Special Report
Special Report

Post-GE roundup: On a full set, confidence test and leaping frogs

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To help you keep track of GE15 (and of your sanity!), BTL rounds up and distils post-election news, issues and insights, along with all the thrills, spills and tantrums, every week.

A complete set

He took his time but Prime Minister-No-Longer-In-Waiting Anwar Ibrahim finally unveiled his deputy minister lineup.

Elsewhere in this week’s roundup, Anwar now leads his unity government’s nation-building efforts by slicing and dicing previous frills and spending, even with the impending Parliament confidence test hanging over his head. Also, movement in Sabah tests our new anti-frogging law; and, if we’re tightening our belts, why approve yet more moolah for police body cams?!

Lost? Here’s our roundup of last week’s election news!

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All the PM’s (wo)men

 
Not too large, not too small, but just the right size to make Malaysia great again.

OK, actually that last bit’s an exaggeration ‘cos PM10 Anwar Ibrahim’s shiny, shimmery unity cabinet has yet to prove itself. Plus, there’re issues with certain appointments and some appointees’ announcements/remarks/statements (more below).

But by and large, Premier Nuar’s naming late last week of 27 auxiliaries/deputies to complement his 1st team squad of 28 ministers proved that it’s certainly possible to trim the fat (Muhyiddin Yassin and Ibrahim Sabri Yaakob’s cabinets were 70 strong, FYI), slash ministerial salaries, balance competing interests and still deliver a cabinet Malaysians can generally get behind.

To be clear, it’s not all sunshine and roses and rainbows. And critics point especially to big, fat, gaping credibility issues that could possibly, probably, maybe derail Anwar’s grand plans of dominance, like:

  • PM10’s deputy PM picks, specifically with Barisan Nasional boss Ahmad Zahid Hamid’s appointment;

  • Anwar naming himself finance boss and bringing in as deputies a nasi goreng strawberry chef and said chef’s one-time nemesis who both apparently, purportedly lack finance know-how

  • PKR claiming the lion’s share of appointments (8 ministries, including Home, Finance, Education and Health);

  • DAP being given the short end of the stick (just 4 ministers + 6 deputies) despite winning more seats (40) than any other unity gomen party;

  • BN being given way too much leeway (6 ministers + 6 deputies); and,

  • Nuar handing GE15 losers and non-performers important ministerial roles.

Nevertheless, there’s also much that’s positive about the unity cabinet; from greater Sabah and Sarawak representation (6 ministers + 8 deputies) and more women reps than ever before (5 ministers + 8 deputies) to better ethnic diversity.

Of course, it’s early days still, and already we’ve seen confusion about the fate of the old Federal Territories Ministry that didn’t get assigned a minister; and, our Dancing King Tourism Minister not realising until a week after his appointment that his designation is really “Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture“!

So let’s see, shall we, if this is really a cabinet for Anwar’s political survival or an administration that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

...Bodycams for cops are only a small piece of a much larger puzzle to ensure transparency, accountability and best practices among enforcement bodies, better treatment of cops, and, importantly, fewer cases of brutality and custodial deaths."

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Chop, slice and dice


Speaking of trimming, the cabinet isn’t the only thing inglorious leader Anwar’s slashed in size.

From the get-go, our inglorious moneybags minister had made it clear that his focus would be on curtailing spending, plugging waste and improving our cost of living sitch. Heck, he and his new ministers are even walking the talk by taking a 20% pay cut.

Yesterday, though, in his flashiest move yet, Abang Nuar & Co. indicated they’d be immediately terminating all political appointments linked to GLCs, statutory bodies and state-investment funds.

BT-Dubs, if you’re unsure why this is a big deal, this report offers insight on how trigger-happy the past coupla regimes were when it came to political appointments.

Incidentally, this week also saw PM10 speak about rationalising subsidies and making ’em more targeted so that B40 and M40 folks and small business owners and not richie-rich business people benefit.

