Self-defeating pattern of the Opposition

Self-defeating pattern of the Opposition


Out of so many messages being conveyed by the twin by-elections on June 18, the most important one is, the Opposition probably has no chance to capture Putrajaya in the next General Election. Barisan Nasional (BN) might be able to regain a two-thirds parliamentary majority. A new political scenario will emerge after the next General Election, we might be seeing new political realignment before our eyes. If worst comes to worst, Pakatan Harapan might end up as a one-term alliance.

By learning from the by-elections of Teluk Intan, Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar, BN may emulate a winning formula to defeat the Opposition. The winning formula of BN not only includes money, media and party-state machinery which we often mentioned, but also a self-defeating pattern of the Opposition.

The Opposition’s self-defeat is the major factor for BN’s winning formula to prevail. However, some Pakatan Harapan supporters and politicians continue to blame their defeat on the voters and the Other. Pakatan Harapan will continue losing voters.

The formula to defeat Pakatan Harapan, has to start from the low voter turnout.

We usually assume that if those who are outstation or overseas return to vote in their hometowns, it will increase the winning chance of the Opposition. This would mean that a low voter turnout would help BN to defeat the Opposition.

The voter turnout of Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar were respectively 74% and 71%. On the other hand, the voter turnouts in the 2013 General Election were 88% and 84%. The former reduced by 14%, while the latter reduced by 13%.

As for the Teluk Intan by-election on 31 May 2014, the voter turnout reduced from 80.7% in 2013 to 66.67%, a reduction of 14.03%.

The high voter turnout on 5 May 2013 showed that after the unexpected Malaysian political tsunami in 2008, people thought that they were just in the last mile to change the federal government, therefore making dynamic and historic collective action, flying back to Malaysia to vote from as far as Switzerland or China.

In the next General Election, the people will no longer carry hope to change the federal government, thus the voter turnout will drop.

The total voter turnout for the Parliamentary seats in the 2013 General Election was 84.84%. If the voter turnout continues to drop following the trend of the by-elections, then the voter turnout of the next General Election will only be 70.84%. If reduced by 10%, therefore the voter turnout will be 74.84% (or 75%).

What does a voter turnout of 75% mean?

On the next day after the result of the twin by-elections came out, Malaysiakini Chinese columnist Hew Wai Weng wrote that Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) obtained less than 10% of the Malay votes in these two seats.

According to media reports, the President of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (GERAKAN), Mah Siew Keong said that BN obtained 40% of the Chinese votes in Kuala Kangsar. Besides, MCA Youth chief Chong Sin Woon said that BN obtained support from 35% of the Chinese in Sungai Besar.

Even if BN did not actually get such a high percentage of Chinese votes, the by-election results demonstrated the fact that Pakatan Harapan is losing Chinese votes.

During the 2013 General Election, there were 29 of the Parliamentary seats throughout the country having more than 50% of Chinese voters. The majority of the seats were won by Pakatan Rakyat. In that year, the overall Chinese support for Pakatan Rakyat was as high as 80%.

If Pakatan Harapan loses 10% of the Chinese votes in the next General Election, retaining 70%, how many Pakatan Harapan constituencies will be lost? If 20% of the votes are lost, retaining 60%, how many more constituencies will be lost?

In 2014, Pakatan leader Lim Kit Siang said that in the 13th General Election, Pakatan Rakyat won 46 out of 53 urban constituencies, and won 33 out of 69 semi-urban constituencies.

As AMANAH obtained 10% of the Malay votes in the twin by-elections and we assume this further into the next election, can we still be optimistic for Pakatan Harapan’s performance in the semi-urban areas?

In the next General Election, among the urban and semi-urban constituencies with 75% of voter turnout, if Pakatan Harapan obtains 60% to 70% of Chinese support and 10% to 15% of Malay support, the outcome will be pessimistic.

By that time, simply by grabbing 15 Parliamentary seats from the Opposition, BN will be able to regain the two-thirds majority that they have lost since the 2008 General Election. As for the defeated Pakatan Harapan, whether they can carry on the alliance for more than one term of election, or subsequently realign under a new political scenario, will be in question.

Since Anwar Ibrahim’s imprisonment, the Opposition continuously showed signs of self-defeat. After the dissolution of Pakatan Rakyat, the first phase of road to Putrajaya has ended. The defeat in the twin by-elections might imply that the Opposition’s denial of BN’s two-thirds majority, too, will be in question.

If Pakatan Rakyat era was showing a winning pattern of the Opposition, Pakatan Harapan era is showing a self-defeating pattern of the Opposition.

Under this self-defeating pattern, opposition parties have not only mistaken party competition between political competitors for battle between political enemies, but also having party internal factionalism descending into battle between enemies.

Due to elections, party interests and factional interests, such “friend or foe” political view resulted in blind fighting. The way in dealing with inter-party and intra-party competitions within the Opposition, against competing parties, and also against rivals in the party, is getting similar to the way in dealing against enemy parties. Many followers and supporters of political parties and factions fail to distinguish between competitors and enemies, therefore wasting energy in such battles between friends and foes.

