KUCHING: A unity government as proposed by Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) is not feasible, according to a local academic.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) senior political science lecturer Dr Faisal Hazis said in any democratic country the Opposition must remain opposition so as to provide checks and balances.
Faisal said it was the sanctified role of the Opposition to keep the ruling government in check for any discrepancy and shortcoming in its administration.
“In any mature democracy, there is a need for checks and balances, and the role of the Opposition is just that.
“Furthermore, the Opposition is the government-in-waiting and by this, it means there is a healthy competition between the ruling government and Opposition. This is because either party can form the government if it has the majority support of the people,” he told The Star.
Faisal was commenting on the proposal by MoCS for both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat to form a unity government to restore national understanding and unity which it claimed had taken a beating following last month’s general election.
It said the country had been “besieged with negatives” like street demonstrations and protests in the last one month.
MoCS coordinator Francis Siah suggested both coalition parties should defuse the volatile political atmosphere by holding talks to form a “government of national reconciliation”.
He stressed that a unity government was not about Pakatan joining Barisan, but about both coming together to form a coalition government as partners.
Siah said the details and intricacies of the new government, such as cabinet appointments, could be sorted out.
“But at the outset, perhaps key positions could be organised in this manner.
“Najib (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) is to remain as Prime Minister with Anwar (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) as senior minister holding the finance portfolio.
“(Tan Sri) Muhyiddin Yassin is Deputy Prime Minister 1 and can continue at education. Lim Kit Siang is DPM 2 and also anti-corruption minister. DPM3 is Hadi Awang who is in charge of Islamic affairs.
“The other portfolios will be organised in a manner that where a Barisan representative is a minister, the deputy will be from Pakatan. The same guideline follows, vice versa,” said Siah.
Faisal said realistically, the proposal was completely not feasible as the two coalitions had different political ideologies.
“In the recent general election, Pakatan was campaigning on multi-racialism whereas Barisan, especially Umno, was taking a more racial stance.
“We need to have a two-party system as it will give alternatives to Malaysians. The proposal is just not workable,” he said.
SUPP president Tan Sri Peter Chin, meanwhile, said it was not worth commenting on the since it did not come from either Barisan or Pakatan.
He, however, disagreed that only Opposition could provide checks and balances, saying Barisan was capable of that role and had been practising it all along through its 14 component parties.
“To say that only the Opposition can provide checks and balances is wrong as in Barisan, we do that as well. This is because all the component parties are free to voice out (their opinions and suggestions),” he added.
Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How said the proposal was not workable as there was a big difference of ideology between the two coalitions.
“In Pakatan, our common goal is against corruption. Furthermore, we are still questioning the legitimacy of the Barisan government after the general election. If we form a unity government, it means we are accepting its legitimacy.
“The proposal is just not workable,” he told The Star.
SUPP Youth chief Tan Kai said the proposal was a ‘no go’ as such a unity government had never been formed anywhere in the world.
“If there is really a sincere intention to form a unity government, then it should be discussed before the election, not after Barisan has won.
“What about the Pakatan-ruled states like Selangor, Penang and Kelantan? Are they going to set up similar unity governments in these states if there was to be such government at the Federal level?
“This is totally not feasible at all,” he said.
Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei said Barisan had to first accept the Pakatan manifesto before they could sit down and think about the matter.
“We are fighting for, among others, free education for all and equal economic opportunities.
“We will only agree to the unity government if Barisan accepts all our policies.
“Still, the toughest part is in the eradication of corruption where Barisan seems to be lacking the will to tackle it,” he said.