Monday, September 20, 2021

PM and PH leaders to sign historic memorandum on political stability

Both sides have pledged to focus on a 'new political landscape' as the country continues its Covid-19 battle.

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The government and the main opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) have reached an understanding which they say will return political stability as the country continues the Covid-19 battle, with a historic memorandum to be signed by both sides tomorrow.

Representatives from both sides said in a joint statement today that the Memorandum of Understanding on Transformation and Political Stability would be signed by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob together with top leaders of PH, which now includes Sabah-based Upko, at Parliament tomorrow.

“With this understanding, both sides will give focus and priority to a new political landscape through initiatives of transformation and reforms of governance, especially in strengthening the role of parliamentary institutions,” said the statement issued by 11 individuals representing the government and the opposition coalition.

They said they had reached the decision following a series of talks between Putrajaya and PH, where they agreed to a bipartisan approach in Malaysia’s road to economic recovery from the pandemic.

Yesterday, Ismail said his administration was ready to implement a series of reforms to strengthen the role of Parliament, similar to that made by his predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin at the tail end of his administration last month.

They include the tabling of a law that would force a re-election if an elected representative switches parties, a balanced representation of MPs from the government and opposition in the Special Parliamentary Select Committee, the implementation of Undi 18, consultation with MPs before the tabling of bills, an upgrade of the status of opposition leader to that of a minister, a 10-year limit to the prime minister’s term and the involvement of opposition members in the National Recovery Council to present their views and suggestions for improvements.

Ismail had met with the top leaders of PH on Aug 25, in a move seen as in keeping with advice from the palace that the new government work together with the opposition in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

They also signed a rare joint statement pledging to find common ground in “lowering the political temperature”.

In the statement co-signed by Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng and Mohamad Sabu, the leaders said among others that there was mutual agreement on strengthening the function of Parliament and making it more transparent.

However, DAP said earlier this month that any failure to hold a confidence vote in Ismail when the Dewan Rakyat convenes would mean that a much anticipated cooperation across the political divide could not take place.

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang said a confidence vote was the “correct constitutional position” despite an earlier revelation that the Agong had told Ismail such a vote was no longer required.

The Dewan Rakyat reconvenes tomorrow.

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