Phew, it’s been an eventful week – but as they say, you ain’t seen nothing yet! The way I see it, Abdullah is fighting a rear-guard battle to save himself – and the ruling coalition.
Let’s see what his administration has been doing to try and keep the rakyat happy:
- dishing out rebates to ease pain of subsidy removal (the pain is still there-lah)
- approval for Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s application for registration (finally!)
- allowing Harakah to increase its frequency to twice a week (Take that, Mahathir! The former PM had cut it down to twice a month after doing badly in the 1999 general election.)
- planning to launch a crackdown on migrants in Sabah (uh-oh, more human rights abuses?)
- lifting restrictions on journalists in the parliamentary lobby (talk about the BN shooting itself in the foot, in the first place, by restricting its own media!)
- shutting down Kamunting Detention Camp (oh, sorry, not yet… just wishful thinking for now … akan datang…)
… and so on. But no matter what he does, it appears that many Malaysians have had enough – the reforms and concessions don’t go far enough – and cracks are beginning to show. For now, he has plugged the leaking dyke with his finger. But I dare say it won’t be long before other cracks emerge from the sheer force of the current of discontent.
Here’s something I was working on for Asia Times the last couple of days.
More cracks in Abdullah’s crumbling facade
By Anil Netto
These are trying times for Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, who after a sub-par showing in the March general elections now faces opposition both from inside and outside his Barisan Nasional (BN) ruling coalition.
Many political analysts speculate his administration will not last the year as the opposition Pakatan Rakyat alliance ramps up its efforts to either poach parliamentarians from the BN into its camp or secure a no-confidence vote in parliament.
The latest blow to coalition unity came on June 18, when two parliamentarians from the Sabah Progressive Party (SPP), a small coalition member from the north Borneo state of Sabah, said they would support a planned no-confidence motion on June 23 against the prime minister. Such a no-confidence motion would have required advance notice and in the end, no vote was put to the house. Full article