Monday, 22 February 2021

BATTLE OF THE COVID-19 CONTACT TRACING APPS

Malaysians love politischeissing everything, even something as basic as two popular brands of bread as being "Pakatan Harapan" bread and "Barisan Nasional" bread, based upon who owns the bread company.

Since early last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic became serious in Malaysia, apart from running from pillar to post looking to buy facemasks and gloves, Malaysians also began to politischeisse the two COVID-19 contact tracing apps - i.e. MySejahtera deployed by the Federal Government which had just fallen to the Perikatan Nasional and the SELankah deployed by the Selangor state government controlled by the Pakatan Harapan, which had lost control of the federal government due to infighting which led to the pact's fracture and its government's collapse.



As any data scientist worth his or her salt will tell you, computing and information systems work best when there is a single centralised database for applications such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics and so forth to work on, rather than having multiple databases and systems which tend to become separate silos of data and information.

To overcome this problem, the federal government mandated that all establishments in Malaysia use the MySejahtera app for contact tracing, which would centralise all the data, so their processing tools can produce the clearest picture of the COVID-19 situation.

More recently, there were some problems with SELankah and it was taken down for a while and it was recently relaunched with features which make it more like MySejahtera.

However, according to Malaysia Now of 22 February 2021, there have been complaints about the revamped SELankah app:-

Frustrated users, no answers: Selangor's SELangkah contrasts with MySejahtera amid low ratings, downloads

The app has had fewer than 6,000 downloads on Google Play, and unlike MySejahtera, users' concerns do not receive a direct response.

MalaysiaNow Feb 22, 2021 12:18 PM 

Selangor's SELangkah app, which the state government relaunched on the back of controversy over its ability to carry out the same functions as Putrajaya's MySejahtera, appears to be dogged with problems as users of its Android version highlight bugs and weaknesses without any reply from its developers.

Checks by MalaysiaNow on Google Play, the official app store for devices running on the Android operating system, showed that SELangkah is listed under the "Lifestyle" category, with fewer than 6,000 downloads since it was relaunched by Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari with a special appearance by a television personality two weeks ago.

At press time, there were about 60 reviews from users, most of whom complained about incomplete features, cumbersome form-filling and an absence of critical contact tracing needs such as registering on behalf of dependents.

The complaints had received no response from SELangkah, other than one self-review by the app's developer Dr Helmi Zakariah who hailed his software as an effort to "bring an integrated, holistic pandemic response in Malaysia", adding that "we thought this will help tremendously".

Checks also found that some users who gave the app a good rating had also noted problems they faced when using SELangkah.

"The longer you delay the feature to add dependents into this app, not many people will be using this to scan the qr code. Update 22/2/21: No response from app developer. Like not bothered," said one user, referring to the absence of interaction from the app's developer.

Another user, who gave a four-star rating, complained that users are forced to fill up forms each time they use SELangkah's newly added feature to scan MySejahtera as well.

"You should not release a section if the section is not ready. The home tab has so many ads and buttons which are not ready. Plus I think as of now, we do not need the first bottom tab as it just says coming soon when we click on it. I think this is messy," said a user.

"Not as much useful functions as MySejahtera despite the re-launch," said Lyn Chan, who added that unlike Putrajaya's app, SELangkah would not allow users to register a disabled family.

"This is very important as the person under my care is of a high risk classification. Please look into improving the app for its core intended purpose. Prove it in the application!" she wrote.

In contrast, checks found that MySejahtera has been constantly interacting with users on Google Play, attending to their complaints.

Replies to feedback are given by "Government of Malaysia", with frequent apologies for any inconvenience caused to users and a promise of a solution to come.

Unlike SELangkah, MySejahtera is grouped under the "Health and Fitness" category, and in the number one spot for free apps in the same genre.

With more than 420,000 reviews, MySejahtera has a rating of 4.6 stars compared to SELangkah's 3.8 stars despite only a little more than 60 reviews.

MalaysiaNow had earlier reported that the app lacked basic functionalities needed for any Covid-19 contact tracing, and was found to be inferior compared to MySejahtera.

This was followed by a discovery that SELangkah permits the use of personal data for uses other than contact tracing, despite assurances of data safety from the state's Covid-19 task force chief Dzulkefly Ahmad.

Dzulkefly had angrily scoffed at suggestions that the SELangkah app is inferior, and even claimed that Putrajaya had lagged behind the state in automatic contact tracing.

SELangkah came under scrutiny following a spike in Covid-19 cases in the state, proportionately much higher than neighbouring Kuala Lumpur which dwarfs Selangor in terms of population density.

Repeated attempts in the past by MalaysiaNow to obtain a response about problems encountered in the app from its developer Helmi had fallen on deaf ears.

When MalaysiaNow turned to Dzulkefly for answers, he said he had instructed that all queries on SELangkah should be directed to Helmi.


The bottom line, folks, is that politischeiss cannot beat objective reality.

So keep your politischeissing to preaching to the converted in echo-chambers such as WhatsApp groups, comments sections, hours of useless, idle chatter over teh tarik or beers.

Call me anti-social but thanks to COVID-19, I've not had to suffer being dragged to join people in these idle chatter sessions in 24-hour eateries until the early hours of the morning.

Yours truly

Politi Scheiss

Friday, 16 October 2020

OUR POLITICIANS' DISGUSTING "GAME OF THRONES"

Good morning! Folks,

I need not say much more about the ongoing "Game of Thrones" between Malaysia's elected representatives, with members of parliament and state assemblymen switching parties and even seemingly mutually antagonistic political parties breaking from their coalition or pact to ally with their traditional political enemies to defeat their rivals and attain power.

Such behaviour has been described by the saying "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" and has been observed throughout history, and where after their common enemy has been defeated, the original enemy within the winning coalition or pact turn on each other and a new fight begins.

Malaysian democracy has degenerated into a dysfunctional democracy and we see more repeats of this, whichever coalition or pact gains power and whoever becomes Malaysia's next Prime Minister., and who knows but by the time GE15 comes around in 2023, we could have had five different Prime Ministers, unless GE15 is held early, but even then, I expect that this process of changing alliances will continue after that, whilst our economy goes down the drain, businesses close, unemployment soars and the number of COVID-19 cases goes trough the roof.

Below, highlighted in blue are a list of comments by readers which Malaysiakini selected to include in its latest Yoursay list.

YOURSAY | Game of thrones, Round 2

Yoursay

Published 

YOURSAY | ‘The priority is to get a stable government to take charge of the nation.’


