What stunt is PAS trying to pull with its so-called “confidence motion” for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to continue as Prime Minister for a full term?
Clearly, the party is not acting in good faith.
There’s really no need for it. The current administration’s position in the Dewan Rakyat is not in question.
The government is still in the majority with 139 of the 222 seats (i.e. 129 from Pakatan Harapan and 9 from Warisan as well as 1 from UPKO).
No one has tried to lodge a vote of no confidence.
Indeed, PAS’ motion, assuming it even gets debated and passed (because government business takes precedence in Parliament) is in no way legally binding.
It won’t prevent Dr Mahathir from resigning when he wants to. And the government will still fall if someone manages to get a motion of no-confidence passed later on.
Also, PAS’ behaviour is strange given that it’s ally UMNO has just won 2 Parliamentary by-elections straight.
A normal, rational Opposition would be using this as proof that the incumbent government is losing the confidence of the people, not trying to enter it through the backdoor.
Indeed, most of its GE14 campaign was focused on demonising Dr Mahathir.
So why is PAS going against the wishes of its voters as well as those of its so-called “Muafakat Nasional” ally, UMNO and Barisan Nasional?
There’s all kinds of rumours that this will be the precursor of the formation of a new, “backdoor” government.
The purpose of this move is supposedly to prevent Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from becoming Prime Minister as agreed under the PH consensus.
The legitimacy and sustainability of such a government, that would more or less be monoethnic in every possible scenario, would be deeply problematic.
Also, it would be atypical of PAS to engage in such tactics, given that they fell victim to “backdoor tactics” during the 1977 Kelantan Emergency.
Basically, there was a split in PAS (which was then part of BN) between Kelantan Menteri Besar Dato Mohamed Nasir and party President Tan Sri Asri Muda.
The Kelantan State Assembly then had 36 seats: PAS had 22, UMNO 13 and MCA 1.
20 of the PAS State Assemblymen passed a no-confidence motion against Nasir, while the BN reps walked out.
The Menteri Besar refused to resign and attempted to dissolve the legislature. Protests broke out.
An emergency was declared, lasting between 8 November 1977—12 February 1978, essentially allowing the Menteri Besar to remain in office.
PAS was ousted from BN while Nasir created the BERJASA party. In March 1978, elections were held in Kelantan: UMNO won 23 seats, BERJASA 11 and PAS 2.
UMNO ended up with the Kelantan Menteri Besar-ship while BERJASA then joined the BN. However, PAS regained Kelantan in 1990 and has held it ever since.
PAS had for decades been campaigning on its victimisation by UMNO in 1977. Indeed, this was why the late Tuan Guru Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat was vehemently against any future PAS-UMNO tie-ups.
I can only hope that PAS return to becoming the responsible Opposition they once were.
There’s so much work to be done for Malaysia—including navigating the renewed global economic uncertainty due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
PAS can either help the country or make a nuisance of themselves. The choice is theirs.
Either way, the rakyat will judge.
NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN CHIEF ORGANISING SECRETARY
KEADILAN CENTRAL LEASERSHIP COUNCIL MEMBER
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT