Sarawak the big loser as power tussle at federal continues

LETTER

By Abdul Salam Hussain

THE new Cabinet has been appointed and by the looks of it, not everyone is happy, especially Umno leaders were not appointed as Ministers. People like ex-Johor Menteri Besar and Umno VP Datuk Seri Khalid Nordin had already attacked PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin, describing the Cabinet as lacking integrity.

Others who had joined the fray included Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohd Hassan and MPs like Datuk Seri Azalina Othman (Pengerang), Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (Pasir Salak) and Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (Kinabatangan).

Their unhappiness is understandable. Umno has more seats than Muhyiddin’s Bersatu but many of the Cabinet posts went to the latter and renegade MPs aligned to Datuk Seri Azmin Ali. In fact, Azmin is the Deputy Prime Minister, in all but name.

Considering that the Perikatan Nasional has a wafer-thin majority, disgruntled Umno and PAS lawmakers can swing their allegiance to bring down Muhyiddin’s government come May 18 when the Dewan Rakyat convenes and very possibly, a vote of confidence is put forward.

Let’s not forget that another person who has an axe to grind with Muhyiddin is his predecessor, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who has the distinct honour of toppling three Prime Ministers in the past.

So, what do all these mean? Specifically I am more concerned about what would happen to Sarawak. Firstly, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will have a hard time demanding its wish-list, especially on MA63 matters, to an embattled federal government.

A weak federal government would not have the courage to fulfill demands related to MA63, as it needs to tip-toe around Peninsular politicians with a nationalist streak or those with a false sense of superiority. For all its rhetoric, Muhyiddin’s pledges made to GPS will just be broken promises if this holds true.

Worse, if Muhyiddin’s fragile government collapses, then the new administration may victimise GPS. The ruling coalition in Sarawak, with 18 MPs, was the kingmaker that helped ensure Muhyiddin become the eighth PM.

If a new PM comes in, there is a possibility that he will want to “teach a lesson” to GPS, not just for siding with Muhyiddin but for turning its back against voters’ wishes by backing a backdoor government. All in all, this is not good news.

But going by the attacks by Umno warlords against Muhyiddin, his grip on power is at best, tenacious. And as turmoil continue to rock Putrajaya, it’s Sarawakians, due to GPS’ association with Umno-PAS, who will end up as losers.

Abdul Salam Hussain reads The New Sarawak. The views here do not necessarily represent those of this portal.

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