Amanah info chief: Zahid pledged support of 30 Umno MPs for Anwar


Vijay47: If this gift of a Trojan horse from Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi ever came to pass, it would mean yet another nail in the coffin where rests our pride and honour.

I hold nothing against select individuals, but when it involves 30 Umno MPs, written on an olive branch twirled by Zahid, it only means institutionalised sleeping together with PKR. I believe in corporate circles this osmosis is referred to as reverse takeover.

When it is the Umno president who comes bearing gifts, it surely must come at great cost; it must mean the discontinuance of ongoing prosecution by acquittal through DNAA thus never to be resurrected, and the promise that no fresh charges would be laid, jointly offering similar divine blessings as that frail Sabah gentleman was bestowed 46 times over.

And perhaps as the icing on the cake to be had and eaten, former premier Najib Abdul Razak, already being trounced 0-7 even before half-time, would enjoy the same fortune.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, in your recent shrill rantings, you twice promised to protect kepentingan Melayu (Malay importance). Is this how you intend achieving your glorious objective, by sacrificing Malay pride, self-respect, and yes, dignity, at the altar of political expediency?

If so, why should it shock Malaysians? Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad did it (and again), Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin did it, so why should Anwar not become a traitor?

The only saving grace would be if DAP, and perhaps Amanah, refuse to shatter their honour.


Bobby0: The priority is to get a stable government to take charge of the nation. The nation is at a crossroad and everybody is going to be a loser if we have the present administration running the nation.

What Zahid can contribute is maybe 30 of Umno’s MPs to back Anwar. It will be up to Anwar (should he become prime minister) to select his cabinet. With capable people in the office and a leader to show them the direction in which way the nation needs to move, the people might see some light at the end of the tunnel.

It may not be the perfect solution, but better than the coalition that we have now in office – a directionless administration combined with religious leaders that will take the nation backward in time.

The Covid-19 virus is not going to go away anytime soon. The only solution to it is to find a cure. Otherwise, it will continue to plague the world for a long time.

We need leaders who are farsighted and have to find ways to live with the virus without rocking the economy. We need to start opening the nation soon.

So, it is not the question of Umno supporting Anwar, but the question of the survival of the nation. Politicking must come to an end. Racial indifference must be put to a stop. We need to be united, especially at this juncture.

If they can find a solution and work together, all of us should put our egos aside.


ScarletToucan9986: What all this politicking signal is pure, undeniable selfishness - no more, no less.

Do Zahid and Najib consciously want to throw the country into chaos with this disruption of the (questionable) government? Maybe not. But do they want to save their backsides from being thrown into prison? Absolutely.

And Muhyiddin not resigning? The reason is clear as day, isn't it? He's the PM, with the opportunity to rake in huge sums of money and immense power. Why would anyone give that up easily? And Muhyiddin was raised in Umno after all.

And Anwar? One can hardly blame him for going after that post for which he was promised. When the opportunity arose, which is to gather the support of Umno and overthrow Bersatu, why wouldn't he take it?

The rakyat is just collateral damage in the politicians’ incessant quest for power and money. It is every man for himself in Malaysian politics, as every Malaysiakini reader here already knows. Even though I detest this spineless politicking, it shouldn't be shocking to us anymore, don't you think?


Fellow Malaysian: With Amanah information chief Khalid Samad's revelation, it is becoming clear why Anwar did not provide a list of Umno MPs who Anwar claimed to have pledged support for him and Pakatan Harapan.

The content was wrapped in Zahid's letter, which Anwar had respectfully handed to the Agong when he met the ruler last Tuesday. Coming from the Umno president himself, if true, it is hard to repudiate Zahid's claim.

Khalid's remark also sheds light onto the reason why, of all Umno leaders, Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, also popularly known as Ku Li, who doesn’t hold any executive portfolio in the party, was summoned to meet His Majesty.

Shouldn't Zahid be the first person from Umno to be called?


The Wakandan: The picture is getting clearer. We must be blind if all this is just a hoax by a so-called PM-crazy PKR leader.

A few leaders have not denied what Anwar said and that includes Zahid and Amanah. Ku Li was seen going into the palace and both DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Amanah leader Mohamad Sabu also were called (albeit their audience was postponed). If Anwar is lying, then these people, especially Khalid, are lying too.

And we know that it only takes a few MPs to change sides to topple the PN government. The present PM should not be in a denial mode or pretend not to know. He should stand down to avoid more embarrassment.

If Mahathir, whom he toppled, could do the obvious by resigning, Muhyiddin should be man enough to accept the reality that his government is no longer viable. In fact, everybody concerned should be honest and realistic enough to see the picture.


Quigonbond: Khalid should just keep quiet. He is not exactly the popular face of Amanah given his disreputable stint as federal territories minister.

It does not really matter what Zahid and his letter say. He's trying to strike a better deal with Perikatan Nasional (PN), probably getting better ministerial roles plus the deputy prime minister position, and taking Bersatu man Azmin Ali's gang down a notch.

Even if Anwar cannot take over for now, I'll take the small satisfaction knowing that Azmin’s gang has been given a blow. He is the ultimate traitor. I can understand Bersatu DNA, but without Azmin’s 10, the Harapan government would have survived, and Anwar would have been the PM by end of this year.

For the long term, Anwar cannot rely on Umno MPs. The Harapan core has to find a way to win over more voters.


Constitutional Supremacy: If there are 30 MPs from Umno in support of Anwar, that means the whole of Umno is in. This figure cannot be accurate.

There are nine Umno MPs who are ministers. There are more than 10 Umno MPs who are deputy ministers. This is in the PN government under Muhyiddin and most of them have announced they will not support Anwar.

How could Anwar strike a deal which allows the whole of Umno to come into government, including Najib and Zahid?


Beman: Wow, the chief of a political party can now dispatch MPs in the party to support this or that other political party.

I don't believe it is free of charge. There must be a price to pay for the support. If they are unhappy with the price paid, support can be withdrawn any time. This must be what is happening to Muhyiddin.

All this sounds mercenary. MPs have now become foot soldiers that can be sent by their lord to give support to another lord. Serving the interest of the nation and the people is now not high on their agenda.

Now we know why someone is unable to show the specific names behind the "solid" support he claimed to have. The "solid" support is only a "pledge".


OrangePanther1466: All this drama is merely to blackmail Muhyiddin into giving more concessions to Umno. It’s naive to think that Umno would support Anwar and abandon their Maufakat Nasional partner.

Let’s see if Muhyiddin is desperate enough to concede to all their demands. Najib seems to think so. That's why he has been making bold statements. The sad thing is that I think Muhyiddin does not have the wherewithal to resist and will concede.