What is more regretful is that under the so-called idealism, such deadlocked “friend or foe” battles have reduced the enthusiasm of the party cadres and grassroots, while also making people lose hope.

When there is no more hope, is there still a need in flying back to Malaysia or going back to one’s hometown to vote?


Released by,

Ooi Heng
Executive director
Think tank
Political Studies for Change (KPRU)
21 June 2016


20% Oil royalty for Sarawak and Tok Nan-style of autonomy

20% Oil royalty for Sarawak and Tok Nan-style of autonomy


After the quitting of each autocratic leader, it is not hard for the immediate successor who is in control of necessary resources to create a new political wave.

After the retirement of Mahathir Mohamad, his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi created the so-called “Pak Lah phenomenon”, and won 90.86% of the Parliamentary seats in 2004 for Barisan Nasional (BN).

After the resignation of Taib Mahmud who is also known as “Pak Uban” and “Pek Moh” (white hair), his successor Adenan Satem who is also known as Tok Nan, creating an “Adenan fever”, and winning 87.80% of the Sarawak state assembly seats on 7th May 2016.

In the later days of Mahathir as Prime Minister, he had been facing accusations of dictatorship, cronyism and abuse of power, therefore as the “Good Guy” Pak Lah came into power, bringing along his Islam Hadhari ideology, he diverted the voters’ dissatisfaction towards the Mahathir regime, continuing to enable BN in ruling the Federal government with a two-thirds majority of the seats, thus achieving a historic election result.

Taib Mahmud’s tenure as Chief Minister was longer, and there were endless accusations against him on corruptions, cronyism, and abuse of power. Since Tok Nan came into power, he has put in efforts in his call for Sarawakian autonomy and in his making of a liberal or moderate image. Tok Nan’s cult of personality by the media is so overwhelming that those who are unfamiliar with politics would have mistaken him as a prominent federal leader.

National sovereignty vs Tok Nan-style of Sarawak autonomy

Under the constitutional orthodoxy of national popular sovereignty, the struggle for autonomy is regarded as highly sensitive by the federal regime. In the context of the new National Security Council Bill, one must be cautious in any urgings for autonomy for Sarawak. However the Najib Abdul Razak regime urgently needs to claim some credit from Adenan’s Sarawak victory, therefore he had to tolerate and cooperate with Adenan in his political narrative of a “Tok Nan-style of Sarawak autonomy”.

Adenan’s narrative of Sarawak autonomy focused on his continuous acts of banning Peninsular Malaysians from entering Sarawak. Based on media reporting, in the past one-and-a-half years there were at least 30 political and civil society individuals who were banned. On the eve of polling day of the Sarawak state election, Adenan even banned the Menteri Besar of Selangor, Azmin Ali – a head of state government.

In this state elections, the Adenan regime has obviously politicized the banning of West Malaysians into Sarawak. This is to fulfil the campaigning needs for the argument of Sarawakian autonomy, and also to answer the question of whether Sarawak under Tok Nan is able to continue Pek Moh’s strongman legacy in barring the West Malaysia-based UMNO from entering Sarawak, in order to prevent UMNO from reshuffling the Sarawakian politics, and exerting hegemonic control in distributing the resources in Sarawak.

The banning of West Malaysians not only addresses the collective psychosocial needs of the Sarawakian voters, but also to address the political needs of a rent-seeking as well as patronage culture under crony capitalism of the ruling regime.

Before the polling day of the Sarawak state election, The Economist published a ranking for “crony-capitalism index”, where Malaysia has moved up from third place two years ago to the second place. The report also showed almost all of the wealth in the country is crony wealth, with just a smidgen of difference between the two.

Media reporting in the past few months showed that before the dissolution of the Sarawak state assembly, everyone had expected the Adenan regime to continue, and were predicting the enterprises which will benefit from the contracts given by the ruling group and also the delivery of the benefits from rent-seeking activity.

Malaysiakini even followed up various promises of fund allocations and contracts made by the ruling group in this Sarawak election, and since the nomination day all sorts of fund allocations and promises (including election promises, as well as funds which were already allocated) have amounted up to RM500 million.

Different interpretations of Sarawak autonomy

In this state election, The ruling and the opposition parties have different types of political discourse regarding the autonomy for Sarawak, and even the West Malaysia-based BN and the Sarawak BN are having their own interpretations as well, bypassing the framework of UMNO’s doctrine of national sovereignty, following the pace of Tok Nan.

On 4th of May, three days before the polling day, five candidates from Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s, headed by its state vice-chairman See Chee How, made five demands to the Federal government, and three of them were closely related with the oil royalty, including the realization of 20% oil royalty for Sarawak, the annulment of Territorial Sea Act 2012, and the rescission of the 1974 tripartite Petroleum Agreement.

On the same day, after chairing the weekly federal cabinet meeting at Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Kuching, Najib said that now was not the right time for talks on increasing the oil royalty from 5% to 20% for Sarawak.

