All said and done, last Sunday was a big loss for PM Muhyiddin Yassin and cohorts. It is a big win for the people of Malaysia.
But Muhyiddin can bounce back and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat if his opponents do not force him out.
Muhyiddin lost in his risky and unprecedented gambit to prolong his political lifeline. But it is now on the line, again, and even more dangerously close to annihilation.
In his high noon at Istana Negara, Muhyiddin received a large dose of lethal rejections coated with sweeteners.
It was a “NO!” to “Darurat” and a hint at the rejection of all political machinations.
It started with the proposals to save Muhyiddin’s reign with a nation-wide political emergency packaged as an economic emergency.
This was followed by a large public outcry on social media that spilt to the train stations and lamp posts in Kuala Lumpur.
But the people fought back and won after they found the Palace on their side.
Never have the “Daulat Tuanku” floated on Twitter and Facebook like it did on Sunday evening.
The crowd is happy the King did not give in to the greed and the nonsense of the ruling coalition.
It was an unexpected and unprecedented defeat of the political class at the hands of the Royals.
But will reality sink in?
While Muhyiddin is reeling with the truce from his government partners, there is no doubt the opposition is waiting in the wings.
They will strike as soon as they can and no one can blame them for it. There is no way Muhyiddin will continue leading after such a defeat.
The rejection of the emergency ordinance will be seen as a slash in the PM’s authority.
The PM does not have the support of the Palace to execute a plan that could have saved him for the time being.
Instead, it was a rebuke and this rebuke is as significant as a no-confidence vote.
The Umno will have the opportunity to pounce at the prime minister from now on. They already challenged him with a no-confidence motion.
They also threatened to quit his government if he does not listen to them. What will make them sit tight and face more ‘humiliations’?
Umno can also use the Budget as leverage to take jibes at Muhyiddin and the Bersatu.
Some Umno MPs might also continue pressing for the no-confidence motion to be debated.
They do not have any reason not to strike when the metal is hot. If they miss this opportunity, they might not get one after the Budget is voted.
The PM can still push the Parliamentary seatings to next year like he did in March after the imposition of the nationwide lockdown.
This will give him ample time to correct some mistakes, reshuffle the Cabinet to please some in the Umno.
He will also be able to counter the opposition’s attempts to throw him out. But what will be the consequence for the nation?
Alas, it appears the people’s victory against the attempted hijacking of the democratic process will be short lived.
Unless the Umno or the opposition make the move to strike Bersatu off its perch.