RR: It is strange that police are investigating Anwar when the right solution is a floor test in Parliament to resolve this matter to see which leader has the majority in Parliament.

Why then are people beating about the bush? In all honesty, the Dewan Rakyat speaker should allow the no-confidence vote in the interests of the nation and put an end to this political drama so that the government of the day under whichever leader will focus to contain the Covid-19 pandemic and build the economy.


The above is a selection of comments posted by Malaysiakini subscribers. Only paying subscribers can post comments. In the past one year, Malaysiakinians have posted over 500,000 comments. Join the Malaysiakini community and help set the news agenda. Subscribe now.

These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.


Enough said.

Take care and stay safe from COVID-19.

Yours truly

POLITI SCHEISS

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

NO CLEAR OUTCOME AS D-DAY CLOSED

D-Day ended with no clear outcome of Anwar's bid to become Malaysia's next Prime Minister.



Shortly after Port Dickson Member of Parliament and Pakatan Harapan pact leader, Yang Berhormat (the Right Honourable) Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim's 25 minute audience with Malaysia's Yang Di-Pertuan Agong (King) around 11 am on 13 October 2020, the Istana Negara (National Palace) released the statement below, which is in the Malay language.

Two paragraphs in the statement basically say that Anwar revealed to the Agong the number of members of parliament who supported him to be Malaysia's next prime minister but did not provide the Agong with a list of their names to back up his claim. (that he had the support of the majority of MPs in parliament to be the prime minister).

The Agong then advised Anwar to respect the legal processes according to Malaysia's Constitution.

The rest of the two-page statement is about the resurgence of the COVID-19 crisis in Malaysia right now.

It was signed by Dato' Indera Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, Comptroller of the Royal Family and Household.
 





However, that same afternoon, Anwar Ibrahim said he had presented "genuine documents" to the Agong to prove his claim that he has the majority to form the government, according to Malaysia Now.

That contradicts the Palace's statement further above.

Meanwhile, Free Malaysia Today reported that Anwar had said that the Agong would be meeting party leaders over the next few days.

Earlier that afternoon, Free Malaysia Today reported that United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) veteran politician was expected to attend an audience with the Agong at 2 pm that afternoon.

That same afternoon, The Star reported that Democratic Action Party (DAP) Secretary-General, Yang Berhormat Lim Guan Eng had been summoned to meet the Agong on Wednesday (14 October 2020)

Malaysiakini reported that UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would have an audience with the Agong on Thursday (15 October 2020).

At 11.12 pm on 13 October 2020, the Malay Mail reported that UMNO had said that it was considering withdrawing its support for the National Alliance (Perikatan Nasional) and would instead focus on registering its Muafakat Nasional alliance with the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).

Perikatan Nasional is an informal alliance between the sitting Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's party, the Malaysian United Indigenous Party (PPBM), UMNO and PAS.

Free Malaysia Today reported that Malaysia's Immediate Past-Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir said that he does not endose anyone's bid to become Prime Minister

Meanwhile, Malaysia Now reported that Prime Minister Muhyiddin said that he would focus on dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and let the Agong decide.

I suppose by the weekend or next week we will have a a clearer picture whether we have a new prime minister, another change of government within seven months, a fresh general election or whatever.

Meanwhile, the number of new COVID-19 cases at 12 pm on 13 October 2020 soared to 660 nationwide, of which 443 or just over two-thirds were in Sabah state, where the Sabah state election was held on 26 September 2020, just 17 days ago.

Selangor, Malaysia's wealthiest and most developed state came a distant second with 76 new cases, followed by Kedah with 60, Penang with 23, Penang with 16, Johor with 10, Negeri Sembilan with 2, Pahang on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia with 1, the Federal Territory of Labuan on an island off Sabah with 19 and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital city with 10. The new cases are indicated in a white label in the infographic below.

Rather surprisingly, Malaysia's largest state Sarawak which borders Sabah saw no new cases this day, and neither did Perlis just north of Kedah and the Federal Territory of Putrajaya - Malaysia's administrative capital, as well as the states of Kelantan and Terengganu on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia recorded no new cases.   


The face of the high number of new cases in recent days, the state of Selangor, the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya were placed back under a stricter Conditional Movement Control Order FROM MIDNIGHT 14 oCTOBER 2020, whilst other states besides Sabah remain under a more relaxed Recovery Movement Control Order.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/10/12/selangor-kl-putrajaya-to-be-placed-under-cmco-on-wednesday/

However, if the aftermath of the recent state election in Sabah is any indication, a fresh general election held under current conditions could see the number of daily new cases skyrocket nationwide.

And, who knows how long a new government will last before we have to go through it all again.

Well, that's democracy folks, and who are those who said that Malaysia is "undemocratic" ?

Singapore-based Israeli Arab NAS has this to say about democracy.

Why Democracy Doesn't Work
And going back to  ancient Greece.

Why Socrates Hated Democracy

Meanwhile, more businesses will close, more working people will be unemployed, more students won't be attending school as end-of-year examinations approach, Malaysia will go deeper into debt and so forth - all as long as the COVID-19 crisis persists.

Anyway, don't worry, be happy!

Meanwhile, take care and stay safe from COVID-19.

Yours truly

POLITI SCHEISS
http://politischeiss.blogspot.com/




Tuesday, 13 October 2020

IT'S D-DAY. SO WHO WILL BE OUR NEXT PRIME MINISTER ?

Today, 13th October 2020 is D-Day, which it is bound to be a grippingly exciting day for Malaysians politically.



A list of 121 members of parliament (MPs) purported to support Anwar Ibrahim to Malaysia's next Prime Minister to replace Muhyiddin Yassin was leaked to the public on 5 October 2020. Anwar had secured an audience with Malaysia's Yang Di-Pertuan Agong (King) today (13 October 2020) to present the list to His Majesty as evidence that he (Anwar) has the support of the majority of the current 221 MPs in parliament, following the unfortunate death of Batu Sapi MP Liew Vui Keong on 2 October 2020 which had left the Batu Sapi seat currently vacant. May his soul Rest In Peace.

However, six MPs whose names are on the list filed police reports declaring that it is not true and that they support Anwar as PM and that their names should not be on the list.

The Police investigated the reports and summoned Anwar to come in for questioning and to give his statement at 11 am on 12 October 2020 but Anwar's press secretary requested that the meeting be postponed to 9am today - i.e. 13 October 2020, just two hours before Anwar's audience with the Agong, which sources say is at 11 am.

