How a unity government is supposed to work


PETALING JAYA: A unity government is formed by a coalition of parties that can comprise several main blocs alongside smaller parties.

In a unity government, parties from opposing sides of the political divide can form a government and govern together.

A unity government is a unique power-sharing structure that is formed when no single bloc has a sufficient majority to form a government.

Constitutional expert Prof Datuk Dr Shamrahayu Ab Aziz said a unity government is thought to be one of the main choices because it is considered capable of achieving unity among the Malaysian communities.

“For this purpose, political parties and political players play an important role to celebrate differences and strengthen unity,” she said in a statement yesterday.

She said the royal decree issued by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong appointing Anwar as prime minister did not specify the form of government to be constructed, although the King had previously suggested a unity government.

The form of government is a privilege owned by the prime minister, who will also advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the appointment of the Cabinet, she said.

“However, the King’s suggestion for a unity government must be given the highest consideration.

“The selection of members of the Cabinet is the right of the prime minister, who at the same time determines the type of government that will serve the country.

“Even so, the recommendations or advice of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong about the type or form of government recommended by the King need to be given the utmost attention by the prime minister and the relevant parties.

“This is because the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decree is not merely a suggestion but an order that must be obeyed,” said Prof Shamrahayu.

In 2018, after resigning as prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad proposed the idea of leading a unity government across the political divide as a way out of the country’s political instability.

Other countries that had been under a unity government include Italy, Greece, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Israel, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

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