Also and importantly, while our national head honcho slashes spending (or tries to!), his cabinet mates have also been hard at work:

  • Azalina Othman Said (Law)
  • Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (Home)
    • After angering a tonne of folks (see herehere and here) by defending controversial security law Sosma that allows for detention without trial and which his own Pakatan Harapan coalition once opposed, he’s now said some provision may need a review, just not “at this moment“.

  • Anthony Loke (Transport)
    • The undercover boss has now taken a ride on the KTM Komuter and visited the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS). He’s said he’ll be meeting the management of both to discuss solutions.

    • He’s also seeking weekly maintenance reports from Prasarana and KTMB.

  • Hannah Yeoh (Youth and Sports)
    • Unlike her rough-round-the-edges deputy who’s ruffled feathers over his “corruption in sports bodies” claim, Yeoh’s been meeting with stakeholders and getting ticket prices slashed.

  • Dr Zaliha Mustafa (Health)
    • While her ministry’s aim to gradually work on reducing period poverty is great, the plan to begin by providing free sanitary products at the ministry’s own office in Putrajaya raised more than a few quizzical eyebrows.

  • Fahmi Fadzil (Comms)
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4 frogs a-leaping


It’s been just short of a week but still, the conundrum that is the mass leapfrogging of a whole bunch of Sabah Bersatu leaders — including elected reps — 
out of the party remains.

In particular, the big questions being asked, especially in the case of 4 Sabah Bersatu MPs, are 1) if this runs foul of our shiny, glittery new anti-party-hopping law, which involved amendments to the Federal Constitution, and 2) if by-elections are on the cards?

Now, according to Sabah Bersatu chief Hajiji Nor, the parting of ways was carried out in line with Gabungan Rakyat Sabah’s — that Sabah-based coalition that administrates the state together with BN — pledge to back a PM Anwar gomen and to preserve Sabah’s “interests”.

Yet what’s giving everyone a splitting headache is the claim that the fantastic 4 didn’t contest GE15 on a PN ticket as Bersatu candidates, but rather, that they quit Bersatu before polls and contested under GRS!

Ergo, there’s no need for any froggies to vacate any seats ‘cos there’s no party hopping.

Needless to say, almost everyone has an opinion about the sitch (see herehereherehere and here for examples). But no one knows for sure what’s what! Oy Vey!

Meanwhile, 1 of the 4, de facto Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Minister Armizan Mohd Ali, has insisted that there was no twisting of knives behind Bersatu/PN Bossku Muhyiddin Yassin’s back as, get this, he is still a member of Sabah Bersatu AND a direct member of GRS. This, despite Bersatu having clear rules that prevent double dipping.

Long story short, this is set to be one of the first of many headaches for the new Dewan Rakyat speaker to sort out once she/he is elected when Parli sits on Monday.

Back in session


An election and new gomen mean a new Parliament sesh. And Monday, Dec 19 will see the House open for the 1st Meeting of the 1st Session of the 15th Parliament.

Now, to be clear, school needn’t have started so early (the rules say Parli only needs to be convened 120 days from the date of a dissolution). Yet the lack of a money plan for next year (remember Budget 2023 remains unapproved ‘cos of polls being called) means important gomen payments like civil servant salaries are outstanding. Hence why the current administration’s called for a super short powwow of just 2 days to deal with pressing matters.

But there’s more on the cards too, seeing as how it’s the 1st meet-up post-GE15. So the above aside, we’ll also be treated to:

  • Election of a new Dewan Rakyat Speaker (to replace Azhar Harun, who’ll be heading back to legal practice), and deputies;

  • Swearing in of all 222 shiny new lawmakers; and,

  • A motion of confidence of PM10’s leadership.

To jog your memory, the Federal Constitution grants the YDP Agong power to appoint as PM the person he feels “likely to command the confidence of the majority” in Parliament. As such, His Majesty’s picking of Anwar as inglorious leader on Nov 24 should really have been enough to draw a line under that particular story.

Regrettably, some sore losers (read: MooMoo Yassin and his PN Gang) have continued to question the unity gomen’s legitimacy (see here and here). Which is why the PM’s decided to call for a vote in the Dewan.