The autonomy for Sarawak is an important feature in the 18-point agreement proposed by Sarawak, prior to the formation of Malaysia in 1963. The Adenan regime’s action of banning West Malaysians from entering Sarawak is taken as related to the 18-point agreement, where Sarawak would maintain their jurisdiction in entry and exit affairs vis-a-vis immigration control. As for PKR’s demand for oil royalty, it is related to the state government’s jurisdiction over finance affairs.

Tok Nan’s narrative of Sarawak autonomy is illusory

Actually on 7th May 2014, during the sitting of the Sarawak state assembly, members from both sides made an unusual cross-partisan move being in agreement with each other, unanimously passing a motion demanding the Federal government to increase the current 5% oil royalty to 20%. This is an important move in the first 100 days of Tok Nan’s tenure as Chief Minister, yet before the polling day of Sarawak, Najib turned down this demand by the Sarawak state assembly, in front of him.

As now the election has ended, will Tok Nan’s narrative of Sarawak autonomy be materialized before the next General Election? Or the so-called autonomy for Sarawak is merely a show to ban the opposition and non-governmental organization (NGO) individuals from entering Sarawak?

We daringly deduced that even if the General Election is to be held next year, in the context of 20% oil royalty, Tok Nan’s narrative of Sarawak autonomy is purely illusory and will not be enforced.

Why? To the Najib regime, by recognising the Adenen regime’s jurisdiction over the immigration, does not affect the interest of the Federal government, and this “Adenan fever” does help in strengthening the Najib regime, albeit for a short period of time, and also being able to build up the false consciousness of the “Tok Nan’s style of autonomy” among the Sarawakian, so why not?

On the other hand, if the demand from the Sarawak state assembly is being approved, where the oil royalty is being allowed to raise from 5% to 20%, in terms of the importance of oil revenue towards the contribution to the national income, this is just as demanding decentralisation of concentrated power and resources from the Federal government. Furthermore, if autonomy is really given to Sarawak, this will affect the needs of UMNO in exercising their hegemony in Sarawak in the future.

Not giving excuses for warlords’ rebellion

Before the next General Election, if Najib is being forced to approve the oil royalty to 20% in order to fulfill his own needs for political survival, we think that the inner circle of UMNO which is so embedded within a system of crony capitalism will start a rebellion from within the party.

In the context of 1MDB and RM2.6 billion issues, Najib has gained control of the UMNO supreme council and majority of the UMNO divisions (bahagian) and Members of Parliaments (MP), in order to strengthen his own position, so there is no reason for him to give the Adenan regime 20% oil royalty at this moment, giving an excuse for an UMNO warlords’ rebellion.

After the Sarawakian people have given the Adenan regime another five-year mandate, the first thing they should do is to demand the Sarawak BN under the Adenan regime to submit a motion in the coming Dewan Rakyat sitting, demanding the Federal government to approve Sarawak’s demand for the 20% oil royalty, and mobilise the MP from all over the country to support this motion.

This is the first test of whether the Adenan regime can fulfill the autonomy for Sarawak.

Released by,
Ooi Heng
Executive director
Think tank
Political Studies for Change (KPRU)
12 May 2016

Peluang terakhir gerakan pembaharuan sebelum PRU-14

Peluang terakhir gerakan pembaharuan sebelum PRU-14

Kenyataan pertama Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin setelah digantung jawatan Timbalan Presiden UMNO seiring dengan kenyataan terkini Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Mereka mendesak Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak supaya berundur, pada masa yang sama, menolak institusi politik yang korup dan menuntut pembaharuan.

Semalam, Selangorkini melaporkan pesanan Anwar yang disampaikan Presiden KEADILAN, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail ketika berucap pada program Halaqah Ilmu, di kediamannya di Bukit Segambut.

Menurut Wan Azizah, Anwar memesan bahawa, langkah terbaik menyelamatkan Malaysia adalah menukar seluruh sistem negara dan bukannya sekadar seorang individu sahaja.

Hari ini, kenyataan pertama Muhyiddin setelah dipecat kelihatan seiring dengan kenyataan Anwar.

Menurut laporan Malaysiakini, kenyataan Muhyiddin berbunyi seperti berikut:

“Jika kita mahu melihat Malaysia kembali menjadi sebuah negara yang dihormati dan rakyat menikmati kehidupan yang lebih sejahtera, maka kita mestilah bersedia untuk bersama-sama menuntut perubahan. Ia bukan sekadar mendesak perdana menteri supaya berundur, tetapi menolak institusi politik yang telah gagal dalam memenuhi aspirasi rakyat.”

Semenjak siri pendedahan dilakukan berkenaan kes 1MDB dan seterusnya kes RM2.6 bilion oleh media tempatan dan antarabangsa, cukup ramai rakyat Malaysia yang kecewa dengan situasi negara.