The police, postponed their meeting to record Anwar's statement to a future date to be confirmed.


Under the law, the Agong has several options:-

1) As sitting Prime Minister,  Muhyiddin can request the Agong to call a special session of parliament to hold a no-confidence or a confidence vote in Muhyiddin as Prime Minister. If the no-confidence vote passes or the confidence vote fails, then Muhyiddin would have to resign and his cabinet would dissolve, and a fresh general election would be held.

2) Muhyiddin could request the Agong to dissolve parliament and if granted, a fresh general election would be held.

3) Muhyiddin could request an audience with the Agong to submit his resignation and if accepted, either a fresh election would be held or the Agong can appoint a new Prime Minister, such as in February when the Agong interviewed all 222 MPs individually determine which MP as the suupport of the majority of MPs, after which the Agong appointed Muhyiddin as Prime Minister.

Ideally, I much prefer that a fresh general election be held, so we the people can vote for a fresh set of 222 MPs, amongst who we can expect to see some new faces and who hopefully will do their job to serve the people, instead of scheming and jostling for power and position in a real life "Game of Thrones" at our expense.

However, now is not the right time to hold a general election, especially with the recent spike in the number of COVID-19 cases following the recent Sabah state elections, with Sabah having the highest number of new cases daily in the country but if it comes to that, then so be it.

It's 10.16 am right now, so let's see what pans out today and over the next few days.

Take care and stay safe.

Yours truly

Politi Scheiss


Friday, 21 August 2020

POLITICIANS - FROM KSHATRIYAS TO PARIAHS IN SPIRIT AND ETHOS

Two articles lamenting the current state of Malaysian politics appeared on The Malay Mail and Aliran websites on 20 August 2020.

Also, this same day, You Tuber Richard Medhurst posted a video, a part of which he mocked the dismissive attitudes of U.S. presidential contenders Joe Biden - Kamala Harris towards young voters.

A key paragraph towards the end of their fairly long and comprehensive commentary in The Malay Mail hits the nail squarely on the head with regards Malaysian politics:-

Also, this new political culture suits the interest of both the ruling coalition as well as the opposition, as they have been greatly affected by the party hopping practice, hence they have the incentive to incubate and promote the new political culture.

Yes, that is so true - i.e. Most of today's politicians on both sides of the political divide are in politics primarily to serve their political careers, personal and family interests - AND NOT the interests of their constituents and those who voted for them, or for some noble or higher cause.

Such elected representatives will switch their political party mid-term for better opportunities, just like a company's employees, especially the executives who leave for a position in another company for better pay, better prospects and quite often a higher position, especially when their prospects of moving up the career ladder in their present company are blocked due to no vacancies higher up. Either that, or they get head hunted to join a competitor at a higher level, on higher pay and benefits.

To such politicians, we the voters and their supporters are mere vote fodder and useful idiots who vote them into their seat or even put our necks on the line for them, only for them to fart in our faces and ignore us, once comfortably in their seat.

Many concerned citizens have lamented how Malaysia's politicians and elected representatives in the early post-independence years had integrity and were committed to their political cause and to the interests of their voters and constituents, compared to today when they are self-serving careerists.

Well, those politicians and elected representatives in the early post-independence years had campaigned and fought of Malaya's independence in the face of risks of loss of persecution, torture, incarceration or even execution by the colonial master, so it usually was the most courages amongst the people who came forward to fight for their cause. In short, Malaya's earlier politicians were  Kshatriya (warriors) - not always literally but in spirit and ethos.

However, as Malaya and later Malaysia developed economically and rose into the ranks of the middle-income nations, opportunists and careerists have entered politics in increasing numbers, and now many politicians are Pariahs (outcasts or untouchables) in spirit and ethos.

      


The Confucian social hierarchy is not rigid like the Vedic hierarchy, as people can move up and down between the several strata, according to their occupation at the time.

The Confucian model places the Scholars at the top, followed by the Peasants who produced the food which feeds all, followed by the Workers (or craftsmen) who produced items including farming tools used by the Peasants and last the Merchants (capitalists) who do not create anything but just move items (traded) them around, often for a hefty profit.

In the Confucian social hierarchy, the merchants (capitalists) are the Pariahs in spirit and ethos, and today, the worst of amongst the Pariahs are the finance capitalists - parasites - essentially money lenders who give out loans and milk their debtors of the interest.

However, left out of the Confucian social hierarchy are such categories as actors, prostitutes, criminals and the like would be expected to be left off, as well as soldiers (Kshatriya).  



Call me elitist but come to think about it, China is where it is today due to it being mostly led by Shi (scholars), including by Shi drawn from the educated and intelligent amongst the Gong and the Nong.

Also, Malaysia has done pretty well to contain the COVID-19 crisis compared to many other countries, the battle which has been led by a Shi - Tan Sri Dato' Sri Dr. Noor Hisham bin Abdullah, and endocrine surgeon and Director-General of Health.

Hopefully, you now can understand why Malaysian politics is the way it is today, as well as in many other countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

Following below highlighted in blue is Jamari Mokhtar's a Lim Ji Yi's commentary:-

Politics is for rakyat, not for politicians — Jamari Mohtar and Lim Ji Yi

Thursday, 20 Aug 2020 10:34 AM MYT

AUGUST 20 — Recent political crises — from the collapse of the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to a change in government by Perikatan Nasional (PN) have highlighted how politicians are placing their own selfish interests over the struggle for rakyat.

The people are already tired of the farces played by all the political "frogs," which in general ignore the rakyat's mandate.

They long for new, principled and ethical politicians to emerge in the political arena, to lead the country to the right way as well as to set Malaysia free from the notorious mud of money politics, kleptocracy, non-fulfilment of manifesto promises and political appointments at GLCs.

Hence, a new political culture based on integrity, ethics and service for the public good is very much needed and anticipated.

The dilemma facing current politics is that most politicians prioritise personal interest than public interest.

In their public persona, they will always say they entered politics for the sake of the 3Rs — rakyat, religion and race — but in actual fact it's for the sake of the 3Ms — me, me and me.

When asked about why they would want to switch side and support their former rival, the official and standard answer will often be "this is for the development needs of their electorate."

Is this argument justifiable enough to defend their acts?

Well, this is true given the unequal federal-state relations in Malaysia which prompts the state assemblymen to incline to the ruling federal government in hope of obtaining more funds for their constituencies. And this is another issue which requires more government effort to tackle.

However, the rakyat generally perceives this as a cover for the politician's greed and his personal craving for power.

The political reality in Malaysia lies within party politics where the political party is the be-all and end-all of things.

