Cabinet agrees to 7 reforms for ensuring political stability

This includes anti-hopping laws and more powerful opposition includes many of the reforms promised by Muhyiddin.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s cabinet has agreed to a slew of institutional reforms during a cabinet meeting today (Sept 10).

This includes many of the reforms promised by his predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin last month in exchange for the opposition’s support.

In a statement, the prime minister said this is to restore political stability in the country in order to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic and restore the national economy, in line with the decrees by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Conference of Rulers.

The seven reforms are:

  • Table an anti-party hopping law in Parliament.
  • Amend the Federal Constitution to expedite the implementation of the lowered voting age from 21 years old to 18.
  • Amend the constitution to limit the prime minister’s term in office to 10 years.
  • Ensure equal representation between opposition MPs and government backbenchers in parliamentary special select committees.
  • All draft legislation including the budget bill will be discussed and agreed upon first, before being tabled in parliament.
  • Opposition politicians will be involved in the National Recovery Council to provide input and suggestions for improvement.
  • The opposition leader will be given the salary and amenities equivalent to a minister.

“This government is of the view that the focus and priority should be given by all parties for the time being towards political stability and national administration in fighting Covid-19 and reviving the economy.

“This offer is also aimed to create a new political landscape by implementing transformation and reforms in government administration especially in strengthening the parliamentary institution.

“At the same time, the government is committed to introducing more transformation from time to time,” he said.

The reforms that the cabinet has committed to are substantially similar to those offered by Muhyiddin on Aug 13, with some differences.

At the time, Muhyiddin offered the reforms in exchange for the opposition’s support in an upcoming confidence vote, but the offer was rejected and Muhyiddin subsequently resigned. This had paved the way for Ismail Sabri’s premiership.

Among the differences, Ismail Sabri’s cabinet has agreed that the opposition should have a place in the National Recovery Council, while Muhyiddin did not make such an offer.

Muhyiddin had also offered a position equivalent to a “senior minister” to the opposition leader, whereas Ismail Sabri promised a position equal to a “minister”. It is unclear what difference this distinction makes.

Other points previously offered by Muhyiddin but not mentioned in Ismail Sabri’s statement today include:

  • RM300,000 allocation for all MPs and senators to provide food baskets for the people, regardless of party affiliation.
  • Table a parliamentary bill to raise the Covid-19 fund sealing from RM65 billion last year to RM110 billion.
  • RM10 billion cash assistance to be channelled to 11 million people in certain target groups, such as B40 income earners and M40 earners who lost their jobs.

On Tuesday, de facto Law Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had said the reforms offered by Muhyiddin were still being considered by the new administration, even though the opposition had rejected the offered and resulted in the collapse of Muhyiddin’s administration.


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