Tun Mahathir is once again Prime Minister of Malaysia, and he still gave a vintage performance at today’s Press Conference. I think judging from his appearance, it was obvious that the election had given him an extra gear as he was amazed about the support he received during this campaign – a level of support he had never seen before in his entire political career spanning about 7 decades.
The press conference had several themes that should be considered in more detail.
The first is the massive support Pakatan Harapan has among the press corps. The press corps were enthusiastically cheering Tun when the live coverage of his swearing in ceremony was transmitted on RTM.
Some of them had told The Rembau Times that the previous Government’s attempt to control stories and keep on attacking the Opposition was another factor in making people sick of BN. BN’s campaign strategy was the worst in living memory as the people heading it were too arrogant to see how badly the BN brand was perceived. Tun wryly admitted that Pakatan Harapan lost the poster war flat, but what mattered were winning the votes.
The second theme is the capital markets. Tun reiterated that the idea of a pro-business Government did not suddenly appear during the previous Government, but was mooted a long time ago under the concept of Malaysia Incorporated. Tun also expressed the hope that the Ringgit will recover and he had positive comments on the stock market.
The key point Tun mentioned which was very important is about the state of the Government finances. He described it as being very bad, and even revealed that he will not be surprised if the actual total debt liability currently exceeds RM 1 trillion. I think the figure is about right , plus or minus RM 50 billion.
This is an extremely important observation because it affects the Bond Market.
There are some positives because Tun has already set the expectation that there will be full disclosure, and the figure will be quite high. But the good thing is that Tun said in response to a question from the press that the Government will be looking to reduce the Federal Debt. The Rembau Times feels that the election is a net credit positive event, if the transition is managed properly and there are key people are in EPU, JPM and BNM, but unfortunately, expect volatility.
The third is the cleaning up process that is going to happen very soon.
During yesterday’s Press Conference at around midnight, eventhough at that point Pakatan Harapan had already secured the mandate from the voters, the protective bubble had not yet enveloped Tun Mahathir because it was with Najib. At that time, the EC was seen to be trying its best to stall the release of the election results. It was a travesty of public office and the it is a given that the current Election Commission Chairman’s cranium should be considered as belonging to the “certain heads will fall” category.
However, by 4.00 pm today, the elements of the protective bubble had already formed and the signs of the transfer of power had begun to take shape.
That would include the Volvo SUV and the two black cars to its left. This is the official escort detail of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. During the press conference, Tun is now escorted by high ranking police officers and other members of UTK armed with submachine guns.
Catch the culprits
Dato Seri Mukhriz said it point blank – the people want the culprits in scandals like 1MDB brought to justice. Importantly, even though the previous Prime Minister tweeted about calling on Tun to help in his transition, he should expect no favours.
Tun also said that the Pakatan Harapan Government will track down stolen money and I believe there is no shortage of forensice accounting talent available to the PH Government. Jho Low was also mentioned during the press conference. An Interpol Red Notice should be issued for his arrest in the next few days.
There will be a lot of getting adjusting to, especially for members of the previous kleptocratic regime. They are out of power, there is no backdoor way to gain it back. They will have to answer for their abuse, especially during the Najib years when it was the worst ever seen. They have previously insulted the public, thinking that they will always be in power. However they must now realise that during tomorrow’s Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting, it will not be chaired by the Chairman of Pakatan Harapan but by the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Quote of the day:
"Change does not happen from within. It only happens when you hold people accountable." - YB Syed Saddiq, MP of Muar
And yes, he is a reader of The Rembau Times.