Leaving aside the debate on the pros and cons of party politics, the fact is the voters vote according to the party, not the candidate itself.

Hence, the mandate of the rakyat or the public interest is deeply intertwined with the political party. Seen from this perspective, party hopping is deemed against the will of the electorate.

But mandate of the rakyat could also be seen as the rakyat having no mandate at all in term of choice. The rakyat is "forced" to choose candidates chosen by the parties because it is the party who chooses the candidates not the rakyat.

Thus, the mandate of the rakyat is just limited to electing the candidates decided by the parties. The choice of candidates is actually the mandate of the parties. Put it bluntly, the rakyat has only the mandate to elect, while the party has the mandate to choose.

Then there is the individual mandate of the candidates to accept their nomination by the parties. The assumption is they would normally accept if the stance, principles and beliefs of the party is in alignment with theirs.

This imply at any moment after winning the election, if the candidates decide or perceive there is a dichotomy between the stance, principles and beliefs of their party and theirs, they have the right to hop.

And this right to hop is recognised in the Constitution via the right of association and assembly as enshrined in Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution. But there are others who say even though party hopping is constitutional, anything in the constitution that is detrimental to the rakyat can be removed by amending it.

But at this moment amending the constitution is a no brainer. As pointed out by an Umno former minister Dauk Sri Nazri Aziz, given the current political fragmentation in parliament, a constitutional amendment that needs a two-thirds majority is almost impossible and unrealistic.

He went on to propose a party-list system in which the party winning a particular constituency will always hold that constituency and the incumbent hopper will lose his seat.

Although this requires a two-thirds majority, Nazri felt this is more palatable in getting the support of the majority of the parliamentarians.

Another way is through the implementation of recall elections in which the politician's defection is put to a vote by its electorate, an idea advocated by Professor Wong Chin Huat, a political scientist from Sunway University, which is a practice in some states in the US.

The current political culture that prioritises personal interest than public interest is not just immoral and inappropriate in its nature, but it is unhealthy to the political development, economic progress, well-being of the society as well as other aspects of the nation.

It ignites the political instability which is strongly felt by rakyat at this moment. Since the political crisis that began in February, several PH state governments had collapsed, with the Sabah state government being the latest, having to hold a snap election on September 26.

The current political culture also simultaneously has an impact on the economy in terms of the uncertainties it engenders and the cost of organising a snap election at the federal level, that could probably explain the net capital outflow on a daily basis despite the good performance of the stock exchange.

All these lead to a trust deficit towards politics and government too. If this persists, the legitimacy of the current government will always be questioned.

As it is impossible for any one party in Malaysia to form the government, this new political culture should be the basis and maxim of coalition politics in Malaysia.

It is by no means a "be-all and end-all" solution to the current dilemma. However, by promoting and endorsing this new political culture, all the drawbacks induced by the present situation will be alleviated to a certain degree.

Also, this new political culture suits the interest of both the ruling coalition as well as the opposition, as they have been greatly affected by the party hopping practice, hence they have the incentive to incubate and promote the new political culture.

The point is this nation is in urgent need of a new political culture that is based on integrity, ethics and service for the public good.

* Jamari Mohtar and Lim Ji Yi are part of the research team at think-tank EMIR Research.


To add to the proposals in the article above, whilst individual elected representatives have the individual right to switch party, even mid-term, if it's possible a law could be introduced whereby if an elected representative switches party mid-term, his or her seat will fall vacant and a by-election is called, in which the former elected representative can also contents to try and win back the seat as a representative of his or her new party.

This was the case with Douglas Carswell, a Conservative Party member of parliament who switched party to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) mid-term in 2014. He resigned his seat, a by-election was held, he contested and in this case won back his seat, now as a United Kingdom Independence Party member of parliament.   

The next article to appear on 20 July 2020 is by JD Lovrenciear on the Aliran website.

Unlike in Jamari Mokhtar's a Lim Ji Yi's commentary, in his article below, Lovrenciear's tends to paint only one side as the "bad guys" whilst the other side are "innocents" or even "angels", which is not surprising, considering that the NGO Aliran has mostly been and still is inclined towards a particular side of the political divide against the other. 

JD Lovrenciear's article follows below:-

What has happened to the Malaysian dream?

By JD Lovrenciear - 20 Aug 2020

It is sad to see what is happening to the country, JD Lovrenciear writes.

Despite the still ongoing coronavirus pandemic, more turmoil has rocked the Malaysian political scene.

A political coup toppled a democratically elected Pakatan Harapan government amid the global coronavirus outbreak. 

And then, as the country experienced a potential second wave, the Sabah State Assembly was dissolved to pre-empt another backdoor takeover, paving the way for a state election. 

Such shocking political manoeuvres suggest a serious political battle is taking place while health and safety concerns appear to take second place.

Ordinary people see themselves helplessly caught up in all this political plotting and jostling while businesses suffer and job losses mount. 

The cost of living is hitting the ceiling – but who cares. 

Many ordinary citizens had struggled to free themselves from the bondage of the Barisan Nasional's six-decade-old grip on power. But their hopes have crashed.  

This political turmoil is something that many potential investors will not want to gamble with. The economy is likely to remain stagnant or even turn fragile in a climate of global uncertainty, including unprecedented weather challenges. 

Will Malaysia sink below its neighbours in South East Asia owing to the relentless political battles here? Only time will tell – and it will not be long either, given the unprecedented challenges confronting the world.  

It is sad to see what is happening in Malaysia, due partly to the unabated decades-long plague of corruption, which has seeped through the fabric of society – a nation that once basked in the accolade of being one of the "Asian tigers".


To answer Lovrenciear's rhetorical question - What has happened to the Malaysian dream? - Well, that dream is gone and our generation may not live to see a new dream,  if any, which may emerge in the future. However, for now the rice has turned to porridge, the milk gone rancid and the meat turned putrid.

As I said earlier, the rot in politics today is not confined to Malaysia only but to other countries as well, and in his You Tube video below, London, U.K.  based Syrian journalist Richard Medhurst mocks the electoral chances of Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris versus Republicans Donald Trump and Mike Pence in the upcoming U.S. presidential election in November. No Trump supporter either, Richard Medhurst is a minority Christian Syrian and anti-imperialist who tells the west to butt out of others' internal affairs, especially the affairs of Syria and other countries in the Middle East.

However, whilst most of his video is speculative, what is significant to me are the elitist, insensitive and dismissive statements made by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris with regards young voters in the U.S., which could have as devastating an affect upon their electoral chances as Hillary Clinton's elitist "basket of deplorables" statement describing working class Trump voters back in 2016. These two statements are excerpted below:-

Kamala Harris: - "What else do you know about this generation from 18 through 24? - They are stupid."