Perkembangan merisaukan telah berlaku di mana satu demi satu media yang melaporkan berita melibatkan pentadbiran tertinggi negara telah diambil tindakan, antaranya termasuk The Edge dan Sarawak Report, sehingga yang terkini The Malaysian Insider.

Namun, harapan rakyat yang mahukan perubahan dan pembaharuan terkilan kerana dalam situasi sebegitu, dan dalam konteks perpecahan pihak oposisi, seolah-olah tuntutan rakyat tidak dapat diterjemahkan sebagai gerakan massa dan tindakan politik yang berkesan.

Pihak-pihak yang mengikut perkembangan politik negara secara dekat tahu akan peri pentingnya peranan Anwar dan betapa pengemblengan tenaga melibatkan semua pihak yang mahukan perubahan dan pembaharuan, termasuk semua parti oposisi, semua pemimpin dan mantan pemimpin parti pemerintah yang mahukan perubahan, semua akar umbi, pihak masyarakat madani dan masyarakat massa, adalah faktor penting untuk menjayakan impian dan tuntutan perubahan.

Berikutan kenyataan pertama Muhyiddin yang jelas seiring dengan kenyataan Anwar, kini tiba masanya semua pihak berkaitan bergerak bersama menuntut perubahan dan pembaharuan.

Badan pemikir Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU) berpendapat, ini merupakan peluang terakhir rakyat yang mahukan perubahan menaruh harapan terhadap pimpinan politik kedua-dua belah pihak dan masyarakat madani untuk bergerak bersama melakukan sesuatu yang penting dan bermakna sebelum pilihanraya umum keempatbelas (PRU-14).

Jika kiranya pemimpin parti politik terus angkuh dan bergerak sendiri dengan tindakan politik yang mengecewakan rakyat, KPRU khuatir, sokongan rakyat akan berlerai menjelang PRU-14.

Dikeluarkan oleh,

Ooi Heng
Pengarah eksekutif
Badan pemikir
Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU)
Political Studies for Change (KPRU)
27 Feb 2016

The age of the decline of democratisation

The age of the decline of democratisation

On Aug 10, 2015, which was Anwar Ibrahim’s 68th birthday, there were two groups of “big shots” in the international community demanding that the Malaysian government releases jailed former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

On the one hand there were famous politicians, worldwide, urging the Malaysian government to release Anwar from jail unconditionally and immediately, while on the other hand there were intellectuals, academicians and social activists condemning the “politically-motivated” charges against Anwar.

Among them, there was a Japanese American political scientist, Francis Fukuyama, who published his essay, “The End of History?” in the 1980s, which raised heated discussions.

In recent years, Fukuyama came out with his masterpiece, “The Origin of Political Order” and in the next book, “Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy”, it is stated that the three essential elements of modern political order are the state, rule of law and democratic accountability.

“The state” covers various dimensions but basically it includes state-building, state institutions, state capacity, governing ability, efficiency, clean governance, etc.

The comprehensiveness of the “rule of law” would depend on whether the implementation of the law can be easily hijacked by an individual. “Democratic accountability” includes the establishment and consolidation of various accountability and oversight mechanisms.

Concluding the chaos and development of 2015 by using these three elements for analysis, it shows that Malaysia is entering an uneasy situation in 2016.

Whether it is in terms of important fields such as politics, economy, religion or ethnicity, the development in the past year was showing an uneasy, declining situation which I believe would continue to happen in the months and years ahead.

While entering the year 2016, a basic question we need to ask is: was the political idling in the past year to sustain someone’s power and position, or rather destroying the credibility of the country for the sake of someone’s self-protection?

If the answer is the latter one, this country is obviously either stalled or moving backwards, and it means that the political system has been undergoing a non-stop destruction, up to the extent that it severely affects either state-building, the rule of law, or the accountable government. The severe collapse of either one would be disturbing.

In terms of the rule of law, in order to protect someone, as well as a political group, the credibility of this country has been severely damaged.

Among those severely affecting the rule of law would be the introduction of various controversial acts by the federal government, after the abolishment of the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA).

These include the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (Pota), and the National Security Council Bill 2015, which was swiftly passed by both houses of Parliament last year and is yet to be assented into law by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

In the recent years, social movements have been growing strong and in addition, there is the combination of political opposition movements, thus pushing Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to announce the abolishment of draconian laws in 2011, giving people hope that the democratic process would leap forward.

Controversial admendments

However, in the end, many controversial amendments were made to existing laws and new laws were introduced, which are contrary to Najib’s promises of reformation.

In December last year, the Parliament passed the National Security Council Bill in a hurry, which shocked the entire nation, and it is reasonable for the civil society to worry about this new law.

For instance, in 2012, Najib promised that Sosma would not be abused. On April 16, 2012, he promised various protection measures in the Dewan Rakyat, including not arresting anyone under Sosma for involvement in political activities, as well as the establishment of a committee to periodically review the Act upon its enforcement.

Despite these promises, after three years, the former Umno division vice-chief Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer Matthias Chang, who publicly reported the 1MDB scandal, were arrested under this law.

