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Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob begins his official duty as the ninth prime minister of Malaysia at Perdana Putra, Putrajaya August 23, 2021. — Bernama pic
Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob begins his official duty as the ninth prime minister of Malaysia at Perdana Putra, Putrajaya August 23, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — Lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle welcomed the joint statement Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders issued on finding common ground.

Ismail, who is from Barisan Nasional and the Perikatan Nasional (PN) alliance, said they would work on strengthening Parliament and would ensure judicial reforms are implemented regarding the country’s governance.

Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh said the Opposition has consistently wanted to cooperate with the government in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I hope this is not just a PR exercise and that Ismail is serious and delivers on his intentions. Even as Opposition, we are very concerned with the rising Covid-19 cases, poor economy and especially education, as learning from home is not working effectively.

“We should be having more meetings for select committee’s which we were not able to do during the Emergency. Parliamentary reforms that were started under PH should be continued by reconvening Parliament properly.

“Apart from that, we need to have better data sharing which we weren’t afforded under the previous government,” said the former deputy minister in the prime minister’s department.

“That way we can all be inclusive in the decision making and we can make better decisions for the people. These were things we had started before but were stopped. Now’s the time to start all these initiatives again and these must come from the prime minister himself,” she said when contacted.

PKR’s Dr Lee Boon Chye said he would hold on to what his party president, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, said as it was in the interest of Malaysians.

He said together they can overcome any obstacles especially when handling the pandemic. However, he said he wanted to see Ismail Sabri’s initiatives before passing judgment.

“At the end of the day, we need to see what the prime minister has to offer. We are open minded,” he said.

Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng felt the agreement today between the parties was also what the Yang di-Pertuan Agong wished to see especially when the pandemic was still ongoing.

He said it was a good opportunity to finally try to work together.

“I think it was a response to what the King wanted. He does not want a winner-take-all,” Lim said when contacted.

“So this is a good first step for us as the opposition to work with the ruling party in this kind of pandemic situation.”

After the meeting today, Anwar told the press that PH has agreed to lower the political pressure as long as Ismail managed the pandemic well and was committed to pro-Malaysian policies.

In his first address as prime minister, Ismail Sabri called on all government and Opposition MPs to join him in saving “Keluarga Malaysia” or “Malaysian Family”, a label which he introduced to describe the nation.

He offered the leaders a chance to work together to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic and help the country recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Former Federal Territories minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said today this was a move in the right direction and lauded it as the start of potential bipartisan cooperation.

“This will help reinforce the “Keluarga Malaysia” concept. (It’s the) right start in the right direction for Malaysia,” he said in a brief message.

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