Stocks, currency plunge as Emergency rule declared to help Muhyiddin cling to power

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Malaysia’s stocks and currency plunge on Tuesday after the King dramatically proclaimed an Emergency that will last until August 1, or until the current Covid-19 pandemic is brought under control.

At 11am, the local Bursa Malaysia stock index plunged below 1,600 level, losing 25.34 points (1.6%) to 1,591.91. It has also spooked the local currency.

The US dollar-Malaysian Ringgit pair hit a high of 4.072 – or around 0.54% higher than the previous close. The panic selling had prompted backdoor Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin rush to assure investors that the country remains “open for business”. In a televised address after the declaration, the PM took pains to explain that the Emergency is not a military coup.

Bernama

Muhyiddin also said there will not be any curfew, insisting that the civilian government and judicial system will continue to function. But if that’s true, why had the backdoor Perikatan Nasional government rushed to convince the King to declare an Emergency rule in the first place? Why set the Emergency rule to last until August, and not March or April?

Does the premier have no confidence of flattening the Coronavirus curve by March or April, more than three months from now and even after the vaccination scheduled to start in February? Does that also mean schools will be shut down until the Emergency is lifted? Otherwise, how does it make sense that while schools can be opened, the country remains under an Emergency rule?

The answer is simple – the power-crazy prime minister desperately wanted to cling to power after losing simple majority support. The Emergency declaration is just Muhyiddin’s excuse to suspend the Parliament and stop any elections in order for him to rule like a dictator. In fact, he can theoretically plunder and steal from the national coffers, and nobody can check or question him.

When Muhyiddin was chosen by the King to be crowned as the 8th Prime Minister on March 1, 2020, after a coup, there were suspicions about his legitimacy. To prove that Muhyiddin did not have the numbers as claimed, former PM Mahathir had published a full list of names of all the 114 MPs who supported him on the night before Muhyiddin’s official swearing ceremony.

Muhyiddin cowardly kept quiet and did not show any name list to prove that he had the minimum 112 MPs support in the 222-seat Parliament. He has been hiding behind Coronavirus pandemic ever since. Even until today, he does not dare test his legitimacy in the Parliament when he ordered his lapdog House Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun to disallow any motion of no confidence against him.

In fact, the premier was so terrified that he had even ordered the Parliament to be shut down – shamelessly restricted a sitting to only one day on May 18, 2020. The May Parliament proceedings, however, showed that Muhyiddin had only support from 113 MPs – just two majority – despite massive bribing and politicking since March 1.

But three days ago, the backdoor prime minister lost his legitimacy – “officially” – after the withdrawal of support from an UMNO lawmaker, Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub, the MP for Machang. The withdrawal came after two-thirds – 143 out of 191 UMNO divisions – decided to cut ties with Bersatu, Muhyiddin’s party, in the next 15th General Election.

Jazlan’s withdrawal also means that Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional government effectively has only 110 MPs backing its administration in the 220-member Parliament (after the deaths of two MPs), and it no longer has the majority to pass legislation without obtaining support from the Opposition. Nazri Aziz became the latest MP to withdraw his support today (12 Jan), reducing Muhyiddin’s support to 109.

Nazri’s withdrawal, however, is too little, too late. The Emergency rule is to give Muhyiddin some eight months to strengthen his party by bribing and buying UMNO members. As revealed by Nazri recently, the PM approved a grand plan to set up 8,000 Bersatu branches in three months. To speed up the process, Bersatu “steals and buys” UMNO members – offering RM20,000 to establish a branch.

FT

To boost Bersatu memberships, each UMNO member who switches sides to Bersatu will be paid up to RM100. Nazri exposed – “UMNO is really angry with the flower (Bersatu) in Perak because the village head and the local councillor (posts) were given to them even when they have no members. Now, they stole our members, they gave money to our people (to switch sides).”

Muhyiddin will only dissolve the Parliament once he is done in draining UMNO resources through buying UMNO grassroots and transferring UMNO machinery to his party, Bersatu (PPBM). Like a vampire, the Bersatu president is slowly but surely sucking and killing UMNO, the party that has been ruling the country since its establishment in 1946 until its stunning defeat in 2018.

UMNO has no one but itself to blame for foolishly shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. The party, one of three major “Malay” component parties in the Perikatan Nasional coalition, has been dragging its feet dozens of times. As early as March 2020, UMNO should have withdrawn its support for the backdoor government when it was given junk ministries, but it did not.

In September, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim announced in a press conference that he had obtained a “strong, formidable, convincing” majority to form a new government as a result of a secret deal from UMNO President Zahid Hamidi. But the divided UMNO warlords were indecisive and chose to selfishly support Muhyiddin for short-term gains.

Even after Sabah UMNO was bullied, backstabbed and betrayed by Bersatu, the weak Zahid was simply powerless when the chief minister post was stolen, despite winning the most seats in the state election. Sabah UMNO Chief Bung Moktar became only the deputy chief minister and in a short internal crisis, was even given a useless “works minister”.

In October, due to Anwar’s attempt to topple Muhyiddin, the prime minister had met the Agong (King) in his attempt seeking for a state of Emergency, but the monarch rejected the request. UMNO should realise by then that by hook or by crook, the power-hungry premier will cling to power. The UMNO top leadership should have decided on withdrawing its support, but again, failed to do so.

In November, the Budget 2021 saw UMNO under the pathetic leadership of Zahid continued its support for the government. UMNO warlords like Tajuddin Abdul Rahman and Nazri Aziz naively and arrogantly said all 43 lawmakers of Barisan Nasional, a coalition led by UMNO, had agreed to support the budget. They even laughed at the Opposition’s offer of a “confidence and supply agreement”.

FT

In its New Year message to UMNO, former PM Najib Razak finally said that the party must reject cooperation with Bersatu under the Perikatan Nasional coalition and instead work towards claiming its position as the dominant party. The party’s Supreme Council meeting was supposed to deliver the last blow, officially cutting all ties with Muhyiddin’s party and the government.

However, the toothless and corrupt UMNO Supreme Council, the highest decision making body, dragged its feet again when it deferred any decision on the party’s support for PPBM (Bersatu) to its annual general assembly on Jan 31, 2021. Zahid also reportedly issued an order to all UMNO MPs to step down from their posts in government and government agencies by the end of January.

But when the news was leaked, UMNO president Zahid chickened out and denied having issued such orders. An UMNO leader, Mohd Puad Zarkashi, had even told fellow UMNO MPs to show “political courage” and perform “kamikaze” but clearly, very few of the corrupt and greedy UMNO lawmakers were interested. Today, it’s rather too late for UMNO to do anything.

Leaders like Najib, Zahid and Nazri naively thought they could win by slowly squeezing Muhyiddin. Instead, it was PM Muhyiddin, who carried out a quick surgical strike against his enemies. UMNO deserves it. This is not totally bad news for the opposition, though. The Emergency is to disrupt UMNO’s coup, which will certainly worsen the bad blood between two corrupt, racist and treacherous parties. – Finance Twitter