And since Sosma was gazetted on June 22, 2012, and was scheduled to take effect from July 31, 2012, till date there is still no progress on the committee that was promised – and despite pledges that the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and the Malaysian Bar president would be invited to join the committee.

At this point, the BN government has lost its credibility. So, how is it going to gain the people’s trust? How is it going to persuade the people not to worry about the National Security Council Bill? Here comes a new controversial law, further destructing the judiciary, giving the prime minister alone the greatest power, together with his power bloc stampeding the rule of law.

Democracy declining

This nevertheless predicts that the democratisation of Malaysia is declining in 2016, moving from a one-party-dominant authoritarian regime to a personal dictatorship.

Besides this, the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 2015, for which the second reading was delayed last year, cannot be ignored too. Once the original amendment bill is passed, it will further force the court to surrender part of its right of judicial review.

Among the most worrying one is that the police may, without warrant, arrest someone who is involved in an “activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy”; thereby overturning matters that are subjected to court ruling, including, if someone is facing multiple charges and found guilty, the power of the court to decide whether to execute the penalty concurrently.

Many of the recent controversial bills were passed in the Parliament in the name of anti-terrorism, but the logic behind them is to gradually get the court to surrender the relevant rights of judicial review, and in terms of law enforcement, there would be more and more persecutions against detractors in the name of “detrimental to parliamentary democracy”.

And today, while someone is conducting a self-coup[1], the insistence of the entire cabinet and the state organ towards the constitutional spirit and the basic principles of judicial power is abnormally loose.

This political direction, led by the erroneous executive power, is clearly inconsistent with the direction of change and reform produced by the collection and releasing of the civil society forces, and they are full of contradictions and conflicts. Such political direction shows a sign of declination of the democratisation.

The year of 2016 makes people feel uneasy, and in my opinion, it is all because after the year 2015, Malaysia is entering the age of the decline of democratisation.


Released by,

Ooi Heng

Executive director

Political Studies for Change (or, Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan, KPRU)

6 January 2016



(No-) confidence motion in the history of the Malaysian Parliament

(No-) confidence motion in the history of the Malaysian Parliament

The focus of legislative business when Malaysian Parliament resumes sitting on 19 October 2015, apart from the 2016 National Budget, would be, who will bring forth either a confidence motion or a no-confidence motion towards Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

The following questions are what everyone has in mind and being concerned, regarding the Members of Parliament (MP) in the October Parliament meeting:
1. Will Najib propose a confidence motion for himself, in order to address the crisis of confidence he is facing?
2. Will other members of the Cabinet propose a confidence motion for Najib?
3. Will the Barisan National (BN) backbenchers, either individually or collectively, propose either a confidence motion or a no-confidence motion towards Najib?
4. Will the non-BN MP, either individually or collectively, propose a no-confidence motion against Najib?
5. If neither of the above actions occurs, or such action is being vetoed in the Speaker’s office, will the Parliament witness a historic moment of the Budget being defeated?

About 40 years ago, on the next day after the second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein died of illness in London, which was 15 January 1976, the father of the current Vice-President of UMNO and also the Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, that is, Tun Hussein Onn, took over as the third Prime Minister in a hurry. In that year, during a Parliament meeting, a motion regarding the new Prime Minister Hussein Onn was being debated and passed.

This is the first confidence motion for the Prime Minister, in the history of the Malaysian Parliament. It was not the Prime Minister himself who proposed the motion, but by a BN Senator, Wan Ibrahim Wan Tanjong.

This is the summary of the motion:
The Dewan congratulates Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Hussein bin Datuk Onn for being appointed by His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the third Prime Minister of Malaysia, and gives him full support and cooperation for him to fulfill his great responsibility as the Prime Minister.

This motion was successfully brought up to the Parliament under Sections 13(1), 25, and 26 of the parliamentary Standing Orders, and was being passed with four absentees and 20 MPs participating in the debate.

On 2 August 1973, then-Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman died of heart attack. The biographer of Ismail, Dr Ooi Kee Beng, said in the book “The Reluctant Politician: Tun Dr Ismail and His Time” that, as Ismail died, then-Prime Minister Abdul Razak “surprised many” by appointing Hussein Onn as the Deputy.

At that time, Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) was demanding Abdul Razak to appoint then-President of MCA, Tan Siew Sin, as the Deputy Prime Minister II. Tan Siew Sin “was deeply disappointed on being told” that Hussein Onn was to be appointed as Deputy Prime Minister, and questioned “in disbelief”: “What about me?” In the following year, Tan resigned as President of MCA and Finance Minister of the Abdul Razak cabinet, for health reason. Until now, MCA has not only being yet to taste the glory of being appointed as Deputy Prime Minister, but also lost the Finance Ministerial post, a key cabinet post.

In less than two and a half years after Ismail’s death, Abdul Razak died unexpectedly. Under the trend, Hussein Onn took over as the Prime Minister in a hurry, and took up the positions as Finance Minister, Defense Minister, and Minister of Coordination of Public Corporations (Menteri Penyelarasan Perbadanan Awam). In order to enhance the prospect of legitimate rule, Hussein onn decided to do it through a parliamentary motion of confidence, and that was a wise move.

