KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 – The country welcomed a new era, or as some would call it, a return to an old era, in Malaysian politics today with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim sitting together on the same side of the Dewan Rakyat for the first time in 20 years.
The familiarity does not end there however, as far as these parliamentary veterans are concerned, for now they have their family members sitting alongside them.
The Pakatan Harapan coalition has probably achieved a record of sorts having four “leading” families now serving in the ruling government as ministers and backbenchers.
Iskandar Putri MP Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng (Bagan) are the seniors on this count, being a formidable father-son pair in the Dewan Rakyat over the past 30 years. Also from DAP are Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh (Puchong) and his brother Ramkarpal Singh (Bukit Gelugor).
Mahathir (Langkawi) now has his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz (Jerlun) to possibly be groomed to take over sometime in the future, now that Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Pagoh) is not likely to be propped for any such possibility, having been diagnosed with cancer.
Finally come the Anwars. The return of the PKR president to the Dewan Rakyat, via the engineered Port Dickson by-election last Saturday, is also the first time that a father-wife-daughter team are serving as MPs at the same time, with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (Pandan) and Nurul Izzah (Permatang Pauh) completing the trio.
There are no restrictions on such a scenario from being in place, but many have accused Pakatan Harapan of now trying to create dynasties under the guise of a democracy.
One family to rule them all
A few rumours have been circulating over the past week, with the most significant being that Mukhriz will be replaced as Kedah menteri besar, in order for him to take over the post of Home Minister from the ailing Muhyiddin.
A source close to Mukhriz revealed that he would be the natural choice, being Bersatu deputy president, and is likely to helm the party too sooner than later.
As home minister to his prime minister father, the nation’s internal security would be in the hands of one family, something that was last seen when former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak named his first cousin Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as home minister in 2009.
Would that give rise to the repeat of the 1998 scenario of political maneuvering to remove certain leaders is left to be seen. But for now, the coalition’s main players are playing it cool, just reveling in the victory by PH in PD.
There may be another PD by-election
The outcome of a voter suit against the eligibility of Anwar Ibrahim to contest in PD is still in progress. Should the courts rule against Anwar, this may cause another by-election in PD.
A class action suit against Anwar’s pardon may also surface in the near future to get the courts to decide on the constitutionality of the pardon given and its process.
There were various complaints against Anwar’s campaign and some reports were already lodged. Potential election petition against Anwar looks inevitable and these too may result in a by-election.
Another engineered by-election for Rafizi Ramli
In the meantime, everyone is waiting with bated breath for the next move by PKR to create yet another by-election that is not caused by a disqualification or death of an MP.
Rumours abound of another by-election taking place in the not-too-distant future with Wan Azizah likely to step down to enable former Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli to make his return to government.
For now, both these rumours are making the rounds on social media, but as there is no smoke without fire, we can only assume the wheels of power are turning vigorously these days in the PH government.
The only question is where all this would eventually lead a people, who thought they had voted to see an end to political shenanigans and autocratic rule by an individual and his supporters.