Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s appointment as the ninth prime minister has garnered mixed responses from the opposition politicians.
One that was particularly in stark difference came from DAP National Publicity secretary Tony Pua, who blamed the opposition for Umno’s return to power.
“Getting kicked out of the government in February 2020 was bad. But playing a major starring role in returning power to Umno? Devastating,” he said in a Facebook post this evening.
Pua was referring to the fall of Pakatan Harapan last year, and the role played by the opposition to pressure the Perikatan Nasional government that led to the recent resignation of Muhyiddin Yassin as the eighth prime minister.
The Damansara MP has been critical of the idea of overthrowing Muhyiddin, citing fear that it could lead to Umno getting back to power after it was defeated by Harapan in the 2018 general election.
Pua had argued that Muhyiddin’s offers – which were summarily dismissed by all opposition parties – would potentially prevent an Umno MP from becoming prime minister.
“The kleptocrats go free; the same clowns in Cabinet,” he had pointed out, referring to Umno leaders who were facing court charges.
When Muhyiddin offered all political parties across the divide to work together, in what was seen as a last-ditch attempt to save his position, Pua was among the few opposition leaders who suggested that the opposition should consider it.
Muhyiddin had offered, among others, to implement political reforms that Harapan had been fighting for, including limiting the term of a prime minister and Undi18.
Muhyiddin had also offered to give equal parliamentary allocation to all opposition MPs and that the opposition leader would be treated as a senior cabinet minister, in exchange for their support.
However, Pua’s notion of accepting the olive branch extended by Muhyiddin received flak. Another DAP leader who shared similar beliefs was Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming, who was also heavily criticised.
Their stand drew brickbats, including from DAP central executive committee member Ronnie Liu, who called on the duo to retract their statements, claiming it had angered the people.