How a Sarawakian can become Prime Minister

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And how Wan Ahmad Fayhsal walked into Kit Siang’s trap.

After we published an article on the naughty intention of DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang in floating the idea of a non-Malay prime minister, Bersatu or Malaysian United Indigenous Party Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal comically walked right into the trap, as did earlier Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS – Parti Islam Se-Malaysia) secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan.

While Takiyuddin accused Kit Siang of causing racial disharmony, Wan Ahmad challenged Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to use his two-thirds majority support in the Parliament to change the Federal Constitution to guarantee that only ethnic Malay can become prime minister. If this is the best brain Bersatu can offer, the opposition party is doomed.

Not only Bersatu officially admit that the Anwar-led Unity Government commands the supermajority in the Parliament, but it foolishly swallowed the hook, line and sinker. Excited with his catch of the day, Uncle Lim then challenged Bersatu and PAS opposition parties to make it their official position that the Malaysian Constitution must be amended to restrict the Prime Minister’s position to Malay Muslims.

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Wan Ahmad Fayhsal, the brilliant man who had previously proposed to his own backdoor government of Muhyiddin Yassin to freely print as much money as the country needs to solve all kinds of financial problems – reduce the cost of living, grow the economy, strengthen the currency, create jobs and whatnot – was trying to trap Anwar over the “Malay-only” PM topic.

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If Anwar, provoked to prove his “Malayness” among the Malay community, is stupid enough to amend the Constitution, the non-Malays – especially the 95% ethnic Chinese voters who had voted for the PM – would desert him. On the other hand, if Anwar refused to do so, he could be demonized and condemned as a Malay traitor or fake Malay champion. Either way, Anwar would lose.

In the same breath, the Opposition too had to respond. If neither Bersatu nor PAS responds, it would legitimize Kit Siang’s opinion that the premier’s post is not Malay’s birthright. While the retired politician happily baited the Perikatan Nasional leaders to retaliate with more racist remarks, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal desperately tried to pass the ball to the prime minister.

However, it backfired when Sarawak leaders began to attack the Bersatu’s proposal to limit the post of prime minister to Malays only. Members of Parliament from the Borneo state such as Kelvin Yii, Larry Sng and Sarawak Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, as well as Assemblyman Baru Bian have all slammed the racist proposal.

Bersatu president and former backdoor Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, realizing it was a  trap, has tried to manoeuvre the issue by blaming the anti-hopping law and the latest political landscape to argue why non-Malay might become a PM. He said unlike the good old times, the 15th General Election saw no single political party or coalition having a simple majority to form the government on its own.

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Having suffered defections from five of his own MPs, Muhyiddin also whined and bitched about the so-called undemocratic anti-hopping law crippling lawmakers from freely jumping ships. He twists and spins – “If a party leader decides to support a non-Malay prime minister, the MPs must comply. If they don’t, they risk losing their party membership, forced to vacate their seat and asked to pay millions of ringgit in compensation.”

In truth, the ex-PM – humiliated after just 17 months in power – is still frustrated and furious because UMNO president Zahid Hamidi had chosen to support Anwar rather than him as the 10th Prime Minister. Despite being bribed, 10 UMNO MPs led by traitor Hishammuddin Hussein tried – but failed – to switch sides to support Muhyiddin as prime minister using SDs (statutory declarations).

Of course, the chairman of Opposition Perikatan Nasional who is facing corruption charges tries to scam and trick gullible Malays that it’s possible for non-Malays to become the prime minister by falsely accusing the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) of being subservient to the Democratic Action Party (DAP). It was a cheap stunt to put the UMNO and DAP at loggerheads.

Sour grapes like Wan Ahmad and Muhyiddin Yassin still could not accept that UMNO and DAP, once bitter arch-enemies, have been working for a year together as allies in the unity government. The Opposition’s No. 1 public enemy is Zahid, who must be toppled by hook or by crook. Unfortunately, Anwar’s latest Cabinet reshuffle has strengthened the UMNO president’s position.

It doesn’t matter how much racist bigot Bersatu or religious extremist PAS tries to flame the hatred against DAP, and the Anwar administration for that matter, over the non-Malay prime minister debate. No matter what DAP does, it will always be seen as a Chinese-dominated political party. No matter how talented DAP leaders are, they will always be labelled as Chinese chauvinists.