Joe Biden:- "The younger generation now tells me how tough things are - Give me a break" (applause) "No, no. I have no empathy for it - Give me a break".

I'm pretty sure young voters will be "love" the Biden-Harris duo for such insults to them.

Richard Medhurst's video follows below:-
  
Biden's Disastrous Poll Numbers

885 views•20 Aug 2020


Let's wait and see which faction of the Pariahs wins the U.S. presidency in November 2020.

Your truly

Politi Scheiss

Saturday, 25 July 2020

DAYA MASYARAKAT AIMS TO UNITE ALL NGOs


Did we the people vote for these NGOs? I didn't, so what right do they have to represent me or the people.

Have NGOs done anything for us the people? Well, none did anything for me.

Why not unite workers, smallholders and petty traders to fight for and defend their rights and interests?

Why not campaign for more affordable and quality public housing; radical improvements in our education system and higher standards of education; more quality, affordable or free healthcare for all; more extensive, quality and affordable public transit; tighter regulations on rampant and congested high-rise development whilst protecting the environment and ecology?

Such policies are best implemented by a government, so what's needed is a political party committed to serving, advancing and protecting the interests of the people if it wins the election, not a bunch of NGOs which nobody voted for.

They seem to be more interested in establishing a Dictatorship of the NGO-tariat.

Well, at least Isham (Hishamuddin Rais) recognises that Pakatan Harapan shot itself in its foot back in February 2020, whilst NGOs scream "backdoor government", which anyone who uses their brain, knows is bullshit - a pathetic cry of sore losers.

The pathetically small turnout mostly of wannabe management, yuppie NGO-types at a protest rally at Dataran Merdeka immediately after the Pakatan Harapan government fell is evidence of little popular support. Some people were worried that there would be a huge traffic jam and they would not be able to get home quickly but the traffic out of Kuala Lumpur was pretty normal that evening and the Movement Control Orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 had not been implemented by the present government which had not been formed.

The Free Malaysia Today article follows below:-

Power lust and 'PM virus' that felled PH

Nora Mahpar - July 25, 2020 9:30 PM

PETALING JAYA: An activist has blamed the fall of the Pakatan Harapan-led government on the "lust" for the prime minister's post.

Speaking at an event here today, Hishamuddin Rais said all hopes and dreams of reforms evaporated after the 22-month old administration fell on Feb 24.

He said that historians 100 years from now would look back on the events of 2020 as a tragicomedy in which the "people's victory" of May 9, 2018 had been snatched away by a "lust" to be prime minister.

"We have to learn from our mistakes. Let us not be easily trapped by those wearing robes who are filled with religious rhetoric," he said at the launch of a social organisation called Daya Masyarakat today.

Hishamuddin said the political landscape had changed because of two "viruses" – Covid-19 and the "PM virus" – which led to the political crisis.

The Pakatan Harapan government in power since the 2018 election fell on the resignation of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the coalition chairman and prime minister.

Under an agreement struck prior to the general election, Mahathir was to hand over power to Anwar Ibrahim at an unspecified date. The question of the handover date would feature frequently during Pakatan Harapan's short stint in power.

PKR vice-president Tian Chua, who is Daya chairman, said Malaysians should commit to rebuilding hopes so that the sacrifices of the past decades were not wasted.

He said Daya would be a social movement to unite all NGOs "to restore the strength we built up before".

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/07/25/power-lust-and-pm-virus-that-felled-ph/

Yours truly

POLITI SCHEISS


Friday, 12 June 2020

DOW JONES PLUMMETS 1,862 POINTS

Dow plummets 1,862 points, its worst day since March, on cautionary Fed messages and 2nd-wave coronavirus fear

Ben Winck

Jun. 11, 2020, 10:06 PM

  •     US stocks tanked on Thursday as cautious commentary from the Federal Reserve and rising coronavirus infection rates prompted investor concern.
  •     All three major indexes posted their biggest single-day declines since March 16.
  •     Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California all reported strong upticks in case counts or hospitalizations, increasing fears of a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
  •     The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that the pandemic could result in permanent economic damage and an extended period of high unemployment.
  •     Oil dove as well, with West Texas Intermediate crude trading as much as 11% lower.
  •     Watch major indexes update live here.

  • US equities plummeted on Thursday as investors grew warier of rising coronavirus case counts and mulled cautious commentary from the Federal Reserve. All three major indexes posted their biggest single-day declines since March 16.

  • A much-feared second wave of COVID-19 infections is becoming likelier in some states as reopening efforts continue. Texas reported its third straight day of record coronavirus hospitalizations, while Florida notched its worst weekly increase in cases. Arizona and California also revealed spikes in new cases. The surging case counts pushed the US total above 2 million.

  • Traders also weighed Fed Chair Jerome Powell's comments on Wednesday; he said the pandemic could result in permanent economic damage and an extended period of high unemployment. He cautioned that, despite May's better-than-expected jobs report, "it's a long road" to a labor-market recovery.

  • Still, the Fed signaled a willingness to continue economic stimulus efforts, saying it would leave rates near zero and continue multibillion-dollar bond purchases.

  • Here's where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET market close on Thursday:

  •     S&P 500: 3,002.10, down 5.9%
  •     Dow Jones industrial average: 25,128.17, down 6.9% (1,862 points)
  •     Nasdaq composite: 9,492.73, down 5.3%

  • Read more: We spoke to 3 financial experts, who broke down why you should buy these 13 ETFs to maximize stock-market returns right now

  • The Dow's slump marked its worst day since April, reviving market volatility not seen since the initial upswing from coronavirus-induced lows.

  • "We were probably due for a 5% or 10% correction, but obviously I didn't expect that to happen in one day," Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research, told Business Insider.

  • He continued: "When you get a day like today, it's one of those times that tends to scare people who don't have a lot of experience in this. So the selling begets more selling, which begets more selling."

  • Though surging COVID cases raised fears of a prolonged recession, the White House stamped out the possibility of another nationwide lockdown. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday "we can't shut down the economy again," adding "you're going to create more damage" with such an action.

  • Read more: Renowned strategist Tom Lee nailed the market's 40% surge from its worst-ever crash. Here are 17 clobbered stocks he recommends for superior returns as the recovery gains steam.

  • Weekly jobless-claims data released on Thursday backed up Powell's gloomy sentiment. Roughly 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week, the Labor Department said. The reading brought the 12-week total to 44 million. Continuing claims, or the number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits, slid slightly from the previous week, to 20.9 million.

