Again, Malaysians are eagerly awaiting who will become the next prime minister.
And yet again Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah is embroiled in political drama before appointing a prime minister. What his ruling brothers of the past had probably done only once, if ever, he did three times in just over two years.
As in the past, Sultan Abdullah asked political parties to submit the names of their candidates for the post of Prime Minister, supported by solemn declarations. A first clear deadline has been given: 2:00 p.m. on November 21, 2022.
The Agong exercises its powers under Article 43(2) of the Federal Constitution, where it can determine which candidate obtains the support of the Dewan Rakyat.
But this time we saw an avalanche of legal pundits and commentators, citing everything from pluralism to Westminster, accompanied by a cacophony of sermons that laid bare their hypocrisy.
Some have taken it upon themselves to add a condition that Pakatan Harapan (PH) should be invited to form government first as they hold the largest share of seats at 82 – the usual ‘experts’ – Ambiga Sreenevasan, Tommy Thomas , Gurdial Singh Nijar and Syahredzan Johan, the latter now a PH MP with a legal background.
Certainly, these people have a history of being pro-PH. But let’s judge them for their opinions, not for who they are. Let’s put aside their political allegiances.
Thomas says Anwar’s PH must get ‘the first bite of the cherry’ and be appointed Prime Minister. “That’s what happened in the UK,” he says.
Ambiga says PH has the most seats, they have the strongest people’s mandate “of any party” and therefore “should be asked to form government”.
And it’s better. Gurdial and Syahredzan say that the party with the most seats should be invited to form the government, and then they can get others to join in to get a big enough majority!
As practitioners of law, their loyalty is to the constitution.
So we wonder why this particular group of expert commentators and sermonists did not take the same view that the biggest winner should be invited to form the government in Perak and Pahang.
In Perak, Perikatan Nasional won 26 seats, followed by PH (24) and BN (nine). In Pahang, PN got 17, BN 16 and PH eight. But in the end we see state governments formed by BN and PH.
On this issue, there is absolute silence on the part of these legal eagles, as opposed to the noise they make about the current process leading to the formation of the federal government.
But then again, maybe they’re sticking to what someone once said: Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.