'Clean Cabinet' Challenge Stokes Growing Crisis

'Clean Cabinet' Challenge Stokes Growing Crisis

The continuing lonely status of PM8 says it all.

UMNO and PAS political sharks were only to pleased to exploit the tensions and suspicions within the former majority ruling coalition, culminating in a coup by malcontents. However, now the shoe is on the other foot.

PM8 has been attempting to justify his reliance on a rump of crooks and extremists from those two parties by claiming he will only appoint the ‘clean’ characters among them to be their face in government. He was himself an exile from this corruption, after all, elected on that basis.

However, the ‘Clean Cabinet’ proposal has not been going down well, unsurprisingly. That and the ugly rivalry of former political enemies now testing an alliance of mere convenience, explains the failure after ten whole days to appoint a single minister to start governing the country. PM8 has meanwhile (probably illegally) sought to prorogue parliament, which would have tested his dubious numbers.

Instead, the country has been treated to a chaotic weekend spectacle where these unsavoury characters have started to attack each other in the scramble for top jobs. Some honeymoon.

As the sidelined PM7, Dr Mahathir observed, PM8 has seated himself on a tiger that is now showing its teeth and claws.

The public side of the ‘fun’ started when PAS’s Hadi Awang raised the expectation that he should be Deputy Prime Minister.  PM8 knows that if Hadi is appointed DPM it will be reported by the rest of the world that Malaysia is now a none too steady heartbeat away from being taken over by a ‘Turbaned Taliban’ regime – transforming the country from a progressing democracy into an extremist hotspot in the eyes of many of Malaysia’s main trading allies within a fortnight.

Meanwhile, UMNO’s Zahid Hamidi is also aware that the role of DPM to a man who has been receiving chemotherapy presents a highly powerful prospect. Yet, PM8 has made clear that none of the raft of charged kleptocrats should grace his Cabinet, let alone this leading role, for the same reason.

Zahid has therefore finally announced that, after a week of wrangling, he is ‘happy’ to step out of contention until he has ‘cleared his name’. However, his ambitious followers have immediately proven to be less happy on his behalf. They have also inevitably pointed out several times that theirs is the largest entity in this group of minority and breakaway parties and they expect to drive the new agenda.

By Sunday night the mud-slinging had really started to get brutal. If Zahid is too dirty to be in the cabinet then how about PM8’s key fellow plotter, the PKR deserter Azmin Ali, UMNO’s Puad Zarkash lashed out that evening?

Puad was of course referring to a highly embarrassing sex video that has circulated for the past year, which the former colleagues of Azmin refused to prosecute him over. After all, Azmin’s former colleagues are progressive and Malaysia’s existing sodomy laws are not. Expected charges had not been pressed against Azmin, on controversial grounds relating to identification that many viewers of the tape would consider better tested in the courts.

UMNO’s early willingness to reference the dreaded sex tape as a reason why Azmin should not be in the ‘Clean Cabinet’ either should therefore serve as a chilling reminder (should he have ever needed it) of the nature of the beast that Azmin and his fellow PH deserters have chosen to get on top of.

UMNO warlords have used sodomy accusations to dispense with their main rivals with ruthless effectiveness for years. How the likes of Puad and Najib Razak would have relished the sort of evidence this widely viewed ‘Azmin’ video provides, compared to the flimsy evidence they used against Anwar!

But it is not just Azmin who is in danger of the cold bucket of water treatment as PM8 seeks to play ‘holier than thou’ in a circle of exposed and hardened political crooks. Muhyiddin’s own former allies have been scrambling all week to unearth the more unsavoury side of his various decision making deals in a decades long career. Disgruntled and sidelined power-brokers in UMNO can be guaranteed to be looking all the harder.

And as for sex, PM8 was cited in a recent divorce case as many will remember. The indelicate matter was pushed under the carpet out of respect for a political warhorse who opposed 1MDB and is now recovering from illness. Will the now increasingly resentful tigers of UMNO and PAS choose to leave it there, along with a still extant Statutory Declaration on the matter, if PM8 proves awkward about their cabinet opportunities?

Indeed, finding even half a dozen good men from amongst the high living clerics, sullied senior politicians and Sarawak tycoons who now make up the backbone of PM8’s political support, let alone an entire cabinet worth, is probably in itself an insurmountable challenge for PM8.

And that is before he even starts to try to get the rest of his ugly new colleagues to accept these such characters as bosses over them.  Suggestions that the much recycled relic Tengku Razaleigh should be dug up for that contested DPM post have been met with howls of laugher and derision on various sides.

So, good luck is needed for the promised PM8’s ‘Clean Cabinet’ announcement.*

[Updated – is has been announced later today, Monday]

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