The seed of hatred and distrust did not happen overnight but has been planted and nurtured since Mahathir’s 22-year iron-fist rule (from 1981 to 2003). Crucially, as a result of Perikatan Nasional’s toxic race and religious politics, at least 85% of Malays voted for the Opposition. The recent Kemaman by-election showed the conservative Malays were still strongly behind them.

In fact, not even PM Anwar’s charismatic firebrand Islamist credentials, including his heroic support for the Palestinians, could swing the zombie-walking PAS supporters. So, what does Lim Kit Siang or DAP have to lose by raising the issue of non-Malay as the prime minister? Besides, not many conservative Malays actually believe non-Malays would one day become the PM.

That’s because the Malays breed like rabbits. Politics is a game of numbers. Minor ethnic Chinese constitute only 22% (Indian 6%) of the population against the major ethnic Bumiputera’s 69%. Therefore, it’s impossible for a Chinese, let alone a Hindu, to become a prime minister. Even with 98% Chinese having voted for DAP, the party only possessed 40 MPs in the 222-seat Parliament.

Ahh, but Kit Siang’s clever gameplay isn’t about Malay-Bumiputera, but rather “non-Malay-Bumiputera” as the future prime minister. Forget about the Chinese, they are more interested in economic development, common prosperity, quality education, good governance and ethnic equality. Interestingly, Muslim Malays make up 55% of the population, leaving other Bumiputeras 14%.

Yes, while the Malays are Bumiputeras, the Bumiputeras are not necessarily Malays. As of July 2023, it was estimated that 89% of the population in Sabah and 76.1% of the population in Sarawak were Bumiputera. But the ethnic Malay in Sabah and Sarawak constituted only 9% and 22.9% respectively. The largest ethnicities in Sabah were Kadazan-Dusun, followed by Bajau, while the Ibans formed the largest population in Sarawak.

To make it even more interesting, 70% of Sabahans are Muslims but Christianity is the largest religion in Sarawak. So, even though the majority of the people in Sabah are Muslims (thanks to Mahathir’s Project IC), not all Muslims are Malays. Therefore, a Sabahan of Kadazan ethnicity (who may not be a Muslim) or a Sarawakian of Iban ethnicity (mostly Christian) could become a prime minister because they are Bumiputera.

For example, former Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal, who is also Warisan president is a Bajau. Besides recognizing the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), the Premier of Sarawak – GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) chairman Abang Johari Openg – has openly rejected the implementation of ancient “hudud law”, which goes against PAS Islamist party.

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Essentially, the Borneo states have all the criteria to produce the next prime minister acceptable to both non-Malays and progressive Malays. And this terrifies Muhyiddin and his minions as competition suddenly becomes stiffer. Will the Malay-Bumiputera declare war on fellow non-Malay-Bumiputera from Sabah or Sarawak to prevent them from becoming the prime minister?

Theoretically, even if Perikatan Nasional (74 MPs) managed to convince Barisan Nasional (30 MPs) to work together, which they can’t due to bad blood between UMNO and Bersatu, all the three biggest Malay-Muslim parties (PAS, Bersatu, UMNO) are still unable to rule because they have only 104 MPs, short of 8 MPs to form a simple-majority government.

That means when push comes to shove, Pakatan Harapan (81 MPs) could support someone from Borneo to become the PM as they would have 118 MPs (123 MPs if including 5 Bersatu MPs who defected). Just because Perikatan Nasional thinks Anwar could be toppled by persuading UMNO to quit the unity government, it does not mean the Opposition can snatch power through the backdoor again.

Hypothetically, if PM Anwar himself goes astray to the dark side, DAP could withdraw support and form a new alliance with GPS, GRS, Warisan, Amanah, UPKO and other liberal parties. Politics is the art of the possible. Who can say for sure that DAP will not endorse a GPS candidate as PM, and work again with Bersatu if the PKR president somehow embraces extremism?

Kit Siang’s calculation probably shows that the Malay support for PAS has already peaked. No amount of demonizing DAP could spook the remaining 15% of moderate and progressive Malays. The Bumiputera (son of earth) is not exclusive to the Malays. In fact, bulldozing the Prime Minister’s post exclusive to Malays goes against not only the Federal Constitution but also the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

By pitting racist Perikatan Nasional against native Sabahans and Sarawakians in a divide-and-conquer strategy, Lim Kit Siang was exploring a new “alternative” to fight toxic politics. Anwar, who understood the consequences of dancing to the tune of Wan Ahmad, has rejected any amendment to the Constitution. Limiting the prime ministership to Malays is no different than the South African apartheid policies. – Finance Twitter