The King once again is due to perform his constitutional duty, which is to select as his prime minister the political leader most likely to command a majority in Parliament i.e. the one who presently holds most support, and who likewise represents the wishes of the majority of the population.
There is such a man. It is Anwar Ibrahim who by far is the front runner in terms of support and who convincingly won the last election. When the King last canvassed MPs Anwar received 92 votes straight up and his then ally Dr Mahathir another 65.
Certainly the post does not pass through ‘promotion’, as being intimated by some, to the recently appointed deputy prime minister whose role does not exist in the Constitution let alone hold rights of succession.
However, in February 2020 he selected the wrong man – a ‘liar’ who was not a party leader and who had received no support from MPs. The Agong was apparently misled. Notably he did not offer the job to the deputy prime minister at that time either.
Once appointed, Mahiaddin nonetheless built up an impressive array of supporting MPs from his zero position, which gives an indication of how much easier it would be for someone starting from a base of 90 MPs, namely Anwar.
However, to perform his feat Mahiaddin, who is finally being forced to relinquish his grip, dragged politics in Malaysia deeper into the sewer than ever before and became so embroiled in the business of bribing and blackmailing for support that his government failed entirely to control the pandemic, support a desperate population, implement fair controls or even roll out the vaccines for which taxpayers had paid through the nose.
The country is rightly furious and the King must not make the same mistake again simply because the establishment would rather not bend to the popular will and allow a reform agenda.
Yet many (particularly on the reform side) have expressed fear, that the King may indeed seek to thwart the clear winner of the election and front runner yet again and appoint from the losing party UMNO instead, most particularly the Mahiaddin crony and hastily appointed ‘Deputy PM’ Ismail Sabri. This would be a dereliction of duty that could surely not be excused a second time.
UMNO lost power owing to the shocking corruption of its leadership, reflected throughout the entire structure of the party, which has abused power for decades to loot the country together with a crony elite of business brokers and aristocrats. It is that monied elite who clearly believe they have the most to lose from a government that has championed open tendering, transparency and a crackdown on corruption.
However, Malaysia desperately needs these reforms to regain its credibility as a trading nation and restore law and order and prosperity. To establish the relevance of the monarchy for the immediate and longer future the King must respond to the request of the electorate in accordance with his duty and do what is best for the nation.
The wrong choice will not just damage the country but the credibility of the institution he represents – the future of the monarchy is at stake.
The Mahiaddin government performed one favour in that it neatly sorted the corrupted, corruptible and venal politicians from those of conviction with a sense of duty and public service. Barely a single MP was not subject to bribes, blackmail or both over the past two years. Those who are willing to be bought have self-advertised themselves by changing sides.
The better lot remain on Anwar’s side having resisted blandishments that reached a widely reported RM30 million “Durians” over the past week, with a small coterie playing would be King maker or Crown Snatcher – some of those from UMNO.
Were the King to appoint just another of the dismal, degenerate money politicians who presided with such disgrace over the past two years of corruption and neglect as Malaysians suffered, fell sick and committed suicide he would fail to solve the problems that have already destroyed Mahiaddin. There is no distinction between these characters in the eyes of the public or the world – and they have no mandate.
To replace Mahiaddin with an UMNO ally would pave the way for greater corruption, worse dictatorship and oppression and ultimately the ruination of the trading nation, as the new minority candidate will be forced to barter and deal in the same way with the same corrupt MPs who have had Mahiaddin running round in circles for the past two years before falling flat on his face.
UMNO will for a start pardon their remaining warlords and pave the way for the return to power of a global pariah and his gang of world class kleptocrats all thrown out at the last election.
No Agong wants that on his record surely?