Govt pledges transformation, reform as Parliament opens

by HARIZAH KAMEL / Pic by TMR FILE PIX

ALL eyes will be on Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration in the days to come as the fourth session of the 14th Parliament opens today — his first sitting as the ninth prime minister (PM).

In the days leading up to the sitting, Ismail Sabri expressed his commitment to implement transformation and reform measures to restore political stability and the economy, which will now come into play.

Last Friday, he said such reforms aim to create a new political landscape in the country and that more transformations will be introduced over time.

So far, he has been forward in working together with the Opposition to manage the Covid-19 crisis.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said inclusive understanding between all MPs regardless of party in order to give top priority to the people is a mature political transformation under Ismail Sabri’s leadership.

“Such an understanding between the government and the Opposition is an agenda that will bring tremendous significance to the country, especially the people, and will have a huge impact with all the reforms that we will introduce.

“It is a start, yet I am confident the government today has the will to bring about a political transformation where representatives come together to resolve the people’s issues for the sake of survival,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Annuar also welcomed the willingness of the Opposition to agree to the government’s call for the sake of the people.

“I hope this tendency can be translated into reality as soon as possible so that Keluarga Malaysia is no longer plagued by the effects of endless politicking and the people can focus on survival and generating the economy,” he said.

Over the weekend, Pakatan Harapan (PH) said it is inclined to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government, in which the Opposition provides additional views and proposals on the initial seven reforms announced by the PM.

In a statement by the PH Presidential Council signed by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng and Mohammad Sabu on Sept 11, the MoU was reached during last Friday’s meeting, following a series of meetings between both sides since Aug 25.

“PH is inclined to agree to this MoU to save the rakyat’s lives and livelihoods, subject to the details of the draft improvements that need to be refined by representatives of both parties before it can be finalised.

“Let us mobilise all our strength to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and overcome the economic recession that is plaguing our country.”

The MoU will be signed at 5pm today. To recap, among Ismail Sabri’s offers are the tabling of the Anti-Party Jumping Bill in Parliament, implementation of Undi18 in the near future, limiting the PM’s term of office to 10 years and balancing membership of the Parliamentary Select Committee between government and Opposition MPs.

PH is of the view that an additional fiscal injection of RM45 billion should be made to the RM65 billion Covid-19 Fund, which currently has only RM8.6 billion left to address the pandemic and provide financial assistance to the people.

In addition, an exemption on interest payments on the moratorium on bank loans for the bottom 40% and middle 40% groups should be implemented.

“The PH Presidential Council also discussed political reform measures that need to be included in the MoU, such as strengthening the implementation of the current Undi18, Parliamentary reform and the independence of the judiciary, among others.

“Representatives also discussed the issue of the vote of confidence, as well as the mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the MoU,” it said.

The confidence vote will be a focal point if it is raised in the current sitting. Recently, de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the King has consented to the government not pursuing a confidence vote to test Ismail Sabri’s majority.