Malaysian king welcomes bipartisan cooperation, says people want political ‘maturity’
The government and opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan have agreed to ink a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday to ensure political stability through a bipartisan approach.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah said he welcomed and appreciated the bipartisan cooperation being forged by the new government and the opposition.
“I welcome and appreciate efforts towards realising a new approach, a dual-partisan cooperation involving all sides, that will build a new political landscape and bring changes in the country's administrative system,” he said in his royal decree at the parliament on Monday (Sep 13).
“Maturity like this is what the people want,” he added.
This is the first parliament meeting under Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government. The House of Representatives will meet for 17 days until Oct 12, while the Senate will meet from Oct 4 to Oct 26.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, the king said the new government has to double its efforts to fight COVID-19 and bring the country and people out of the pandemic.
“With a high-performance work culture and a focus on short-term and long-term goals, I believe this government can prove its early achievement in 100 days.
“Moving ahead, I advise all sides to practise deliberative democracy in finding solutions to all problems,” he said.
The king also exhorted the lawmakers to return their focus on fighting the pandemic, and to make the country shine again.
“My advice to all is, do not gamble on the future of the country and its citizens merely to achieve certain agendas,” he said.
Mr Ismail Sabri was appointed as prime minister on Aug 21, after 114 out of the country’s 220 MPs named him as replacement for Mr Muhyiddin Yassin. Mr Muhyiddin had stepped down on Aug 16 as he had lost majority support in the Lower House.
The king had decreed for all sides to work as one team, and that the next prime minister should prove his majority support via a confidence motion in the parliament as soon as possible.
Ahead of the parliament meeting, opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) promised that it would not “complicate” the confidence vote if the government introduces people-centric programmes in its COVID-19 pandemic management.
Last Friday, Mr Ismail Sabri offered seven parliamentary and government administration reforms to restore political stability while combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among others, he said the government would table an Anti-Party Hopping Bill, which, if passed, would prevent politicians elected on one party’s platform from defecting to another party.
Other proposals included ensuring equal membership in parliamentary special committees, involving both government and opposition parliamentarians. Opposition Leader will also be remunerated and given amenities equivalent to a minister.
PH responded on Saturday by stating that it was “inclined to accept” the offer.
GOVERNMENT AND PH TO INK MOU
The government and the PH later agreed to ink a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at 5pm on Monday at the parliament to ensure political stability and drive economic recovery through a bi-partisan approach.
According to a joint statement issued by representatives from the government and the opposition, focus and priority would be given by both parties to carve out a new political landscape, Bernama reported.
“This will be done through transformation and reform initiatives in the government administration, particularly in strengthening the role of the parliamentary institution,” the joint statement issued by representatives from the government and the opposition read.
Both parties have agreed to disclose the MOU to the public as a sign of commitment to transparency and accountability.
Hailing it as a “historic incident” in Malaysian politics, opposition MP and Democratic Action Party’s national organising secretary Anthony Loke said the memorandum did not mean that PH has joined the government.
“PH MPs still sit on the opposition bloc and will continue to play the role of ‘check and balance’ to the government,” he said in a Facebook post.
They would continue to monitor and criticise the government's weakness, and voice out the interests of the people, he said.
“However, for any legal Bill and the Budget process which need to be consulted and agreed on together as policy, our side will cooperate with the government,” he added.
In return, Mr Loke said, the government would have to implement various policies to assist the people and bring reforms in the national administrative system as well as strengthening the institution of parliament.