  • Some of the day's biggest losers were those that gained the most on reopening hopes. Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line all plunged. Airline stocks including Delta, American, and United slid sharply as well. Gap and Kohl's were among the biggest losers in the retail sector.

  • Early moves in the Cboe Volatility Index mirrored the stock market's sharp downturn. The VIX, known as the stock market "fear gauge," spiked as much as 54% Thursday, breaching the 40 threshold for the first time since late April.

  • Oil tanked through the session amid the wider risk-off attitude. West Texas Intermediate crude sank as much as 11%, to $35.41 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, slumped 9.4%, to $37.82, at intraday lows.

  • Carmen Reinicke contributed to this report.

Monday, 9 March 2020

PSM CALLS UPON GOVERNMENT TO REMOVE THE FUEL SUBSIDY

I'm pretty sure Malaysians will gladly vote for Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM) if petrol prices at the pump increase, despite the sharp plunge in the price of Brent Crude.

When the price of Brent Crude was down around US$30 per barrel, people were complaining that the price of fuel at the pump did not drop correspondingly and just because the price of Brent Crude plunged to US$33.98 per barrel today, PSM calls upon the government to remove the fuel subsidy

This is a perfect example of an oxymoronic term i coined - i.e. neoliberal-socialism.

I'd expect such a call to come from the likes of the neoliberal think tank, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) but not from a party which claims to be "socialist".

However, this should not be surprising in the 21st Century, when "far-left" governments such as Syriza betray the results of the Greek referendum and impose austerity dictated by European Union and banksters' upon the Greek people. 



Removing fuel subsidy will save RM6 bil, govt told as global oil price plunges

FMT Reporters - March 9, 2020 9:44 AM

PETALING JAYA: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) today called on Putrajaya to do away with the fuel subsidy, saying this would save the government nearly RM6 billion in the wake of reports that oil markets have suffered their worst drop since the Gulf War.

The party's environmental and climate crisis bureau committee member, Sharan Raj, said Perikatan Nasional should abolish the automatic pricing mechanism (APM) and allow for free float.

He said the money saved from removing the APM could be used to subsidise and expand public transport nationwide.

"The government could purchase more than 6,600 electric buses with RM6 billion savings or nearly 34,000 electric buses in five years," he said in a statement.

He added however that the price of diesel should be regulated to prevent upward pressure on inflation.

Noting that diesel is widely used for the transport of goods and public transport services, he said floating diesel prices would result in price fluctuations for logistic costs.

He suggested that the price for Euro 2M Diesel and Euro 5 Diesel be fixed at RM2.20 per litre and RM2.00 per litre respectively.

Earlier today, Bloomberg reported that oil markets tumbled more than 30% after the disintegration of the Opec+ alliance triggered an all-out price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Brent futures suffered the second-largest drop on record in the opening seconds of trading in Asia, behind only the plunge during the Gulf War in 1991.

Putrajaya had planned to implement a targeted petrol subsidy scheme for low-income earners prior to the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government. It has since been put on hold.


Meanwhile, stay tuned to the price of Brent Crude:-


Meanwhile, the ringgit weakened sharply from RM4.17 to RM4.2 to the U.S. dollar.




PSm should keep its scheiss to itself.

Yours truly

POLITI SCHEISS
http://politischeiss.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

THE SEVEN DAYS WHICH SHOOK MALAYSIA, AND PERHAPS MORE TO COME.

Looks like we're still in for a rough ride moving forward, folks. We could well be in a brief lull period now before the next storm or series of storms.

As I had said several times before in various forums, if a motion of no confidence is moved in parliament against Muhyiddin as prime minister, he will very likely have to resign, his cabinet will automatically dissolve and most likely a snap election will have to be called and if the outcome of that election produces no coalition or pact of parties with at least 112 seats in parliament - i.e. 50% plus 1 seat, there will either be another round of horse trading to make up the required number of seats for a majority or another snap election will likely be held and if once again, no coalition or pact wins at least 112 seats, the whole process will likely repeat again, and if this loop continues, Malaysia will be unable to get down to business as usual and will stagger on as a dysfunctional democracy. 

Bloomberg of 2 March 2020 writes, digging deeper into the background of events and causes which led up to the SEVEN DAYS WHICH SHOOK MALAYSIA (23 - 29 February 2020), and these go back farther than the events of 23 February 2020.

One could say that Bloomberg presents a rather western-eyed view of the events and that the writers of the article and the analysts quoted may appear to lean towards a pro-Pakatan Harapan perspective, but I leave you to read and decide for yourselves whether they make sense or not.

However, one thing I agree with is that it was intra-Pakatan Harapan and intra-PKR infighting which brought the Pakatan Harapan government down, and who knows - it may well be a unity government headed by Mahathir or someone else which will be required to stabilise the situation. Democracy is a messy business after all, especially when there are elected representatives ever ready to jump ship for opportunistic reasons, just like employees change job for career advancement, higher pay or both.

The Bloomberg article follows below:-

politics

How a $7 Billion Dispute Helped Topple Mahathir's 'New Malaysia'

By Anisah Shukry, Elffie Chew, and Yantoultra Ngui
2 March 2020, 13:00 GMT+8 Updated on 2 March 2020, 22:00 GMT+8

*   Infighting took down coalition after historic win in 2018
*   Policy differences remain even if Mahathir manages comeback

In the weeks before his shock resignation as prime minister threw Malaysia into turmoil, Mahathir Mohamad was getting agitated.

His then-ruling alliance had suffered a series of by-election losses, stunting its momentum after a historic election win in 2018 against a government in power for six decades. Mahathir wanted quicker action to reduce living costs, a key part of the "New Malaysia" agenda that had propelled the bloc's surprise win. But his proposals only spurred more bickering within the unwieldy coalition of four parties with racial and religious differences.

One conflict centered around highway tolls. In January, Mahathir agreed to let the conglomerate Maju Group take over highways operator PLUS Malaysia Bhd., which is controlled by the finance ministry, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. Under the deal, valued at about 30 billion ringgit ($7 billion), Maju Group would've scrapped toll fees in return for government contracts to maintain the roads, the people said.

But his coalition partners disagreed: The largest, the Democratic Action Party or DAP, was strongly opposed to the deal because it wanted PLUS to be directly held by the government, according to a person familiar with the discussions. In the end, the administration rejected all bids for PLUS and restructured concessions to reduce highway fares instead of eliminating them.

