Govt’s confidence and supply deal with opposition on brink of collapse, sources reveal
THE confidence, supply and reform agreement (CSRA) between the Ismail Sabri Yaakob administration and Pakatan Harapan is on the brink of collapse following the government’s reluctance to have a confidence vote in Parliament next week, a source said.
“The confidence motion is one of the non-negotiable items for the CSRA to proceed,” a source from Pakatan Harapan told The Malaysian Insight.
The source said this was clearly conveyed to the newly appointed prime minister when he met Pakatan Harapan leaders Anwar Ibrahim, Mohamad Sabu, and Lim Guan Eng on August 25.
“As such, we were caught off guard when Attorney-General Idrus Harun said there was no necessity for a confidence motion on Ismail in Parliament,” said the Pakatan Harapan leader.
Idrus said the Agong had met 114 out of 220 MPs on August 19 to confirm their support for Ismail, so a confidence motion in Parliament would only undermine the monarch’s decision.
This is despite the Agong clearly stating on August 18 that the new prime minister must table a confidence motion in Parliament after his appointment.
Ismail, who is the Umno vice-president, was appointed on August 21.
This would not be the first time a prime minister has sought a confidence vote to affirm his appointment halfway through an election term.
Precedents were set by former prime ministers Hussein Onn and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who obtained the Dewan Rakyat’s confirmation of their appointments by tabling confidence motions shortly after their appointments in 1976 and 2003 respectively.
The only prime minister who did not do so is Ismail Sabri’s predecessor, Muhyiddin Yassin.
Muhyiddin resigned on August 16 after 14 Umno MPs withdrew their support for him in July.
Draft agreement sent on August 30
While Idrus’ statement came as a surprise to the Pakatan Harapan negotiators, the government also appears to be dragging its feet over the negotiations.
According to two other sources, the Pakatan Harapan team had already sent a draft of the CSRA to the government on August 30.
“But there has been no response yet,” said the leader.
The source, who is involved in the negotiations, said Pakatan Harapan had hoped to finalise the agreement before Parliament sitting begins on September 13.
“But this new development has complicated matters,” he added.
He said the first sign of Ismail’s hesitancy is the absence of a confidence motion in the Parliament agenda that was sent out on August 30.
Ismail, who replaced Muhyiddin last month, is believed to be seeking a CSRA to avoid facing confidence issues like his predecessor.
According to Pakatan Harapan, the opposition is seeking similar terms that were offered by Muhyiddin before he resigned.
Some of the reform tersm include an anti-hopping mechanism, equal constituency funding, and Parliamentary reform.
Bersatu secretary-general and Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin had previously said that his party is in favour of the CSRA, although the government has yet to issue a statement indicating its position on the matter.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT