And yet, horse-trading and behind-the-scenes jostling for Cabinet posts have already begun.
Bersatu, with the largest slice of 31 votes, are hinting that Muhyiddin should become a “minister mentor” or something similar. Former senior minister Azmin Ali who commands an important faction of Bersatu that defected from PKR will also want a role.
Ismail must also manage Bersatu’s expressed condition to disqualify candidates with outstanding trial cases from Cabinet positions.
The court cluster of Ismail’s party would minimally push for their corruption charges to be reduced or even quashed.
The GPS group of parties from Sarawak will also want its pound of flesh. They may demand the position of deputy prime minister when there was much talk of GPS initially supporting PH and Anwar for the top job.
Ismail must play his cards right for he also faces the potential wrath of a Malaysian public who have suffered much under the government’s mismanagement of the pandemic. He knows there is an online petition rejecting him as prime minister with allegedly more than 350,000 Malaysian signatures.
His early move to invite the opposition to play a role in the National Recovery Council seeking to build bridges and co-opt bipartisan support is welcomed.
The key issue he will have to grapple with is whether he can fix UMNO’s broken politics while not appearing to be genuflecting to president Zahid Hamidi and former president Najib Razak, both of whom face egregious corruption charges.
Source: Channel News Asia