Why the country needs a strong mandate in the next GE?

GEORGE TOWN: Doctors in Penang put aside their stethoscopes for a night of fellowship and to listen to a veteran journalist talk about politics.

Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai spoke candidly and humourously, taking jabs at politicians and sharing insights about the lesser known aspects of power and governance.

He joked that as doctors, the night's guests always looked for 'a cure' for medical illnesses, but he himself was not sure whether 'there is a cure for some Malaysian political issues or politicians'.

The Star Media Group advisor outlined his belief that the general elections needed to be held soon, as the five-year term of Parliament will expire on July 15, 2023.

"The longer it waits, the more issues could potentially arise. Inflation is not going away, nor will the corruption cases.

"The present federal government did not earn the mandate of the voters. That is a fact.

"Certainly, the Prime Minister, too, has to prove that he has the confidence of the people," Wong shared at the Penang Medical Practitioners' Society (PMPS) Fellowship Dinner.

In his talk, titled "GE 15 - Why We Need A Strong Mandate", he also shared his hope that in the next general election, the results would be conclusive.

Like many Malaysians, Wong said he's only looking for a strong and stable government that really functions, whichever party that may be, as this would be helpful for investors who are putting millions of ringgit into their commitments.

“Can you imagine dealing with three different PMs in three years, not to forget the various ministers. Investors would be reluctant to come in, not knowing if deals inked today would still be valid under a different administration," he explained, pointing to other Asean countries like Indonesia and Vietnam who are faring better presently.

Wong also hopes bickering parties would resolve their differences, and that anti-hopping laws would be put in place soon.

“Let’s not return to square one where the various parties have to negotiate and work out a government. It will only lead to more negotiations for positions and inconsequential posts,” he said.

He admitted that it was hard to predict when the next GE will be held, as the 'fever has yet to be felt'.

“Previously, the media could smell it in the air but there is none at the moment. There is a lot of talk and speculations but there is no movement,” he shared.

Wong said that in the past 14 general elections, only once was a GE held in November. March has been one of the more popular months.

“But let’s not forget that November will be the start of the monsoon season. While December is the start of the holiday season," he added.

Over 120 guests attended the dinner on Saturday, held at The Top Penang in Komtar. It included former politician Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan, who is currently a board member with the Kek Lok Si Charitable Hospital (KLSCH).

PMPS president Datuk Dr K.K. Tan said they typically invite a different prominent personality to give a talk every year, to shed light on interesting topics outside of medicine and give their members something to think about after the event.

"With the current political issues and the timing of the next GE on many people's minds, we felt this topic would be appropriate.

"Wong is vastly experienced and knowledgeable. What he said will give everyone food for thought," Dr Tan said.

The PMPS was established in 1932 and they have been holding such gatherings almost every year, apart from the recent two-year break due to the pandemic.

More importantly, Dr Tan added, it allows their members to get out of their practices for a night and just enjoy each other's company.

After their buffet dinner, guests went up to The Top's Level 68 rooftop deck to check out the Rainbow Skywalk and take in Penang's night scenery.

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