DAP Predicts Ismail Sabri Won’t Be PM After GE15

Ismail Sabri, having allegedly made unforgiveable blunders before and after dissolution of Parliament, can’t be Prime Minister after GE15!

Interestingly, according to the media, DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang boldly predicts that Ismail Sabri won’t be Prime Minister after GE15 on Sat 19 Nov 2022. Ironically, the man himself doesn’t believe that he will be Barisan Nasional (BN) poster boy, claims self-proclaimed mind reader Lim, on the grounds that Umno President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was entering the fray as well.

The DAP strongman’s interference in Umno affairs drew no criticisms this time from party diehards as they looked the other way and buat tak tahu (pretended not to know).

Patently, Umno isn’t too happy with vice president Ismail Sabri who has been booed by party members once too often.

He refused to replace Attorney General (AG) Idrus Harun and sent the political temperature up. The AG’s departure would have ended all political cases initiated by dictatorial Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad after GE14 on Wed 9 May 2018. Also, a new AG would mean delayed GE15 until Sept next year, thereby in fact prolonging Ismail Sabri’s stay as Prime Minister. By late next year, he may be politically stronger, even formidable, if push comes to shove.

Ismail Sabri, before becoming caretaker Prime Minister, saw dropping political cases as interfering with the judiciary. The AG remains part of the government. He has nothing to do with the judiciary.

Mud on the Face for Ismail Sabri

He also created another blunder which saw him getting mud on the face after Indonesia rebuffed Malaysia’s suggestion that Bahasa Malaysia, under the guise of Bahasa Melayu, be adopted as Asean’s 2nd official language i.e. after English which has a million words, a billion if extended words are included. The 40K word Bahasa Malaysia isn’t the national language under Article 152. Bahasa Melayu has only 20K words.

All this didn’t discourage Ismail Sabri from speaking in Bahasa Malaysia before a virtually deserted Hall at the recent UN General Assembly. He also penned newly-appointed British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak a long letter of congratulations in Bahasa Malaysia. It isn’t clear whether there was any translation in English attached.


Earlier, the media reported that civil servants were threatened with dire consequences if they didn’t abandon the English language completely.

The anglophile Sarawak government, in openly rebuking the Federal government on the language issue, indignantly swore that they would not follow “the stupid Bahasa policy”.

English is the language of the court in Sabah and Sarawak, in the Territorial Assemblies alongside Bahasa, in Parliament among MPs from the Borneo Territories, in the superior courts in Malaya and public universities in Malaysia. However, students in public universities may answer exam papers and undertake assignments in Bahasa. It’s said that the best Bahasa speakers in Malaysia are in Sabah. Everyone uses Bahasa Sabah, a local variation, even at home.

Washed Hands on Pardon

In the “father and mother of all blunders”, Ismail Sabri publicly washed his hands on Immediate Pardon for former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. He repeated the Mantra that the government cannot interfere with the judiciary. Pardon comes within the Agong’s discretion which isn’t law at all and therefore nonjusticiable. The court has no jurisdiction on discretion i.e. it’s not a matter for judicial consideration and resolution. The court of law is only about law. It can’t deliberate on what’s not law.

If the Prime Minister can’t recommend Pardon, whether immediate or delayed, Najib faces the grim prospects of remaining behind bars for at least four years i.e. half the actual time he must serve before Pardon can be granted.

On paper contrary to public perceptions, all prisoners are eligible for Pardon, after serving the minimum time required. Najib was jailed on Tues 23 Aug 2022, unrepresented, for 12 years. He need serve only two thirds of this sentence i.e. eight years after discounting for good behaviour, weekends and public holdays. In case of Pardon, he can be freed after four years.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was pardoned upon recommendation by Mahathir. Obviously, Ismail Sabri fails on the Anwar Pardon as precedent for Najib.

Judge Nazlan

There’s no doubt that Ismail Sabri, as Prime Minister after GE15, will prevent the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) from acting against Judge Nazlan. The Judge, who stood recused, convicted Najib despite being in a “conflict of interest” situation on the RM42m SRC International case. There were also jurisdictional and constitutional issues which were never raised in the High Court.

link here . . .

The headline says it all …

Hence, assuming BN wins GE15, it’s inconceivable that Ismail Sabri would remain as Prime Minister. It’s not rocket science. Based on all the known alleged blunders and many kept under wraps, he probably can’t even be Poster Boy for GE15. Lim Kit Siang hits a bulls eye there. No one in Umno has revealed the post-GE15 truth that awaits Ismail Sabri.

Umno may be making grave strategic errors if it touts the caretaker PM as Poster Boy for GE15 and PM candidate.

Grave Strategic Errors

In hindsight, the BN made grave strategic error when it did not stand by Najib after GE14 to be Prime Minister. He had the largest number of seats in Parliament and the benefit of incumbency. He could have been invited first by the Agong, based on convention in the Commonwealth, on forming the government and winning a vote of confidence in Parliament. Mahathir had only 12 parliamentary seats if a Bersatu friendly independent was excluded.

The BN made another grave strategic error when it joined Muhyiddin Yassin’s backdoor government on Sun 1 Mar 2020. It was forced to bring it down on Mon 16 Aug 2021.

It was also grave strategic error when the Agong was allowed, by both sides, to intervene in the political situation. Ismail Sabri became backdoor Prime Minister on Sat 21 Aug 2021. He did not seek, as advised by the Agong, the sanction of Parliament. Pakatan Harapan (PH), the government ousted on Mon 24 Feb 2020 by Mahathir himself, propped him up via a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Sun 13 Sept 2021, thus saving him from Umno.

It was grave strategic error after grave strategic error and reminds us that “it never rains even cats and dogs, but pours.”

If BN has adopted the position that it should not “rock the boat” before GE15, it cannot be said that it’s not another grave strategic error. – NMH

About the writer: Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez keeps a keen eye on Malaysia as a legal scholar (jurist). He was formerly Chief Editor of Sabah Times. He is not to be mistaken for a namesake previously with Daily Express. References to his blog articles can be found here.

The points expressed in this article are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the New Malaysia Herald.

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Joe Fernandez
Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez has been writing for many years on both sides of the Southeast Asia Sea. He should not be mistaken for a namesake formerly with the Daily Express in Kota Kinabalu. JF keeps a Blog under FernzTheGreat on the nature of human relationships.

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