PM must call for sitting to test his majority now, says Bersih

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin must call for an immediate sitting now and not wait for Parliament to reconvene in September to gauge whether he enjoys majority support, says electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0.

It said any delay in testing Muhyiddin’s support through a vote of confidence in Parliament would only prolong the ongoing political instability, with parties horse-trading for support through appointments and positions.

It also warned against the use of enforcement bodies like the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Inland Revenue Board, police and the Attorney General’s Chambers “to investigate and bring charges against those who do not align themselves with the government”.

“Such tactics have been witnessed since the ‘Sheraton Move’ that installed the Perikatan Nasional government” in February 2020, the Bersih steering committee said in a statement yesterday.

It added that Muhyiddin’s majority was already being questioned, citing the Prime Minister’s own televised address earlier yesterday where he said eight Umno MPs had retracted their support for him.

“Unless he already has or plans to cause the defection of more MPs from the Opposition, such political scheming must not be allowed to take place,” said Bersih.

It also said the Parliament sitting in September was meant for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to deliver his address and it should not be distracted by a vote of confidence that might trigger the fall of the government.

“If the Muhyiddin government hopes to have the support of the Opposition without resorting to enticing its MPs, he must with utmost sincerity reach out to Opposition leaders to negotiate a Confidence and Supply Agreement (CSA) where the Opposition agrees to support the prime minister in exchange for meaningful roles in the task force to combat Covid-19 and revive the economy,” it added.

Bersih said the proposed CSA must also include legislated reforms that would level the playing field for all parties, similar to a select committee that will consist of MPs.

These would be select committees that will address issues on the Constituency Development Fund, recall elections to deal with party- hopping, political financing reform, and the separation of the attorney general’s role from that of public prosecutor, it said.

“The people expect political stability during this time of crisis so that their health and economic concerns can be addressed,” it added.

In his televised address yesterday, Muhyiddin said a confidence motion would be tabled in Parliament to test his majority as prime minister.

His address came following a bombshell announcement by Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that 11 Umno MPs had withdrawn their support for the Perikatan government and Muhyiddin.

However, Muhyiddin said the King, in an audience earlier yesterday, said he had received statutory declarations from eight Umno MPs retracting their support.

The first meeting of the fourth session of the 14th Parliament will sit for 15 days from Sept 6 until Sept 30.

The King will deliver a Royal Address on Sept 6.

In a recent statement by Istana Negara, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah said the government decision to revoke six Emergency Ordinances was made without his consent.

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