The failed deal highlighted a series of policy disputes that eventually brought down the coalition, showing that the differences in Mahathir's government extended far beyond when he would cede power to Anwar Ibrahim, his long-time rival. New Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is backed by parties that lost in 2018, shifting Malaysia back to an agenda favoring the Malay majority.

Mahathir, 94, hasn't given up: He's revived the alliance with Anwar and the DAP, and said on Sunday he has the numbers to oust Muhyiddin in a confidence vote during the next meeting of parliament, now scheduled for March 9. But even if he manages to quickly return to power, those policy differences in his coalition still remain -- signaling more turbulence ahead either way.

For Malaysia, the political disarray comes at a bad time: The economy is already growing at the slowest pace in a decade, and faces more downside risk as the global coronavirus outbreak disrupts travel and business operations. Malaysia's stock index is one of the world's worst performers since the 2018 election, and the ringgit last week reached the lowest level in two years.

This account of what led to Mahathir's resignation is based on conversations with multiple officials who asked not to be identified talking about private matters.
Cabinet Revamp

The infighting that brought down Mahathir's government had been brewing for months. He had wanted a cabinet revamp since at least November, but the disparate nature of the coalition -- made up of parties with contrasting views, including the multiracial DAP whose top leaders are mostly ethnic Chinese and his own Malay nationalist party -- meant he had to tread carefully or risk dismantling the alliance.

While Mahathir was mainly disappointed with the management of the economy, he could only oust ministers who belonged to his own party to avoid destabilizing the coalition, according to a person familiar with the discussions. One of them was then-Education Minister Maszlee Malik, a member of his Malaysian United Indigenous Party, or Bersatu, who came under fire for pushing policies that appeared to bolster Islamic influence in public education. His termination in January was meant to prod ministers Mahathir couldn't forcibly remove, the person said.

But it made little impact. The PLUS deal was one example: Mahathir's cabinet had invited companies to present bids for the company, which were then evaluated by the ministry of works. Maju Group was so confident it would be approved that it had begun approaching banks for funding, even before a decision was to be made at a Jan. 9 cabinet meeting, two people said. But the DAP opposed it because of Maju Group's track record and its close relationship with Mahathir, a person said.

When the deal eventually collapsed, Maju Group's executive chairman, Abu Sahid Mohamed, called the decision "stupid." Mahathir said the final call came down to PLUS's main shareholders: Khazanah Nasional Bhd. and Employees Provident Fund, both state-owned funds that manage public money.

Maju Group, Abu Sahid, the DAP, former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Mahathir's office didn't respond to requests for comment on the deal. The finance ministry declined to comment.
'All of Them Are Weak'

Other key policy decisions also stalled due to differences in the cabinet. They included how to turn around companies from ailing flag carrier Malaysia Airlines Bhd. to FGV Holdings Bhd, one of the world's largest producers of palm oil.

On Jan. 20, Mahathir made a rare show of frustration in a meeting with journalists, warning his administration could be a one-term government unless it changes.

"They still don't understand," he said. "Instead they fight among themselves, they divide their people and all of them are weak."

As tensions within the cabinet grew, questions again began to surface over succession. Mahathir had repeatedly pushed back the date he planned to step aside for Anwar, who said publicly he expected to become prime minister around May.

Several of Anwar's rivals to the succession saw an opportunity to pounce. Azmin Ali, who was deputy president in Anwar's party, began holding talks with members of the opposition in the former ruling coalition anchored by the United Malays National Organisation, or UMNO. That party includes Najib Razak, who faces charges he denies over a money laundering scandal involving billions of dollars allegedly siphoned from state investment firm 1MDB.
Succession Fight

After a coalition meeting on Feb. 21, Mahathir and coalition leaders announced that he would stay on through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings this year, which are being hosted in Malaysia. He said he retained the authority to decide whether he would step down at all. Anwar concurred and said he would need to be patient.

"There were two opinions, but in the end -- and I'm proud of this -- in the end it was all up to me, whatever I say, they will follow," Mahathir said.

Yet all was not well. Saying he was acting on behalf of Mahathir, Azmin invited lawmakers from across the country that weekend to fly to Kuala Lumpur in a bid to form a new coalition that excluded Anwar, according to people who were present at the event. The Feb. 23 meeting, attended by leaders from across the ruling and opposition coalitions, anticipated announcing a new government shortly, the people said. Some leaders also met with the king that day.

But Mahathir himself didn't attend the meeting, with his media adviser later saying that he didn't agree with Azmin's decision to work with UMNO. Instead, on Feb. 24 he went to the king and submitted his resignation -- a move that automatically dismissed the cabinet. He was then immediately appointed interim prime minister, putting him in the driver's seat to form a new coalition.
Unity Government

In public statements, Mahathir made it clear he wanted a unity government that was non-partisan, making it more likely he would get a cabinet that listens to him. He said he was willing to work with any individual lawmakers in UMNO but not the party as a whole, since it was still associated with Najib and corruption allegations.

"Keeping in mind Mahathir's authoritarian propensity and draconian track record, that sort of unity government is but a few steps away from de facto dictatorship," said Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow with the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. "It could only be viable if he clamps down on dissent as before, and the lack of opposition would regress Malaysia to the dismal oppression of his first term."

The 20 billion ringgit ($4.7 billion) stimulus package Mahathir announced last week while he was interim prime minister reflected the divisions in his coalition. He made significant changes to the package compared with the version submitted earlier by the DAP-controlled finance ministry, said a person familiar with the matter.
Tactics Backfire

Mahathir's tactics ended up backfiring. While many initially supported him to return, soon they were proposing alternative names for prime minister, including Anwar and Muhyiddin, who was president of Bersatu.

After all the chaos, Mahathir now finds himself back with Anwar and the DAP -- but in the opposition rather than running the government. At the same time Muhyiddin's new coalition appears similarly disparate, raising just as many questions about policy direction if it manages to survive Mahathir's no-confidence vote and avoid a snap election.

"There doesn't seem to be a strong sense of ideological direction," Johan Saravanamuttu, an adjunct senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said of Malaysia's new government. "I'm wondering how long that coalition will hold together."


I don't quite agree with that last statement about Muhyiddin's coalition being a disparate one. It is in principle, since it is comprised of different parties but the member parties in his coalition have fewer antagonistic ideological differences, and they are more focused on their common objectives, whether we agree with them or not.
 
Meanwhile, the ringgit has strengthened a bit to RM4.20 to the U.S. dollar,


whilst the U.S. dollar plunged on the U.S. Dollar Currency Index (DXY)


Yours truly

Politi Scheiss