Big Questions For Malaysia


May 10, 2018

Big Questions For Malaysia–What’s Next after Change of Government?

by Mike Minehan

ideaschannel.com/index.php/analysis/2800-big-questions-for-malaysia

Image result for Man of the Moment Mahathir Mohamad

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Elect, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

The seismic shift that is the recent change of government in Malaysia raises more questions than it resolves.

These questions are:

1. How will the economic and social distortions caused by the former regime’s preferences for powerful Malays be resolved? This group of powerful Malays are members of the majority ethnic group who were originally cemented into power by the new Prime Minister himself. How threatened will they feel now that they have lost power, and will their influence be diminished?

2. How will the defeated Barisan Nasional coalition be able to regroup into an effective opposition after six decades of uninterrupted rule and after persistent and prolonged accusations of corruption?

3. Will the former Prime Minister, Najib Razak, be prosecuted for corruption following revelations while he was in power that billlions of dollars had been siphoned from the State Investment Fund 1MBD? US investigators say that at least $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund by associates of Najib between 2009 and 2014, including $700 million that landed in Najib’s personal bank account. The new Prime Minister Mahathir says he is not seeking revenge, but he qualified this statement by saying that those found to have breached the law will be prosecuted.

The missing billions from 1MBD made headlines around the world, and this issue is probably the major factor that motivated voters to change government. The BBC Malaysian channel explains:

But back to other questions about Malaysia that also need to be resolved:

4. Will the new Prime Minister Mahathir really allow Anwar Ibrahim to succeed him as Prime Minister in 2 years’ time as he has promised? Anwar is currently in jail, serving his second sentence for sodomy – which he claims was politically motivated. Anwar was a former protege of Mahathir, but Mahathir had him jailed in 1999 when it seemed he was becoming too powerful and popular. Mahathir and Anwar joined forces in 2018 to defeat Najib, but this is a very unlikely political alliance with a very uneasy history.

5. Now that the Mahathir coalition has enjoyed such a resounding victory, will the role of the conservative Islamic party PAS be diminished?

6. Will Mahathir be able to reduce the cost of living in Malaysia? Corruption, and the higher cost of living brought about in part by Najib’s introduction of a 6 per cent VAT-type goods and services tax, were the core of the new coalition’s election platform. And if Mahathir can’t reduce the cost of living (a virtually impossible task) how will voters react?

7. And finally, will a 92 year old (the age of the new Prime Minister) be able to defy time and grasp the reins of power effectively again? Can a nonagenarian live up to the weight of expectations now on his shoulders?

Interesting times…

5 thoughts on “Big Questions For Malaysia

  1. Let me attempt to answer the quwations.

    1. How will the economic and social distortions caused by the former regime’s preferences for powerful Malays be resolved?

    There is no economic or political necessity, now or in the future. Malaysia is a capitalist state, albeit with Islamic pretensions. This “group” is here to stay, whether it’s Mahathir, Anwar or……. is in charge. They are the politico-ethnic counter-weight in balancing the ethnic Malaysian Chinese economic strength. The ordinary Malays needed to see that for maintaining a perceived level of dignity and self respect.

    2. How will the defeated Barisan Nasional coalition be able to regroup into an effective opposition….”

    Not in the near and medium term, and certainly not with the present crop of people. Their immediate priority is to point their still ink-stained fingers at each other and get rid of Najib by throwing him to the HARAPAN wolves, while they themselves would eventually be ousted by a new crop of people who for obvious reasons could not join HARAPAN. But in the longer term and after a few years of intra-party querulous fighting within HARAPAN, this new crop of “innocents” may see an opportunity to convince the voters that another change is timely. And herein lies the true birth of a two-party system, hopefully.

    3. Will the former Prime Minister, Najib Razak, be prosecuted for corruption….

    Most definitely. If not it would be like going to the Roman Coliseum and not see Gladiators slaughtering each other. The voters have bought and paid for their tickets and would most certainly demand a refund if no blood is spilled; in this case royal blood as Najib claims royal Bugisian descend.

    4. Will the new Prime Minister Mahathir really allow Anwar Ibrahim to succeed him as Prime Minister in 2 years’ time as he has promised?

    Oh yes! Mahathir is neither stupid nor senile. He just wanted to oust Najib, and Anwar succeeding him is a price he gladly pays and further secures his exalted place in Malaysian and perhaps World history.

    5. Now that the Mahathir coalition has enjoyed such a resounding victory, will the role of the conservative Islamic party PAS be diminished?

    No. Remember that the rise of conservative Islam happened even during Mahathir’s time which was why he brought Anwar into UMNO in the first place. It would certainly be kept in check, even by Anwar and PMs after him. Conservative Islam is on the wane any way. The success of PAS in the two eastern States, in my view, is more a vote for opposing UMNO than a thumping success of conservative Islam.

    6. Will Mahathir be able to reduce the cost of living in Malaysia? Corruption,

    Cost of living, unlikely in the short time that he has. Some feel-good factor after a historic election may lull the people into a short term euphoric stupor which may ease the pain a little. It will actually be Anwar’s job and for that, external economic factors will dominate and demarcate Mahathir and Anwar’s reign.

    Corruption? Unlikely even if he puts his last Earthly days into it. Nobody wants corruption to end completely. In check yes, and this is where Najib made his biggest mistake. He took corruption to a whole new level which Mahathir and the general populace is not accustomed to.

    7. Can a nonagenarian live up to the weight of expectations now on his shoulders?

    He doesn’t need to precisely because he is 93. This wily 9ld fox knows he is just a willing seat-warmer and it is Anwar who has the real job. He actually can’t wait to ride into the sunset with a smile on his face.

    • Good replies, Wayne.
      Anwar is more amiable, amenable-susceptible (izzit impolite to say ‘suckered’?) and approachable than Octo.
      Anyway DSAI has been granted a full and immediate Pardon from YDPA as of now..

    • Something wrong with google and wordpress?
      Am using VPN in Singapore. Even the US and UK ones are not responding.

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