By Raggie Jessy
On April 6, 2018 – just a little over a week ago – I made an entry into The Third Force that some of you may have missed. It was the day Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad shocked the entire nation by announcing that all political parties in Pakatan Harapan (PH) would field candidates under the PKR banner during the 14th general election (GE14).
The entry was as follows (in italics):
Section 11(2) of the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 stipulates the following:
Referring to clauses 2(c) and 2(d) and with reference to the yet-to-be-approved Pakatan Harapan pact (meaning, the pact is illegal insofar as the Registrar of Societies (RoS) is concerned), the following applies:
1. It is illegal for all factions involved in electoral contests during the upcoming 14th general election (GE14) to reference any candidate seen associating himself (or herself) with the unofficial Pakatan Harapan (hereinafter referred to as “PH”) pact as a PH candidate during the official campaign period.
Let’s pause here for a moment.
Now, at the time of posting – and this is true – I was seated next to two constitutional lawyers, both of whom were privy to matters related to the conduct of elections in Malaysia. Just so that you know, these guys drove all the way up north from Kuala Lumpur on the invitation of a third lawyer – a dear friend of mine – who invited these guys to brainstorm the implications that the de-registration of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) by the RoS would have on GE14.
The lawyers were aware of this.
As we sat discussing, we agreed on two things – first, that the point numbered one (above) was valid, and second, that it would be an offence for even the caretaker Barisan Nasional (BN) government to refer to opposition candidates as PH candidates. Under the circumstances that this is still happening, the practice has to come to an end the minute the Election Commission (EC) locks in the official list of candidates on nomination day.
But that isn’t nearly as riveting as what we agreed upon next.
After much deliberation and careful consideration, we unanimously agreed – in no uncertain terms – that there was no reason for the EC not to allow candidates from the DAP or Amanah or even independent candidates from the now defunct PPBM to contest using the PKR logo if the PKR leadership allowed it. However, we also agreed that the EC would need to make absolutely clear – so as not to contradict and/or violate clauses 2(b), 2(c) and 2(d) of the Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 – that candidates who were not members of PKR but were using the party logo could not refer to themselves as “PKR candidates.”
Under the circumstances, should people like Lim Kit Siang or Lim Guan Eng refer to themselves as “PKR candidates” post-nomination, they may be disqualified by the EC from contesting the election on the sole contention of “attempting to confuse the electorate.” Now that we’ve cleared that up, let us move on to points numbered three and six in the Friday article (in blue):
3. Considering that Chow Kon Yeow declared that use of the PKR logo for GE14 by various quarters who are referring to themselves as “PH candidates” did not necessarily mean they were joining PKR, we can assume that Chow meant either of the following (in orange):
a) that all candidates who aren’t already PKR members will contest as independents, or
b) that some candidates who aren’t already PKR members will contest as PKR members, while others who aren’t already PKR members will either contest as independents or contest as members of parties they already represent
6. (Assuming b to be true), there will be the question of whether or not we can expect some candidates from the DAP to join PKR, and whether or not these candidates will relinquish their membership from the DAP before hopping over to PKR
Under normal circumstances, any Tom, Dick and Harry would tell you that this cannot be the case, as a DAP candidate would never relinquish his (or her) membership in the party to join the predominantly-Malay PKR. But circumstances surrounding the upcoming general election are anything but normal. If they were normal, Chow would not have hesitated to spell out – in no uncertain terms – that DAP candidates had no intention of leaving the Chinese chauvinist concern.
But he didn’t.
The reason being, he is said to have been offered the Penang Chief Minister’s post by PKR president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (Jijah). A very reliable and well-placed source from Komtar revealed to The Third Force yesterday – on condition of anonymity, of course – that the Padang Kota assemblyman was told he would be offered the state’s top job assuming that PKR wrests Penang from the DAP and Putrajaya from Barisan Nasional.
Question is, is Jijah authorized to make Chow such an offer?
Well, why not?
As Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) himself highlighted, the PKR chief will be the one signing the surat Watikah Perlantikan for all DAP, Amanah and ex-PPBM candidates. More than that, she will be the one to command majority support in parliament assuming that PKR does win the general election. Under the circumstances, it is she who will be most qualified to assume the role of Prime Minister and decide who becomes the next Chief Minister of Penang.
Now, the fact that Jijah has every intention of becoming the seventh Malaysian premier is clearly reflected in the coded message she sent Mahathir yesterday. According to news reports, she made no bones about the possibility of there being a commission to probe the former premier assuming PKR wrests control of Putrajaya. Do make note, however, that her statement stood in stark contrast to the one highlighted by The Sydney Morning Herald on the 25th of March 2018.
On that day, the Aussie daily held that Mahathir’s leadership of PH “made political sense” as it showed “how bad the situation is that the former prime minister who actually handpicked Datuk Seri [Najib] as prime minister” was seeking to oust him. The paper was quoting Jijah herself, a lady who many now believe agreed to a Mahathir-led government just to con the former premier into contesting under the PKR banner and foregoing PPBM’s “Malay centric agenda.”
Yes, perhaps Mahathir was dead sure that Jijah would keep her end of the bargain and agree that he be made Prime Minister. But now that the former premier is contesting using the PKR logo, there is nothing stopping Jijah from exacting revenge on her husband’s jailer by demanding that post for herself. That is to say, there is nothing stopping her from entering strategic ‘partnerships’ with DAP and Amanah candidates to ensure that these candidates support her for the role of Prime Minister.
And all along, we thought she was a headless chicken. – The Third Force
* The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Malaysia Outlook.