Who needs political satire when you have Moo And His Men?
The real life episodes which have been brought back to the Malaysian parliamentary theatre after a lengthy absence, owing to ‘Covid’ (cue laughter and jeers) surpass anything that a Bremner Bird & Fortune, Bill Meyer or Barry Humphries could have dreamt up after a lifetime on the job.
Each time Speaker Art Harun offers his latest twist of contorted logic to explain why parliamentarians are neither being allowed to debate nor vote watchers are left on tenterhooks, wondering if he will suddenly cast off his fancy kopiah and cape, issue a wide grin and assure us he was just performing another skit from his past existence ….. as a political satirist!
Sadly not. It seems that Art had not been providing entertainment as we thought, but merely practising for his turn. Ludicrous and outrageous he continues to be, but it is no longer funny in the least.
Likewise, the ‘hilarious’ contributions of his fellow performance artists setting out the government position this week. They have pontificated nonsensical interpretations of the Constitution day after day, contradicting themselves and each other, often within the same sentence.
Topping the performance table was the ‘professor’ from Saratok, Ali Biju, who gravely lectured on some astonishing ‘conventions under the Westminster democratic system’ which many suspect he may have picked up from FIFA by mistake, instead of Erskine May.
According to this political frog (who has admitted he was bribed to defect, why not?) it is quite normal for the parliamentary game to be suspended when it suits the government of the day and that this later allows for ‘extra time’ when it comes to holding the election!
Therefore, since Moo wasn’t scoring a majority and halted the federal parliament for several months, Ali Biju has assured Sarawak state electors that the local DUN’s five year constitutional limit can be automatically extended for the self-same period (the two parliaments must be in the same league).
With a tactic like that available to hand, one wonders how other Westminster model governments get around to holding elections ever?
Which brought us to this morning’s advanced segment on Constitutional Contortionism provided by Art Harun. The reason why there was no need for Parliament to debate or vote on the grave State of Emergency (or in this case its revocation) was simple he explained. It is because the article in the Constitution merely states the matter must be ‘laid’ before Parliament.
The Constitution follows on to say, pointedly, that such an emergency “shall cease to have effect if resolutions are passed by both Houses annulling such Proclamation or ordinance”.
Yet, Art Harun is refusing to allow Parliament to vote on such a resolution because the Constitution says ‘laid’ not ‘tabled’. Now that is a truly expert reversal of the spirit of the law through quibbling over meaning if there ever was one (amazed awe and applause?).
As for the fact that the Leader of the Opposition has exercised his right to demand a Vote of No Confidence, well Art Harun has refused to ‘table’ that one either, despite the genuine convention (see Erskine May) that such a request must ALWAYS be granted and as speedily as possible by the Speaker and the government of the day.
It was at this point that an unexpected turn of events revived drooping MPs and sent flagging audiences racing back their mobile phone screens. After three and a half days of so much exasperating nonsense and cod semantics the ‘Referee’ (whom most of the country was starting to frankly consider biased) at last cried foul.
A Red Card for lying was issued by the Palace, proving to already baffled and suspicious ‘law-makers’ (cue groans and wry laughs) that the ‘Law’ Minister Takiyuddin Hassan had been lying through his teeth on Monday when he sought to prevent a debate on PN’s sudden surprise ‘Emergency Revocation’ (for which read cave-in) by saying it had already been agreed to by the Agong. Also plainly lying in this case had been Moo himself, who had promised the King he would hold a debate and allow the vote, then didn’t – he had instead sat next to Takiyuddin nodding as he lied.
What a dramatic and surprising turn that was. Just as events had started to become predictable and boring given the repetitive lies and flouting of the rules by the alleged ruling majority PN coalition (who would rather slit their throats than test their claim as demanded by the constitution).
What can you do when the rules no longer matter after all? Well, alleged bias can go just so far, even in a skewed match it seems. The King had moved to check the madness, clearly fearing a collapse of confidence altogether.
Naturally, anyone with an ounce of Parliamentary political understanding assumed the game was now up for Moo. What could a politician do under such circumstances but the dignified thing and resign gracefully? Anwar agreed, Mahathir agreed, Zahid agreed, even Najib agreed (except he still wants PN to ‘govern’). But, where was Moo, was he even still alive to accept defeat?
It was no surprise in fact that after three whole days of Parliament this year the PM was anywhere but at the Dewan Rakyat by Thursday afternoon. After all, this is no longer where politics is done in PN’s Malaysia.
The Speaker had also wandered off and so of course had the lying Takiyuddin and most ministers to boot. The panicking Deputy Speaker announced a ‘short’ suspension after the Agong’s words of condemnation hit the Chamber (toilet break for PN members?) then extended the delay, and then extended it still further.
Ministers meanwhile raced to Moo’s mansion (for there he was) to work out what to do (maskless the lot of them). Eventually, these ‘ruling decision-makers’ announced Parliament would be suspended altogether … owing to ‘Covid’ of course (cue groans of utter disgust, boos and jeers).
It was at that moment when the joker became a snarling tiger. Holed up in his corner, exposed for betraying his commitment to the King by the King himself and facing the fury of the people’s representatives Moo rounded on Malaysia’s very Head of State to whom he had lied to get his appointment in the first place (once a liar always a liar as the saying goes). He ticked off the King!
It was not for the King of Malaysia to denounce him as an unelected minority prime minister for telling porkies and refusing to allow Parliament to vote on a State of Emergency that has rocked the nation, announced Moo in a Statement of Defiance that will go down in history without a doubt.
Do we need to remember the man is sick and give him a bit of slack?
No, because Art Harun and his bro the AG were clearly both embroiled in this joke statement, as were the line up of greedy clerics, defecting opportunists, blackmailed criminals and other ne’er do wells, whom Moo had drafted into his Cabinet as part of his Blueprint for Bribery following his nifty backdoor coup as Covid struck.
Over-promoted deputy defector Ismail Sabri says these add up to 110 (he is hovering to replace Moo) but they do not if they don’t even include Najib, Zahid and all their crowd. It is exactly why PN dare not have a vote of any kind and the country has been subjected to all these months of growing farce amidst corrupt incompetence, death and destruction.
So, Moo achieved guffaws, but only of amazement, outrage and exasperation, as he released his treatise lecturing the King on his job to take the advice of an unelected minority prime minister and his bloated cabinet of bribed defectors and convicted conmen and not to question their decisions.
Certainly it is not for the mere King to urge a very large cabinet like Moo’s to prove they have the support of Parliament, by testing it with a vote according to the Constitution of Malaysia. Azmin, Hamzah and the others know what to do with a whole weekend to buy votes by Monday after all.
Do Moo And His Men really think they can get away with it? Now that would certainly give them the last laugh in this Putrajaya Pantomime. However, the impending cacophony of horns blaring and pots banging around Malaysia will sound nothing like applause over this weekend.