KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders were offered government posts in exchange for their support but rejected them to remain true to the Opposition’s role as check-and-balance, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng asserted today.
His disclosure follows the historic memorandum of understanding (MoU) to affirm the Opposition’s bipartisan cooperation with the federal government.
Lim said the PH coalition signed the deal as it recognised the need to carry out reforms and put a stop to endless political scheming, which diverted national attention from the Covid-19 and economic crises.
At the same time, he admitted that signing the MoU was less than ideal as PH is dealing with a political opponent that has no history of political reforms. The Cabinet under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is a medley of lawmakers from Barisan Nasional and past rivals from Bersatu and PAS mostly.
“Whilst the MoU has been agreed upon, the tougher part is in its execution. There is still a long way to go and scepticism about the government’s sincerity is understandable.
“However, there should be a moratorium on the endless political numbers game, political horse-trading and buying of MPs like cattle that benefits dishonest politicians seeking power and positions at the expense of dealing with the real national crisis of Covid-19 and economic recession,” he said in a statement.
Lim said the MoU signed between the federal government and PH was designed to engineer “momentous” institutional reforms as well as save lives and livelihoods with an RM45 billion Economic Turnaround Plan and a new National Covid-19 Reset Plan within a stipulated timeline.
This included an unprecedented effort to waive interest for three months during the bank loan moratorium period for the lowest 50 per cent of the population, he added.
Citing the rising fresh daily Covid-19 cases and deaths, Lim also said the MoU also touched on the agenda of accelerating vaccination to achieve herd immunity and implementation of mass test screening nationwide.
However, Lim said the most significant agenda was the proposed anti-party hopping law among other parliamentary and constitutional reforms agreed upon by the MoU’s signatories.
“Whether these noble objectives will be achieved in the set hinges on its execution which will be monitored by a steering committee with equal representation involving five ministers from the government and five from the Opposition,” he said.
Dubbed the “Memorandum of Understanding on Political Stability and Transformation”, yesterday’s signing of the MoU between the government and PH follows months of political intrigue as Malaysia battles the socio-economic Covid-19 crises.
The move has been described as a form of a confidence and supply agreement and a historic step towards cross-party cooperation to put the country on the path of recovery.
Prior to the MoU, Ismail Sabri said the bipartisan cooperation — the first in the country’s history — was in line with the royal decree outlined by His Majesty Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah earlier today where all parties needed to practice “deliberative democracy”.
PH leaders representing their respective component parties in attendance were Lim, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu, and United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau.
Also present were Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Rais Yatim, Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, Ketereh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa, Seremban MP Anthony Loke, Senator Datuk Donald Peter Mojuntin, Kulim Bandar Baharu MP Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and Pulai MP Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub.