PETALING JAYA: While all of the opposition parties have summarily dismissed Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s proposed framework for bipartisan political cooperation, Damansara MP Tony Pua remained among the few voices who felt it needs to be considered.
He listed three reasons why the MPs should look again at the proposal.
Apart from preventing the political turmoil “killing” the country’s health and economy, Pua said Muhyiddin’s olive branch offer would potentially prevent an Umno MP from becoming prime minister.
“The kleptocrats go free; the same clowns in Cabinet,” he pointed out.
His third reasoning was that accepting Muhyiddin’s proposal would also avoid a general election in the “middle of a pandemic”.
“I don’t know about you, but I don’t like (either of those options). All are disastrous outcomes for the country,” said the DAP MP in a Facebook post.
“If so, then surely the responsible thing for the politicians to do, is to at the very least have a look at what Muhyiddin (as much as one might detest him) has on offer,” he said.
Among the offers Muhyiddin made during a televised address today include equal annual allocations for all MPs regardless of their political party, increasing the ceiling for the Covid-19 fund by RM45 billion to RM65 billion to RM110 billion, additional aid for the people including the M40 and 50% of places in the parliamentary select committees for opposition members.
Muhyiddin also said that if the government successfully gets more than two-thirds support, it would table a law to amend the Federal Constitution to limit the prime minister to just two terms and also an anti-hopping bill.
However, he noted those proposals would only be implemented if the vote of confidence for him was approved.
While Pua noted that Muhyiddin’s offers were “unquestionably late”, he said that some of them were tangible bipartisan reforms which the country “badly needs”.
He added that while a government in power would always be reluctant to pass an anti-hopping law – because those in the opposition are more likely to leap to the government bench than vice-versa – he noted that this presents the opposition with a “unique opportunity” precisely because the country has a weak government in need of bipartisan support.
“Some of my comrades say that the PN government is weak and desperate, that’s why they are now making these offers,” said Pua.
“Well, if they are strong, why should they? And if they are indeed weak and desperate, isn’t this the best time to be negotiating with them?”
Meanwhile, PBS president Maximus Ongkili said Muhyiddin’s various proposals should be considered positively by all parties in the name of stability and cooperation.
In a statement today, the Sabah and Sarawak affairs minister stressed that the proposals provided an opportunity for inter-party cooperation which would help put Malaysia “back on a firm footing” on the road to health and economic recovery.
“Given the uncertain political scenario, whichever side one takes, this is a rare opportunity to work together and set aside political differences, living up to the ‘rakyat first’ slogan,” said Ongkili, whose party is part of PN.
“It is not the time to quarrel and fight over who should be prime minister. We can solve that problem by going for a general election.
“The more urgent task is to win the battle against Covid-19, save lives and achieve economic recovery.”
He added that during the “interim inter-party government”, the ruling coalitions in Sabah and Sarawak – Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) – will look to table constitutional amendments to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution and related articles.
These would restore the definition of the Malaysian Federation and other rights of Sabah and Sarawak to comply with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), he said.
“We are convinced all MPs from Sabah and Sarawak will be (of) one voice to support this plan.”