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PH, PN MPs in heated exchange over name of Anwar's coalition govt

MPs from Barisan Nasional appeared to stay out of the fray over the use of the term 'unity government'.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
2 minute read
MPs attend the first meeting of the first session of the 15th Parliament in Kuala Lumpur today. Photo: Bernama
MPs attend the first meeting of the first session of the 15th Parliament in Kuala Lumpur today. Photo: Bernama

The first day of the Parliament sitting under the government led by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim today was marked by a heated debate triggered by Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng's use of the phrase "unity government". 

The term was disputed by Beluran MP Ronald Kiandee from Perikatan Nasional (PN) who stood up to interrupt during the debate by the former finance minister.

"The official government right now is the unity government decreed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong," Lim had said while debating the motion for a vote of confidence in Anwar's leadership.

"Accept the reality that you are the opposition." 

Ronald however said the term had never been used by Istana Negara in the letter issued by Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah. 

"Don't use the Agong's name," he added. "This was never mentioned in the Tambun MP's appointment letter." 

The term "unity government" has been used by government leaders, especially those in Pakatan Harapan (PH), to explain the move to join hands with long-time foe Barisan Nasional (BN) in the wake of the 15th general election. 

The Nov 19 polls resulted in a hung Parliament, with no single party or coalition winning enough support to form the government on its own. 

PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin however had claimed to possess the required numbers in the form of statutory declarations which he later said were rejected by the palace. 

The motion of confidence in Anwar was brought in the Dewan Rakyat today to determine the level of support for the prime minister. 

Lim defended the use of the term by referring to the motion, tabled by Deputy Prime Minister Fadillah Yusof (GPS-Petrajaya). 

Pendang MP Awang Solahuddin Hashim meanwhile said that there was no opposition in a unity government. 

"Tell me which country with a unity government has an opposition?" he added. 

A war of words then ensued between Awang and Sany Hamzan (PH-Hulu Langat), with name calling on both sides. 

BN MPs, in contrast, appeared to stay out of the fray, with the bulk of the action between PH and PN. 

Takiyuddin Hassan (PN-Kota Bharu) said the memorandum of understanding signed among government parties last week clearly stated that it was a "coalition government". 

"It said the coalition government, known as the unity government of Malaysia," he added. 

He also said there was no need for a vote of confidence in Anwar. 

"This is a cheerleading competition brought by the prime minister in which I agree with Bukit Gelugor that there is no need for a vote of confidence," he said.