By looking into the background of Wan Ibrahim, who brought up the motion, one can see how much Hussein Onn, who was carrying four cabinet posts at the same time, attached importance to this motion. Wan Ibrahim is a descendant of a noble family in the history of the Pahang Sultanate. Having the pedigree implanted in the local political culture, and on the fact that the Parliament of Malaya/Malaysia had only 17 years of history at that time, by having a representative of the noble class with close historical ties with the royals, to propose a confidence motion in the Parliament, would show that Hussein Onn had a certain requirement in handling details.

Based on my limited local reading experience, out of all the Prime Ministers of Malaysia in history, the historical status of Hussein Onn is given the least importance, and there is less discussion by the academics and the public on his political life during his rule compared to other Prime Ministers. Perhaps because of this, if not because of Najib facing crisis of confidence today, this historic moment of the Parliament in 1976 would not attract attention.

After 32 years, everyone in the country were still immersed in the year of the political tsunami, when the first female Leader of the Opposition of Malaysian Parliament, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, together with another 14 MPs from Pakatan Rakyat, proposed a no-confidence motion against then-Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

This is the summary of the motion:
We are proposing a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, because the way he and his cabinet ministers handled the national executive tasks, had cause the people to lose confidence on the integrity of the government.

The motion had no chance to get into the Dewan, as it was being vetoed in the Speaker’s office under Section 18(7) of the parliamentary Standing Orders, on the grounds that the bill stated that a vote to be taken on the no-confidence motion but the provisions it was filed under was to seek “negotiation”.

However, under Sections 27(3) and 45(1) of the parliamentary Standing Orders, it is still possible to table a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister. Standing Order 27(3) states that, “except as provided in Standing Order 43 and in paragraph (5) of Standing Order 86 and 26(1), not less than fourteen days’ notice of any motion shall be given unless it is in the name of a Minister, in which case seven days’ notice or, if Tuan Yang di-Pertua is satisfied upon representation to him by a Minister that the public interest requires that a motion should be debated as soon as possible, one day’s notice shall be sufficient.”

And a resolution thereof, is provided under the Standing Order 45(1), which states that “subject to the provisions of Clause (1) of Article 89 of the Constitution and Clause (3) of Article 159 of the Constitution and these Orders, the House shall, in accordance with the provisions of Clause (3) of Article 62 of the Constitution take its decision by a simple majority of members voting; and Tuan Yang di-Pertua or any other person presiding shall cast his vote whenever necessary to avoid an equality of votes, but shall not vote in any other case provided that where Tuan Yang di-Pertua is a member of the House by virtue only of paragraph (b) of Clause (1A) of Article 57 of the Constitution, he shall have no casting vote in the House or in any Committee thereof.”

Following the crisis of confidence Najib is facing now, the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, Pandikar Amin Mulia, said that the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Malaysia has not stated that an MP may propose a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister. By reviewing two of the (no-)confidence motions that occurred in the history of the Parliament of Malaysia, it shows that Pandikar’s statement can be contested.

Released by,
Ooi Heng
Executive director
Think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU – Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan)
1 October 2015

Pasca Bersih 4, siapa undurkan Najib secara sah?

Pasca Bersih 4, siapa undurkan Najib secara sah?

BERSIH 4 yang selama dua hari dan satu malam itu telahpun tamat secara aman. Ramai orang pasti akan bertanya: selepas beberapa ratus ribu orang turun ke jalanraya, dan buat pertama kali beberapa ribu orang tidur di tepi jalanraya, adakan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak yang didakwa terlibat dalam kes 1MDB dan AS$700 juta akan berundur?

Secara amnya, konvensi dan prinsip demokrasi berparlimen menyatakan seseorang Perdana Menteri yang berdepan dengan krisis ketidakpercayaan akan berundur. Namun persoalannya ialah, bagaimana beliau akan berundur, dan bila beliau akan berundur. Soalan yang lebih specifik ialah: Siapa yang bakal membawa kepada pengunduran secara sah seorang Perdana Menteri yang berdepan dengan krisis?

Pertamanya, adalah Perdana Menteri sendiri membawa kepada pengunduran diri. Terdapat dua keadaan yang berbeza – Perdana Menteri yang menghormati semangat demokrasi berparlimen, apabila berdepan dengan krisis ketidakpercayaan, akan mengambil inisiatif untuk menghadap Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong dan meletak jawatan.

Seorang Perdana Menteri yang berdepan dengan krisis ketidakpercayaan ekoran dakwaan skandal akan menetapkan syarat peletakan jawatan dan sekiranya syarat-syarat yang berkenaan dipersetujui, maka Perdana Menteri akan berundur pada masa yang sama berjaya mempertahankan diri, memastikan rejim UMNO diteruskan. Sistem pemerintahan bersifat autoritarian akan berterusan.

