Some may not realize that during the period of MCO (movement control order), there has been a quiet – but lethal – competition between two senior ministers to prove their leadership and legitimacy. The two senior ministers were Minister of International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali and Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. Mr. Azmin is from Bersatu and Mr. Sabri is one of UMNO warlords.
When the backdoor Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced his Cabinet, his Bersatu party greedily gobbled up 2 of 4 Senior Minister posts. On top of that, the premier had also announced that while the four senior ministers are all “equal”, Azmin will chair Cabinet meetings whenever he is absent. That was as good as saying that Azmin is the de-facto Deputy Prime Minister.
Azmin, who had not only toppled his own Pakatan Harapan government, but also betrayed his own party PKR to join Bersatu after a political coup, is easily the most hated politician in the country. In fact, people hate him more than UMNO crooks Najib Razak and Zahid Hamidi combined. And the voters can’t wait for the next general election to teach the biggest traitor a lesson.
Of all the UMNO talents and warlords, “turtle egg” Ismail Sabri Yaakob was deliberately chosen as the representative of UMNO for one of four Senior Ministers. Hence, it’s not an exaggeration to say that among the 3 vice presidents of UMNO (Ismail Sabri, Mahdzir Khalid and Khaled Nordin), Ismail Sabri is the dumbest. But that was the plan by Muhyiddin all along.
So when Ismail Sabri kept screwing up with all his silly lockdown rules, it was to be expected. People didn’t expect much from him, who was caught savouring protected turtle eggs in 2015 but insisted he had only eaten fish. In fact, in comparison to Doraemon Minister Rina Mohd Harun and “500 countries” Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, Mr. Ismail Sabri looks like a gem.
Azmin Ali, who was caught with his pants down enjoying gay sex at Four Points Sheraton Hotel Sandakan, Sabah, thought he could easily prove himself as a better leader than Ismail Sabri. Unlike Ismail, the gay minister hadn’t given press conference as frequently as his competitor. He thought if he kept it to the minimum, the chances of him making mistakes will be lesser as well.
However, when he finally held a press conference on April 10 to allow several economic sectors to operate in phases, including barber shops, it was a disaster. Azmin was mocked, insulted, laughed and ridiculed for his stupidity and foolishness. The next day, interestingly, it was Ismail Sabri who had to come to his rescue, while PM Muhyiddin was nowhere to be found.
Defence Minister Ismail Sabri said the International Trade and Industry Ministry will be looking into the views of the people on the proposal to allow hair salons to restart business during the lockdown. Yes, it was so bad that Azmin had hidden himself while Ismail Sabri basically took over as the spokesperson of the former’s own ministry. Essentially, it means turtle egg Sabri was better than gay Azmin.
But it was not his first screw-up since his betrayal. When Muhyiddin announced that all Malaysians aged 55 and below were allowed to withdraw up to RM500 monthly from their EPF Account-2 for a period over 12 months to buy essential goods, Azmin Ali scrambled to be the first in line to trumpet the “good news” – only to be condemned by people who said it was their own money in the first place.
On May 1, backdoor PM Muhyiddin dropped a bombshell, just 7 days after his announcement of a lockdown extension for the third time (from April 28 to May 12). He declared that the country will reopen for business effective May 4, in what appeared to be a hastily made decision. Stunningly, 9 out of the country’s 13 states have opted not to follow the federal government’s instruction.
Besides states controlled by opposition Pakatan Harapan namely Selangor, Kedah, Negeri Sembilan, Penang and Sabah, surprisingly, other states ruled by Muhyiddin’s allies – Kelantan, Pahang, Sarawak and Perak – have similarly ignored the order allowing businesses to reopen, arguing that due to public safety, they would not rush to implement the new rules yet.
Obviously, the disobedience demonstrated by the nine states speaks volumes that not only the backdoor PM Muhyiddin commands very little respect and trust, but also faces rebellion from his own “Malay only” Perikatan Nasional government comprising Bersatu, UMNO and PAS. Under pressure to save his boss’ dignity, Azmin has recklessly threatened to sue state governments over non-compliance.
Sure, what could possibly go wrong with slapping lawsuits against partners in the state of Kelantan, Pahang, Sarawak and Perak? UMNO warlord and former chief minister of Johor, Mohamed Khaled Nordin, has openly pointed his finger at Muhyiddin’s top boy – Azmin Ali – for failing to get a consensus from all state governments before announcing the new rules to reopen businesses.
Apparently in a National Security Council meeting on April 28 with all the Menteri Besar and the Chief Minister, the “federal government” did not care to consult all the state governments on its “big bang” approach to lift the lockdown. Not even an SOP (standard operating procedure) was ready when Muhyiddin suddenly appeared on the TV and bulldozed his plan.
The arrogant Azmin seemed to have had tried flexing his muscles by forcing everyone in the meeting room to obediently follow his order, but backfired spectacularly. It was an attempt to show his power, but rejected by almost everyone, including his allies. Incredibly panicked, now the incompetent man, who acts as if he was the U.S. president, warns and intimidates state governments with legal action.
Instead of barking unnecessarily, the Minister of International Trade and Industry should reveal under which law that he wishes to sue the state governments. The Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) or its regulations (2005) does not empower the federal government to order industries in states to reopen.
Complicating matters, some local authorities have the power to prohibit, regulate and control licensing or any occupation, trade, business and industry that is likely to be injurious and dangerous to the health. An example is the Sabah’s Public Health Ordinance (PHO) 1960 which says the Borneo state can activate its own preventive measures to deal with the spread of infectious disease.
Regardless, UMNO should give a face to the prime minister. Instead, PM Muhyiddin was humiliated. His most trusted lieutenant Azmin was attacked by UMNO Vice President Mohamed Khaled Nordin, someone who is neither a member of parliament nor state assemblymen. To add insult to injury, leaders of the allies – UMNO president and PAS president – keep their elegant silence.
At best, it shows an internal power struggle within the “Malay only” government to claim the legitimacy of the de-facto Deputy Prime Minister slot. At worst, it shows none of the allies (UMNO and PAS) have any respect for Muhyiddin Yassin. Exactly how could Khaled Nordin be allowed to openly insult the country’s second most powerful man?
In the same breath, it was also a slap in the face for Mahathir Mohamad, who shamelessly protected his blue-eyed boy Azmin despite his gay sex scandal. Heck, even after Azmin had betrayed the 94-year-old man, former premier Mahathir was not offended – suggesting that both Muhyiddin and Azmin were part of his chess pieces in his endgame to rejoin UMNO.
But based on the latest melodrama, the mega merger of UMNO and Bersatu might have hit an obstacle. Even if UMNO warlords and grassroots were willing to accept the return of Muhyiddin and Mahathir, largely due to the consideration that both individuals are reaching the end of their lifespan, they have shown their disgust for an outsider Azmin to share power and position in the government.
Source : Finance Twitter