‘Deal must be transparent and be made public’

PETALING JAYA: The coalition agreement to be signed by all parties under the unity government must be properly formalised, transparent and be made public, say experts.

Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) CEO Dr Tricia Yeoh believes that the coalition agreement will be largely similar to that signed between former prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration and the then Opposition.

“Ideally, to achieve stability of the government, such a pact must be formalised, transparent, publicly available and with clear parameters.

“These parameters should include the duration of the pact, for instance, for a period of five years, the type of support provided, as well as details of what concessions are to be made to each coalition signatory,” she said in an interview yesterday.

On Monday, Barisan Nasional secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, who is Foreign Minister, said a coalition agreement involving all parties in the unity government would be signed soon.

He said the agreement, which is currently in the final draft stage, would, among others, aim to increase the people’s confidence in the government.

The main parties that formed the unity government after the 15th General Election are Pakatan Harapan, Barisan, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), Warisan, Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) and Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat (KDM).

The agreement, said Yeoh, must include policy-based commitments by the respective parties.

“The agreement should also include policy-based commitments, such as structural economic, legal and institutional reforms that all parties agree with,” she said.

Ilham Centre executive director Hisomuddin Bakar said the agreement involving all parties within the unity government was to, among others, ensure there would be no issue during the vote of confidence when Parliament convenes on Dec 19.

The vote on the motion of confidence is on the top agenda by the newly minted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“The agreement must involve and receive the support by all parties to defend and support the current government.

“The parties must follow their chief whip to ensure the government backbenchers function more effectively,” said Hisomuddin.

The agreement, he said, should also involve the commitments of the parties in the government and their own respective demands, especially in terms of development allocation, particularly from Sabah and Sarawak, which is represented by GPS and GRS.

“The agreement must also cover the allocation of Cabinet members by the Prime Minister.

“With the inclusion of the agreement from all parties, it will ensure the longevity of the unity government so that it can last until the end of the parliamentary term,” said Hisomuddin.

Economist Tan Sri Dr Ramon Navaratnam said the coalition agreement would be as good as the sincerity of all the coalition partners.

“The public should be able to monitor (the pledges) of the political leaders to ensure their sincerity and good faith.

“Politicians who break the faith should be punished by the voters,” he said, adding that it would be good for the agreement to get the support of the royalty.

“The Malay Rulers can also provide a check and balance,” he said.

Under Ismail Sabri’s administration, the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Transformation and Political Stability was inked between the government and Pakatan Harapan.

The MOU was signed in September last year to provide political stability.

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