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Snap Polls Or Vote Of No Confidence? Here’s The Deal

Snap Polls Or Vote Of No Confidence? Here’s The Deal

Hamzah Nazari

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Camps on both sides of the political divide are calling for snap elections with the realisation that the Perikatan Nasional government only has a slim majority in Parliament.

Who’s calling for what?

On the BN side, UMNO deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan has called for elections to be held as soon as possible, arguing that a government needs a fresh mandate from the people to ensure political stability.

UMNO deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasa
(Pic credit Yusof Mat Isa via Malay Mail)

PAS have also renewed their call for a General Election (GE), although the party started calling for a GE just 5 months after the last one.

There are even voices, though more measured, within the government as Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has said that PN should be given a chance to serve or else everyone should head to the polls.

Science, Technology & Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on the other hand suggested that the election should be held early next year, in order to stabilise the economy.

Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob
(Pic credit Firdaus Latif via Malay Mail)
Science, Technology & Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin
(Pic credit Mukhriz Hazim via Malay Mail

On the opposition side, PKR has said it would prepare to face elections instead of supporting a vote of no confidence in Parliament.

This is after other PH component parties, DAP and AMANAH, said they would support Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as their Prime Minister candidate over PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Snap Elections seem popular, but…

While it can’t be denied that a fresh mandate would, with representatives on clearly drawn party lines, definitely add some credibility to a government, is now the best time for that?

In February, during the height of Malaysia’s political crisis, the Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun stated that snap polls would cost between RM750 million and RM800 million.

Election Commission chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun
(Pic credit Shafwan Zaidon via Malay Mail)

And that was just the financial cost before the Covid-19 pandemic became an issue. It’ll no doubt cost more, take longer, and present a very real risk to health and life now.

The EC knows this and says it is using the Chini by-election as a benchmark for a General Election that might happen soon, balancing the dangers of Covid-19 against necessary campaigning activities.

Is there another way?

The alternative is something Ismail Sabri has said he is against; a vote of no confidence which Dr Mahathir plans to table in Parliament. If Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin wins, he keeps his hands on the controls.

Buf if Muhyiddin loses, then it might become a free-for-all. With PH split between Anwar and Dr Mahathir, the result might side again with PN which has shown before that it can capitalise on that very split.

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
(Pic credit Azneal Ishak via Malay Mail)

Who PN might vote in is anybody’s guess. That Muhyiddin came out on top was already an unexpected result the first time.

But that time also showed that a government formed on the vote of MPs alone is still built on shaky ground.

If you got this far, you were probably hoping for an ending. Sorry, but there’s no ending. Like Malaysia’s current political crisis, it is left hanging.


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