In another twist of events, YB Datuk Seri Dr. Shamsul Anuar who has been the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources for the Perikatan Nasional government released a media statement on 3rd August 2021 that he shall resign from his position in the cabinet citing the reason of abiding with UMNO’s wishes.
The news certainly came as a shock, as the public has been seeing a myriad of statements whether it be official statements or mere rumours from inside sources that PN still has the support of the UMNO MPs. The conflicting statements created confusion about whether PN does indeed still hold the majority of support, with UMNO members in the cabinet assuring UMNO was in support of PN, and the back-benchers claiming the party has withdrawn support and all members will follow. With the press statement by Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar, the dominant narrative now will be that PN has clearly lost the support it needed to maintain the government.
The press statement by Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar will now become a domino piece, toppling more pieces with each fall. As PN is already surviving based on a thin majority, even one less support will likely spell doom for the government. Seeing this withdrawal of support, the race will now begin on other MPs to also release similar statements to protect themselves as they need to be seen in contributing to the fall of PN which will likely buy them back some goodwill from the public rather than being seen as traitors ousted by the opposition.
Many might question the significance of Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar’s statement given that he was not really a popular figure within the PN government nor is he in the upper echelons of UMNO. Even if he is not one of the headliners of UMNO, his resignation will still spark fear within the members who remain. In the first scenario, if he resigned from his position after an internal discussion with other cabinet members, other members will therefore be aware of the number of supporters remaining and will likely decide to resign themselves as well before being ousted out. In the second scenario, if he resigned without any discussion with other cabinet ministers, other members will now fear that other members have also decided on a similar path, leaving them to question the actual numbers that are left supporting PN. In both scenarios, we see that the risk to stay in the PN government is too heavy of a price to pay for an uncertain reward.
UMNO MPs also have to fear the wrath of the people and repercussion from supporting a hated government whereby the only salvation left is to declare their resignation in order to be perceived as helping to bring down the government. This may not be applicable to senior UMNO members as they are not likely to lose an election in their respective constituencies. This may be the reason why MPs like Ismail Sabri, Hishamuddin, and Khairy continue to support the PN government as they will not likely lose their position as a Member of Parliament even if PN is brought down. The same sentiments will not be shared by other cabinet ministers and their assistance in bringing down the government may likely help buy them another term.
This resignation by Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar may also imply that UMNO has another PM candidate in mind which they believe will be able to gain enough support to form the government. It wouldn’t make sense for UMNO to simply withdraw support and pave the way for Anwar and PH to take over the government because many UMNO members still face criminal charges and are awaiting trial, to allow PH to take over would only seal their fates within the justice system. Furthermore, if they allow PH to take over, they risk PH taking action against the members of the cabinet that have failed to perform their duties properly. It is due to these reasons that would suggest UMNO has already prepared another candidate to take the reins of Prime Minister.
Following the press statement by Shamsul Anuar, Zahid Hamidi made the announcement that UMNO will not defend the PN government and have presented Statutory Declarations to the YDPA on the UMNO members that no longer support the PN government. It is not however enough for a party to make a statement, as our politicians are known to jump into another party anyways. This move is likely to exert pressure on other MPs who are still in the cabinet to quickly abandon the sinking ship before it’s too late as the UMNO top guns in the cabinet have yet to make any announcement on UMNO’s press release or on Shamsul Anuar’s resignation.
Do expect more cabinet ministers to be releasing statements on their respective resignations soon as they each attempt to save their own skin after causing so much damage to our country. What will be interesting to watch is how these ministers will respond to the wrath of the people once they no longer have the power to defend themselves. Although Malaysians have been accused of forgiving easily, the repercussions of the PN government’s administration will not likely be forgiven by the people anytime soon.
Kage is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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