More political instability if Pakatan pulls out of MOU, analysts say

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob may be tempted to call for snap elections should the opposition dissolve a confidence and supply agreement with the government, say pundits.

Pakatan Harapan is rethinking its cooperation with Putrajaya following revelations that the government is considering an application from former prime minister Najib Razak for a RM100 million piece of property. 

CRACKS are starting to show in the relationship between Pakatan Harapan and Putrajaya, which may lead to the dissolution of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) the two parties have signed to facilitate reform and a stable government, political analysts said.

They said if this is not soon remedied, it could lead to more political instability that could prompt Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to call for snap elections.

Others, however, said the MOU was limited to political reforms and the government’s actions beyond its scope should not have any bearing on the agreement.

The annulment of the MOU was brought up by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who said PH was rethinking its cooperation with Putrajaya following revelations that the government was considering an application from former prime minister Najib Razak for a RM100 million piece of property.

Najib, however, yesterday withdrew his request to the government for a plot of land valued at RM100 million, saying he made the decision as people were not “comfortable” with it.

Ilham Centre executive director Hisommudin Bakar told The Malaysian Insight it was understandable that Pakatan was not happy with Najib’s request as the people are still suffering from the effects of the epidemic.

“PH would have found it hard to accept such a decision,” Hisommudin said.

“If PH chooses to end the cooperation, politically speaking Barisan Nasional (BN) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) are still able to withstand the blow, but their credibility will be tarnished.”

The opposition and government signed the MOU in September.

The MOU has six thrusts: strengthening the country’s Covid-19 plan, institutional transformation, parliamentary reforms, judiciary independence, the Malaysia Agreement 1963, and the formation of the steering committee.

Under the deal, the government promised to deliver three major reforms by the middle of next year.

They are the anti-party hopping law, the implementation of Undi18 and automatic voter registration, and the imposition of a 10-year term limit on the prime minister’s tenure, among others.

While PH pulling out of the MOU does not mean that the government will collapse, Hisommudin warned that BN and PN’s relationship is not at its friendliest point either.

“The relationship between BN and PN is worrying. This becam apparent when they failed to reach a consensus for the Malacca elections,” he said.

“This was followed by exchanges between PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin and Umno members, which could have a negative impact if PN pulled its support for the government.”

Hisommudin said it is in the best interest of the government to defuse the situation before it gets any more strained.

“The current situation may lead to another political crisis in the country. Ismail Sabri needs to do something to cool down the tension as it may lead to a general election taking place sooner than anticipated.”

International Islamic University of Malaysia’s Tunku Mohar Tunku Mohd Mokhtar said cracks in PH-Putrajaya ties are appearing as it appears the Ismail government is taking the opposition’s support for granted.

“It seems that they think the MOU is a blank cheque for them to do anything they want. It certainly isn’t,” Tunku Mohar said.

PH most recently also recently said it was unhappy about next year’s budget, saying it did not provide equal funding for all races.

The RM332 billion Budget 2022 allocated only RM290 million to improve infrastructure in Chinese New Villages and RM145 million to the Indian community for socio-cultural economic programmes under the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit while RM11.4 billion was allocated for the Bumiputera community.

For the MOU to be successful, both sides must deliver their part of the bargain, he said

However, it is still not too late for the government to decide against giving Najib the plot of land he asked for, Tunku Mohar added.

“It is understandable why PH should want to reconsider the MOU. However, it is not too late (for the governmnt) to reject Najib’s request for a gift. If this happens, both sides win.”

Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow with the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said government’s decision to reward Najib for his contribution to the nation should not affect the MOU.

He is also of the view that PH will not back out of the MOU over this reason alone.

“The MOU is mainly about political reform. As long as those points (in the agreement) are somewhat executed, PH is not in a rush to withdraw from the MOU.”

Oh said it was also in the government’s best interest to keep the status quo.

“Ismail Sabri is even more anxious to keep the MOU alive and secure his position.” – TMI

Melaka state election witnesses several firsts

MELAKA ― The Melaka state election sees several firsts starting from the nomination day on November 8.

In addition the state, for the first time in its history, is holding the state election separately and not simultaneously with federal seats during a general election.

The Melaka polls also sees the participation of Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) and Parti Perikatan India Muslim Nasional (Iman) apart from the 13 independent candidates contesting under the Gagasan Bebas (alliance of independent candidates).

The first time PAS did not use its logo was in the fourth general election (GE4) in 1974 when it contested on a Barisan Nasional (BN) ticket, before the Islamic party left BN in 1977 and contested as the Opposition in GE5 in 1978.

Gerakan meanwhile, had previously used the BN logo before leaving the coalition on June 23, 2018 after GE14, which saw the party defeated in all 11 parliamentary seats and 31 state seats it contested.

In this election too, Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee is contesting for the first time on an Independent ticket to defend the Pengkalan Batu state seat which he won in GE14 on a Pakatan Harapan (PH) ticket.

On March 2, 2020, Norhizam, who was then Melaka DAP deputy chairman expressed his support for the new PN state government and was sacked by DAP.

Melaka will also create story if Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin who is fielded against Melaka BN chairman Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh and Zainal Hassan (PH) in Tanjung Bidara, is appointed the first female chief minister should PN secures sufficient seats to form the state government.

The Melaka Chief Minister post was first held by Tan Sri Osman Talib, followed by Tun Abdul Ghafar Baba, Datuk Talib Karim, Datuk Setia Abdul Ghani Ali, Datuk Seri Adib Adam and Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik.

Also in the list of 12 former Chief Ministers are Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Abdul Ghani, Datuk Seri Abu Zahar Ithnin, Tun Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam, Datuk Seri Idris Haron, Adly Zahari and the last, Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali.

For the first time in the nation’s history too, with the new norm, public speeches, lectures, physical campaigning, house-to-house visits, walkabouts and leaflet distribution to the public were not allowed.

― Bernama