Why did it happen in the first place?

THE coup staged by some senior Pakatan Harapan politicians that brought down the 20-month-old PH government in favour of a new coalition of their choice has apparently failed.

In journalism, what has been happening since the weekend’s self-inflicted political turmoil is called a developing story.

New developments or breaking news occur by the hour and that’s why we can see hordes of reporters and their camera crew keeping vigil outside Istana Negara to catch the latest updates.

This even led to our ever gracious king to “turun padang” to help distribute lunch packs to the journalists.

As a reporter myself in my younger days, I had not seen such a humble royal gesture in my decades of covering all sorts of breaking news.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s personal appearances with the media is something the journalists will treasure for life.

This unprecedented political coup that had Malaysians on the edge of their seats following the twists and turns via their mobile gadgets has raised more questions than answers.

Everyone wants to know why it happened in the first place?

The PH government that came to power following the May 9, 2018 general election was voted in with a strong, emphatic and comfortable majority in Parliament.

It was a landmark victory and the people had spoken loud and clear in toppling for the first time in 61 years the then ruling Barisan Nasional.

This means the strong mandate is for the PH government to rule the nation for a full five-year term until 2023.

And members of Parliament, especially those who took their oath of office as cabinet ministers at the same time, pledged to uphold the Federal Constitution and execute their duties according to the Rule of Law.

Instead what did we see these political players do over the last few days after the weekend?

Their actions threw the country into political chaos and massive capital flight to the tune of RM40 billion as reported by Bursa Malaysia and investor confidence plunged to its lowest level in over 10 years.

It led to the resignation of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the situation had become politically untenable and all ministers lost their jobs as well.

What were these coup plotters up to by doing what they did?

Till now, there’s no word from them when they owe us fellow citizens, particularly the electorate who magnanimously voted them into power, a huge debt of explanation or accountability.

What could be gauged on the surface or logical assumptions based on videos viralled on social media was that of Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, the PKR deputy president, who has since been sacked from the party, meeting and embracing some top Umno leaders. Also present was PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

As it turned out, Azmin pulled out 11 fellow MPs from PKR, who are aligned to him and this was followed by the announcement by Parti Bersatu President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that the party had quit PH.

It’s an open secret that Azmin had for some time been the thorn in the flesh of PKR and that he is opposed to PKR president and his former mentor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim taking over as the next prime minister.

Why he has burned his bridges with Anwar is something he has not explained publicly.

Azmin was private secretary to Anwar for the many years that his boss was a cabinet minister, including as the then deputy prime minister.

What’s intriguing, too, is the fact that the coup happened just a day after Mahathir had reiterated that he would step down after the Apec Summit which Malaysia would host in November.

And this declaration received unanimous approval from all PH leaders.

In hindsight, Mahathir could have injected greater clarity or transparency on this critical issue of power transition if he had fixed a date rather than merely saying “after the Apec Summit”.

But Mahathir, who is now the interim prime minister, was apologetic.

“First of all, let me apologise to all Malaysians as the political condition in the country has been in shambles and may have caused you concern,” he said in a statement on Wednesday to explain why he decided to resign but was later appointed interim prime minister by the king.

He spoke of allegations that he had no intention to resign and that he is power crazy.

“I resigned because I do not see power and position as the ‘be all and end all’ or my goal.

“To me, power and position is a means to an end or a tool to reach an objective. And the objective of all of us (is) for the best of the country,” Mahathir said.

He said his position as prime minister became even more untenable when Bersatu of which he was the chairman abruptly left PH and worse for him, decided to support Umno and PAS to make up the crucial numbers for the proposed new coalition that they dreamed of forming to take over the government.

Although Mahathir himself had been Umno’s longest serving president previously, his disdain for the party especially for the alleged massive corruption that brought down the BN government is well-documented.

“I am willing to accept Umno members who left Umno and joined other parties.

“But if Umno joins this unity government as a party, this I cannot accept. Therefore I am compelled to resign,” he said.

The PH government that collapsed was the most inclusive government we ever had because the DAP, with 42 MPs was part of it.

And the weekend coup that was intended to form what many including DAP leaders said was a government via the backdoor was to all intents and purposes a brutal back-stabbing for the party.

It could not have happened at a worse time, too, this effort to destablise the country which like so many others worldwide is fighting to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

Aren’t these coup plotters concerned about the economy?

Why can’t they be grateful or “bersyukur” for the strong mandate they had received in that hard-fought GE14 battle and do what they were elected to do.

Needless to say, what has happened and happening is a flagrant betrayal of the people’s mandate.

Moving forward, the relevant laws that governs us must include a provision that only parties that were elected at the general election can come to power and not via the backdoor or any other door.

Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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