Now, given the majority support Anwar’s already received and the scheduled signing of a formal backing by the various parties today, it’s almost certain he’ll secure the minimum 112 votes needed to keep him on that gilded Putrajaya toilet seat. 

Nevertheless, it’s still risky as hell to put himself at the centre of an MP popularity contest.

That being said, for Nuar to lose lotsa fellas who currently claim to support him would have to vote against him. And would anyone really wanna incur the wrath of the King, who’s time and time again repeated that Malaysia needs stability?

Confidence votes aside, in any case, the 2-day Dewan schedule means there’s no time for all the laws tabled and/or passed during the previous sesh in Oct (including that shiny new anti-stalking law) to be brought up again. So the expectation is that those bills along with a new Budget 2023 will be tabled when Parli meets again next year.

Smile, you’re not on body camera!

Yesterday’s Covid-19 sitch —

New cases: 1,161 (Total: 5,014,885)
New actual deaths: *3 (Total: 36,787)
Active cases: 16,811 (ICU: 58)
Double vaxed: 84.3% (Population) 98.3% (Adults) 94% (60++) 91.8% (12-17) 43.4% (5-11) (State breakdown here)
Boosted49.8% (Population) 68.9% (Adults) 71.4% (60++) 1.6% (12-17) 0.1% (5-11)
Double boosted: 1.9%(Population) 2.6% (Adults) 5.4% (60++) — (12-17) — (5-11)
*Numbers could change as gomen updates dat

So Hamzah 2.0 Homeboy Saifuddin announced on Tuesday that his gomen have approved a big chunk of change — specifically RM30mil — for body-mounted cameras for police officers.

Now, no deets have been given as to whether this sum will be enough to source bodycams for all of the Royal Malaysian Police’s (PDRM) finest or how soon the officers will get to play Chloé Zhao/Steven Spielberg. Even so, Saifuddin claimeth that the procurement process is underway and that he’s asked for it to be expedited.

Great. Super. Fantastic.

But if you feel like you’ve seen this particular black cat before, you’re right! This isn’t the 1st Malaysian gomen team to have announced grand plans for outfitting our po-pos with bodycams.

The same thing was declared by the PN-BN gomen last year (also RM30mil for 2040 live-streamable units!), and by PH in 2019. Also, the Malaysian Auxiliary Police briefly used bodycams with facial recognition (for realsies) under BN in 2018 and something else was tested as far back as 2015. 

Yet over 7 years and 5 gomens later, we’ve seemingly nothing to show for the millions approved/spent. (*Continues below)

So perhaps an audit/probe would be more appropriate before we channel any more taxpayer moolah from our significantly reduced coffers?

Also, as we’ve pointed out before, bodycams for cops are only a small piece of a much larger puzzle to ensure transparency, accountability and best practices among enforcement bodies, better treatment of cops, and, importantly, fewer cases of brutality and custodial deaths.

Also, also, 1) there is the lack of a toothsome police oversight body such as the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission. In fact, the much-watered-down Independent Police Conduct Commission only comes into force mid-next year.

2) Other enforcement officers, such as immigration officers, should also be kitted out. (On that note, the Health Ministry has announced its own plan to provide bodycams for its enforcement officers, albeit without providing a detailed SOP.)

3) As this ex-MP questioned, why are there no CCTVs in lockups nationwide? Considering, you know, as the plan has been in motion, at least for the installation of CCTVs in police lockups, since forever (see here and here).

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving."

#QOTD by Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

International

  • The UK’s much-vaunted National Healthcare System went into crisis mode yesterday as as many as 100,000 nurses went on strike over falling pay and declining standards.

  • The US has released some 13k unedited files on the murder of slain POTUS John F. Kennedy. The release means that more than 97% of records are now publicly available.

  • Tennis legend Boris Becker has been released from prison in the UK after serving just 8 months of a 2-and-a-half-year sentence for bankruptcy-related charges. He’s been deported to Germany. 

  • The Cambridge Dictionary has expanded its definition of the words “man” and “woman” to include transgender people to reflect the evolving language around gender. 

Finally! A newsletter that keeps it nice and short.

At Between the Lines, we summarise and contextualise the most important Malaysian news for you.

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