Political ceasefire as PM, PH reach agreement

by AZREEN HANI / pic credit: Anwar Ibrahim FB

PRIME Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders have reached a political agreement that could result in a ceasefire until the 15th General Election.

In a statement signed by Ismail Sabri and three PH leaders — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Mohamad Sabu and Lim Guan Eng — yesterday, the leaders agreed to prioritise independence of the judiciary, institutional reforms and good governance.

“A consensus was reached to strengthen the function of Parliament as a responsible and constructive institution, that serves as a check and balance on the executive so that it is more transparent and fulfils the people’s desires.

“We also agreed and understood how important judicial independence, institutional reforms and good governance are to ensure a more conducive situation for the people and the nation in the context of a Malaysian family,” they said.

It is not known whether Ismail Sabri and PH officially inked an agreement over this consensus.

Former PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in his last bid to retain power, had extended a similar proposition to the Opposition, but was unanimously rejected.

Ismail Sabri was sworn in as the nation’s ninth PM on Saturday, backed by 114 lawmakers, of which 50 of them are Perikatan Nasional MPs.

Anwar told reporters later that the Opposition would not complicate the situation if the political situation remains as it is for now.

“The meeting was to discuss pro-rakyat programmes that will be touching on the poor and those who have lost their jobs,” Anwar said.

“If the current situation continues and the programme (for Covid-19 management) is pro-rakyat, we will not complicate it,” he said, when asked about PH’s position for the confidence vote that may be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat next month.

“We gave our assurances that if these programmes are more effective, then we have no issues ensuring the (political) situation is better managed,” the Port Dickson MP added.

He also thanked Ismail Sabri for meeting with the Opposition, in line with the decree of Yang di-Pertuan Agong for political cooperation to extend beyond parties.

Anwar also said that there was no discussion on Cabinet posts, stressing that the meeting was on finding common ground in managing the pandemic and economic crises in the country.

Ismail Sabri had said that the Cabinet line-up will be unveiled this week, amid reports of power tussles for the ministerial posts, especially the deputy PM (DPM) and finance minister’s posts.

The Malaysian Reserve reported former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as saying on Tuesday that Ismail Sabri should not consider nominating any leaders who have ongoing corruption court cases.

The Parti Pejuang Tanah Air chairman also did not find any of the government MPs credible for the DPM post.

This included the group of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia MPs, whose majority was made up of those who switched sides to the then Opposition and caused the downfall of the PH government led by Dr Mahathir.

The Dewan Rakyat is scheduled to reconvene on Sept 6.