Ismail can fend off Najib, Zahid and Azmin now, says Pua

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has strengthened his position after learning from the mistakes of his predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin and offering a reform pact with the opposition, says DAP’s Tony Pua.

He said Ismail chose not to emulate Muhyiddin, who had waited until he was clutching at straws before offering reform proposals to the opposition in exchange for a confidence arrangement.

“In the past, even with the Muhyiddin government, it was always a ‘winner-takes-all position for the government, despite his tenuous hold on the government,” Pua said in a Facebook post tonight.

He said Ismail’s stronger position now allowed him to fend off threats or demands from the “court cluster”, which he said was led by former prime minister Najib Razak and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“On the other hand, had the memorandum of understanding not been signed, Ismail’s hand would have been weakened and he would have had to give in to the demands of the kleptocrats,” said Pua.

“More importantly, Ismail can no longer be pressured to take steps to influence judicial proceedings or the Attorney-General’s Chambers to withdraw charges pending in the court cluster, including Najib and Zahid’s corruption trials.

“More interestingly, Ismail also does not need to entertain any demands from Azmin Ali’s camp, as any threat by Azmin’s faction to destabilize the governing coalition will no longer be credible,” he said.

Pua maintained that the MoU signed with the government today was just a means to give Malaysians some peace and stability as the nation battled the pandemic and economic downturn.

He also said Malaysians would be the biggest winners from the deal as PH had successfully convinced the prime minister to agree to implement some “landmark” reforms.

“But once the Parliament gets dissolved any time after July 2022, PH will fight tooth and nail to have the people’s mandate returned to the rightful parties,” he said.  FMT

Govt-Pakatan deal promotes national stability, ‘insurance’ for Ismail Sabri, analyst says

THE memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government and Pakatan Harapan (PH) is not only historic for bipartisanship, but is also “insurance” for the new prime minister, an analyst said.“It is historic, because this is the first time that the ruling party and opposition can agree to co-operate in legislative matters for the common good,” International Islamic University of Malaysia’s Tunku Mohar Tunku Mohd Mokhtar said.“However, with only a majority of two, Ismail Sabri’s government is fragile,” the political science lecturer said.

Ismail is currently supported by 114 MPs from Perikatan Nasional, Barisan Nasional and GPS, while the PH bloc has 89 MPs. The remaining lawmakers in the 220-member Dewan Rakyat are from other opposition parties.

Nevertheless, the document, called the MOU on transformation and political stability, will bring greater political stability to Malaysia after more than a year of turmoil, Tunku Mohar, other analysts and politicians said.

“Both Umno and PH (especially PKR) have been badly affected by defections since the last general elections. The introduction of this law will help put some semblance of political stability in the future,” Tunku Mohar said.

He said that Ismail will look good as a leader who can work with everyone in Parliament.

Meanwhile, the gain for PH is a short-cut for some reforms that the coalition has been championing for some time, said Tunku Mohar.

The MOU was signed yesterday evening in Parliament. Ismail signed on behalf of the government, while PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah chairman Mohamad Sabu, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation president Wilfred Madius Tangau represented PH.

The signing was witnessed by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun and Senate president Rais Yatim.

Universiti Utara Malaysia’s Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said the bipartisan deal was possible because there was willingness from both government and opposition.

“People, including the King and the Conference of Rulers, have also called for an end to power grabs.

“This basic agreement will let PH support the government, while the government treats the opposition better,” said the political science lecturer.

He considered it “remarkable” as the opposition had rejected former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s similar offer just last month.

“With the stakes being so high, especially with anticipated criticism from some supporters, it is fairly expected that the opposition will demand more and that the government will concede more.”

Kamarul added that the government should prepare a specific time frame to implement the reforms it has promised.

“As long as the truce does not affect the power equation, anything else that does not touch basic principles of every party should have no problem to be agreed upon.”

Kamarul expected the truce will enable the government to focus on addressing Covid-19 and rebuilding the nation, without having to worry about the prospect of it losing power.

“However, the downside for the opposition is that it will likely split further since the deal is inked with just PH not with the other opposition parties,” he added.

Already, Warisan Youth chief Azis Jamman tweeted that his party was left out of the memorandum’s earlier stages of negotiation and only invited when it was about to be signed.

Meanwhile, Pejuang president Mukhriz Mahathir told Berita Harian that his party did not want to be bound to any agreement with the government.

Stability is good for everyone

However, the MOU lists reforms to be undertaken with the aim of ending political bickering. Kangar MP Noor Amin Ahmad says this is important to return confidence to investors and Malaysians.

“A good list of important and immediate reforms were discussed by both sides and are scheduled to be implemented this term.

“This shows that many parts of the PH manifesto are actually realistic, albeit handling the Covid-19 pandemic, and it takes political will as well as right thinking and spirit to agree on it and to actually implement it,” said the PKR lawmaker.

He said the agreement is significant for both sides because the government can have some form of stability, while the opposition will be able to play a bigger role in government.

Sabah lawmaker Chan Foon Hin also believes that the agreement will provide the sort of stability that Muhyiddin did not have after toppling the PH government last year.

“Most important, the prime minister will no longer be held to ransom by MPs who only want to further their own personal agendas.

“As for the opposition, we do not need to spend any effort to ensure ‘numbers’, and we can instead focus on other agendas, especially institutional reform,” said the Kota Kinabalu MP.

He said Malaysians will also feel more empowered once anti-hopping laws are introduced.

“Malaysian politics is now more mature than ever before. The government has now recognised the role played by the opposition because opposition MPs will now be consulted in the process of legislation, such as bill drafting.

“It certainly is good as a whole to have our voice taken into account when making national policies.

“Finally, the ceasefire will help build investor confidence. It is good for the Malaysian economy as a whole. So let us focus on rebuilding Malaysia after the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the DAP lawmaker.  TMI