Sebaliknya, Perdana Menteri yang mengetepikan semangat demokrasi berparlimen, akan beralih daripada sistem pemerintahan bersifat “autoritarian ala-parti” kepada “autoritarian ala-diktator”. Diktator bukan sahaja akan melakukan tangkapan secara besar-besaran, pada masa yang sama juga menggunakan cara yang lembut dan kasar. “Kawat berduri” diktator akan dibentuk untuk mempertahankan kelangsungan kuasa.

Ini telah dilakukan pada zaman Mahathir, dan mampu bertahan selama beberapa penggal pilihan raya. Itu adalah zaman di mana sumbangan petroleum mencecah setinggi 30 peratus hingga 40 peratus daripada jumlah pendapatan pemerintah pusat, predatory regime sedang terbentuk, dan pemerahan sumber negara mencorakkan landskap hegemoni di Malaysia. Paradigma pembangunan ekonomi mengatasi semuanya, penindasan terhadap oposisi dan mereka yang berani membantah dan memberontak dilihat sebagai kezaliman yang wajar. Masyarakat lazimnya memilih untuk bersekongkol dengan hegemoni yang dibentuk pada ketika itu.
Zaman kini berbeza dengan zaman Mahathir
Zaman kini berbeza dengan zaman Mahathir. Jikalau ini dilakukan pada zaman Najib dalam konteks oposisi bersatu, rasanya rejim Najib hanya mampu bertahan sehingga pilihan raya yang akan datang. Landskap hari ini adalah, sumbangan petroleum kepada pendapatan pemerintah pusat sedang menurun menghala ke arah paras 20 hingga 25 peratus, Internet dan media sosial membolehkan pelbagai maklumat disebarkan dengan pantas, harga sumber semulajadi seperti minyak mentah berada pada paras rendah yang baru, nilai Ringgit menyusut, pasaran saham dan pasaran bon penuh dengan ketidaktentuan, predatory regime kini berdepan dengan konflik, perpecahan, dan penyusunan semula secara dialektik dalam konteks sumber yang terhad dan pemerahan yang tidak terhad.

Hari ini, tuntutan demokrasi serta perubahan politik dan pembangunan ekonomi adalah seiring, masyarakat lazimnya enggan memberikan legitimasi kepada rejim pemerintah untuk melakukan penindasan dan kezaliman secara sah.

Keduanya, kerjasama politik membawa kepada pengunduran seorang Perdana Menteri. Setelah Najib merombak semula kabinet pada 28 Julai 2015, ramai yang menganggap serangan kumpulan Mahathir sudah kehilangan momentum. Saya berpendapat masih awal untuk membuat rumusan. Dalam keadaan politik dan ekonomi kini, serangan kumpulan Mahathir tidak akan berhenti begitu sahaja. Malahan, interaksi antara setiap kumpulan politik akan membawa kepada pelbagai kerjasama dan ketidaktentuan dalam suasana politik yang dinamik ini.

Selepas Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim dipenjarakan, dan Pakatan Rakyat dikuburkan, terdapat perubahan strategi dan taktikal dalam kalangan kedua-dua pihak pemerintah dan pihak oposisi. Anwar di penjara, Najib berdepan dengan krisis ketidakpercayaan, Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) masih dalam peringkat awalan penubuhannya, kepimpinanan Melayu berdepan dengan perubahan dinamik dan kedinamikannya masih perlu diperhatikan.

Ketiga, ahli parlimen backbencher membawa kepada pengunduran seorang Perdana Menteri. Perkembangan pasca rombakan kabinet buat julung kali oleh seorang Perdana Menteri yang berdepan dengan dakwaan skandal, bukan saja menyaksikan kewibawaan fungsi institusi awam dirosakkan, malah semangat demokrasi berparlimen juga diketepikan.

Pihak tertentu telah menggunakan hujah kebertanggungjawaban kolektif (collective responsibility), untuk mempertahankan tindakan Perdana Menteri menyusun semula kabinet. Hujah ini sah tetapi hanya menonjolkan salah satu daripada ketiga-tiga konotasi prinsip kebertanggungjawaban kolektif. Dua hujah yang lain itu, bukan saja dielakkan, malah dalam kes 1MDB dan AS$700 juta, prinsip kebertanggungjawaban kolektif dalam konteks demokrasi berparlimen secara keseluruhan diketepikan dan digantikan dengan satu-satunya hujah bahawa seorang Perdana Menteri berkuasa merombak kabinetnya tanpa membincangkan soal legitimasi.

Tiga konotasi prinsip kebertanggungjawaban kolektif
Dalam semangat demokrasi berparlimen, konsep kebertanggungjawaban kolektif dalam keseluruhannya mempunyai tiga konotasi. Konotasi pertama adalah bahawa rakyat memilih ahli parlimen melalui pilihan raya umum. Parti atau gabungan parti yang mempunyai bilangan kerusi majoriti dalam Parlimen menjadi parti pemerintah, Perdana Menteri lahir daripada parti yang mempunyai bilangan kerusi majoriti dalam konteks Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Selepas itu Perdana Menteri melantik anggota-anggota kabinet.

Seringkali, apa yang diabaikan adalah hukum bahawa Perdana Menteri dan kabinetnya lahir daripada majoriti kerusi di Parlimen. Kerana itu, selain merujuk kepada kuasa seorang Perdana Menteri melantik dan merombak kabinet, di mana anggota kabinet harus menjalankan tanggungjawab bersama, melaksanakan keputusan pihak kerajaan, konotasi kedua prinsip kebertanggungjawaban kolektif juga merujuk kepada kuasa kolektif dipunyai semua ahli parlimen backbencher pihak pemerintah dan semua ahli parlimen oposisi serta “ahli parlimen bebas’.

Sepertimana Perdana Menteri dan kabinetnya mewakili kuasa legislatif secara kolektif, semua ahli parlimen backbencher pihak pemerintah dan semua ahli parlimen oposisi serta “ahli parlimen bebas” mewakili kuasa perundangan secara kolektif.

Kerana itu, pemakaian istilah “Kelab Penyokong Barisan Nasional (BNBBC)” tidak begitu tepat dalam konteks demokrasi berparlimen. Ahli parlimen pihak pemerintah yang tidak berada dalam kabinet merupakan sebahagian daripada kuasa perundangan dan sewajarnya melaksanakan kuasa dan kewajiban mereka sebagai ahli parlimen backbencher parlimen Malaysia, bukan sekadar ahli parlimen penyokong BN.

Konotasi ketiga berkait rapat dengan kuasa rakyat dalam konteks legitimasi sistem pemerintahan. Malaysia mengamalkan sistem berkabinet di mana kedua-dua kuasa legislatif dan perundangan lahir daripada legitimasi yang mendapat pengiktirafan kolektif rakyat. Legitimasi yang diiktiraf rakyat bermula dengan proses pilihan raya umum yang bersih dan adil. Proses perundangan yang bebas merupakan sebahagian daripada proses pembentukan legitimasi tersebut. Legitimasi itu boleh ditarik balik apabila krisis ketidakpercayaan melanda kuasa legislatif.

Apabila beberapa ratus ribu rakyat turun ke jalanraya membuat tuntutan terhadap seorang Perdana Menteri yang didakwa terlibat dengan skandal, hal ini bermaksud Najib dan kabinetnya berdepan dengan krisis ketidakpercayaan. Dalam konteks sedemikian, seorang Perdana Menteri yang menghormati semangat demokrasi berparlimen akan mengemukakan undi kepercayaan terhadap dirinya di Parlimen. Jika undi tersebut berjaya dipertahankan, Perdana Menteri dapat meneruskan pentadbirannya atas kepercayaan yang diberikan oleh semua ahli parlimen yang tidak menganggotai kabinet. Jika tidak, Perdana Menteri dan kabinetnya harus meletak jawatan.

Ataupun, ahli parlimen backbencher BN yang menghormati semangat demokrasi berparlimen akan mengemukakan undi tidak percaya terhadap Perdana Menteri di Parlimen. Harus diingatkan di sini bahawa dalam konteks di mana krisis ketidakpercayaan melanda pihak pemerintah, ahli parlimen backbencher harus melaksanakan kewajibannya yang mewakili kuasa kolektif perundangan, bukan kuasa kolektif legislatif.

Semua ahli parlimen BN yang berada dalam kabinet melambangkan kuasa eksekutif, namun semua ahli parlimen backbencher BN yang berada di luar kabinet tidak patut merendahkan diri sebagai “Kelab Penyokong Barisan Nasional”.

Dalam kelima-lima tuntutan Himpunan BERSIH 4, salah satu daripadanya ialah “kukuhkan demokrasi parlimen”. Tindakan ahli parlimen backbencher akan menjawab persoalan sama ada prinsip kebertanggunbjawaban kolektif dalam keseluruhannya diangkat dalam konteks semangat demokrasi berparlimen pada sidang parlimen yang akan datang.

Akhir kata, dalam kita membincangkan proses pengunduran seorang Perdana Menteri secara sah, para ahli parlimen bacbenchers atau yang tidak menganggotai kabinet harus melaksanakan tanggungjawab bersama mereka terhadap Parlimen dan bukannya kabinet, di bawah semangat demokrasi berparlimen.

Hal ini bermaksud, apabila berdepan dengan krisis besar sepertimana yang berlaku hari ini, para ahli parlimen backbenchers BN haruslah mengetepikan buat seketika, kesetiaan diri terhadap Perdana Menteri, kabinet, serta parti mereka, supaya secara kolektif, mereka dapat mengekalkan asas kesahihan sistem demokrasi berparlimen. Ini ertinya legitimasi. Inilah juga common sense yang harus kita memperingatkan Ahli Parlimen kawasan masing-masing dengan tegas.

Dikeluarkan oleh.
Ooi Heng
Pengarah eksekutif
Badan pemikir Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU)
7 September 2015