There is no doubt that Perikatan Nasional has been successful in maintaining their advantage in the game of chess they were playing since they came into power through the infamous ‘Sheraton Move’. The game however took a sudden turn when they committed one wrong move.
On 26th July 2021, a PN minister made a statement in parliament that the Emergency Ordinance has been revoked on 21st July 2021, the statement caused an uproar in parliament with many opposition Members of Parliament demanding clarification and explanation as the revocation of the Emergency Ordinance was within the ambit of the YDPA’s power. The following day, the minister announced that the explanation to his statement would be given only on the following Monday, 2nd August 2021.
On 29th July, the palace released a statement whereby the YDPA has made it clear that no revocation has been presented and the statement made by the minister has caused confusion within the Parliament. The YDPA has also reminded them that the power to revoke Emergency Ordinances under A.150(3) of the Federal Constitution is with the YDPA. Even if the statement made by the minister was accidental, allegedly attempting to usurp the power of the YDPA can be construed as ‘treason’, a crime that is serious in this country. The events that unfolded will force PN to now take defensive measures to maintain their majority which is likely why the afternoon session of the parliamentary sitting has been postponed.
The Pakatan Harapan coalition is now in a formidable position to move their pieces around to ensure they are able to checkmate the PN government. With the allegations of ‘treason’ hanging over the PN government, moves must be made quickly to ensure the game doesn’t drag on much longer. Continuing down the path of criticisms and repeated allegations against PN will however not be enough and PH will need to rally behind one individual in order to present a suitable candidate for the next Prime Minister, maybe Anwar will finally have his numbers.
The checkmate however will be difficult to achieve without knowing how Barisan National will respond. Eyes should certainly be placed on BN MPs as the time to finally take a stand has arrived. BN is in a unique position after the recent developments, where we had previously seen how BN had split into two factions, mainly divided over the support of the PM. Although they did denounce their support for the PM, in parliament they still sat with the government and only Tengku Razaleigh took a stand by issuing a letter to the Speaker so that he will sit with the independent section of parliament. Zahid’s faction will likely use this opportunity to sway other MPs to join his camp and will effectively become the kingmaker by having the cards to finally bring down the PM.
The problem for BN lies with their MPs who belong to the current cabinet, where the principle of collective responsibility may be applicable in bringing the allegations of ‘treason’ against all members of the cabinet, this means Zahid will not be able to accept all defectors to prevent any bad reputation from spilling over into his camp. Given their unique position, BN will likely hold the key to a successful checkmate, the only question is how many pieces will they sacrifice to ensure their victory.
PAS on the other hand will likely not survive if they are tied to the allegations of ‘treason’ against the YDPA. They have constantly used race and religion to gain the support of citizens and sadly many do fall prey to their convoluted approach in interpreting religious dogma for their personal gain. This method of gaining power will ultimately fail because once the YDPA steps in, citizens will look to the King as the protector of their race and the King being the head of Islam in Malaysia will effectively prevent PAS from any further use of the religion to save themselves as they will not be able to contradict the YDPA. Furthermore, the Minister who gave the statement which led to this crisis came from PAS itself, and citizens might not entertain their racial and religious rhetoric any longer given that they might be viewed as alleged traitors.
The Prime Minister has however provided a response insinuating that all matters were done according to the law and the constitution. The response has also illustrated the government’s version on the events that took place which lead to the original confusion pertaining the revocation. Whether this is true or another attempt to mislead the public, hopefully we will be able to find out during the next parliamentary seating.
Most importantly, PN has lost the support of the people throughout this pandemic and coupled with their behavior in parliament, their careless statement will likely be the final nail in the coffin to their tenure as the government. What is sure is that the game has reached its climax and both sides will have to take calculated moves to ensure their victory. In the words of Dr. Strange to Tony Stark, “We’re in the Endgame now”.
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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