clear majority, it would again lead to political uncertainty unless political parties are willing to compromise. Votes needed to pass a law or policy will not come by. This would lead to more political bickering to the detriment of the people’s welfare.
Presently, politicians and political parties are prioritising politics too much that they forget about the country, which is facing a difficult time. To end this stalemate, as a short term measure, the country should have a non-partisan or unity government led by an interim prime minister.
A broad-based non-partisan or unity government may consist of all parties in the legislature. It could include MPs from PPBM, Umno, PAS, GPS, Amanah, Warisan, and even the smaller parties of GRS, Upko, PSB, MCA, and MIC.
As for their accountability in governance, leave the process of checks and balances to those MPs who have not been appointed to the Cabinet.
The team should also represent a diverse cross-section of non-partisan capable Malaysians from those among the civil society to justifiably pursue the non-partisan or unity government path.
A Cabinet of insiders and outsiders
Ministers can therefore be chosen purely on merit, instead of party connections.
Capable members from the legislature as well as from outside the legislature can be appointed to the Cabinet. Bring in technocrats and professionals to become ministers instead of politicians in charge of important ministries or in key decision-making positions.
Allow no politicians to hold government-linked companies posts. Let these companies be handled by professionals.
This could mean a government that consists of, in the best case, MPs from all the major parties but it is not essential that all must be MPs.
With Cabinet members made up of MPs from different parties, there would also be no real opposition. Instead, all other MPs not appointed in the Cabinet would be serving as the check and balance.
An interim prime minister supported by both sides could convincingly pick and choose a Cabinet from among the best, regardless of political parties or affiliations and he would not need to pledge allegiance to any political party.
Many countries have done this before though some as a short-term solution to their political impasses.
As for now, multi-racial Malaysia needs a non-partisan or unity government with talented personalities from all races and social strata having a role in governance. This is the time for national unity as unity protects the nation from all the unnecessary political and economic destructiveness.
By : Moaz Nair – FMT