PUTRAJAYA: The unity government, put together after no coalition won an outright majority, is no longer a fragile one after all parties in the administration signed an agreement to commit themselves to a stable leadership.
With the signing of the agreement, the government, which comprises Pakatan Harapan, Barisan Nasional, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), Gabungan Rakyat Sarawak (GRS), and Parti Warisan is now known as the Malaysia Unity Government.
Describing this as a momentous occasion and a landmark in the country’s political history, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the agreement was a commitment to support a stable government that would be able to finish its five-year term.
“We came to an understanding that is based on shared principles and policies.
“There is no reason that we should be talking about fragility (of the administration) and problems that my team and I will encounter,” he said after witnessing the signing of the agreement yesterday.
The agreement was signed by the secretaries-general of the four coalitions and Warisan.
Among others, it states that each party must support the Prime Minister in motions related to confidence, supply or procedure that could affect the legitimacy of the Federal Government.
It also states that each party must ensure that their lawmakers give their vote.
Any MP who fails to do so would be in violation of his responsibility towards the party and must vacate his seat.
According to the agreement, the government is committed to empowering Parliament as a check-and-balance mechanism through the creation of special select committees to oversee the Cabinet’s portfolio.
A consultative body represented by all main parties will be established to ensure all terms in the agreement are executed effectively.
The agreement will also see efforts made to strengthen the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judiciary as well as guarantee freedom of thought, speech, movement, assembly and association as stated in the Federal Constitution.
Anwar admitted that there had been intense negotiations in drafting the agreement but, despite that, reaching an understanding had not been that difficult.
“I am extremely encouraged that there is trust and commitment among us.
“I would say that is because we have common parameters and policies, including ensuring that the government is stable,” he added.
The Prime Minister said that with the agreement signed, it was time to focus on good governance and stronger economic growth, besides guaranteeing political stability.
“But all these cannot be achieved without strong cooperation between Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.
“It must also be pointed out that what we have agreed upon is not for position or power,” he added.
On Sabah and Sarawak, Anwar said that he had given an assurance to GPS chairman and Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof that matters that had been agreed upon would not be changed.
He said that he had given a month for financial matters involving the two Borneo states to be prepared by the Finance Ministry for presentation to the Cabinet.
The agreement outlined that one of its goals is to uphold the spirit of cooperation, loyalty to the federation and fair sharing of power between the peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah.
It added that it would be achieved by empowering a fair political and economic position in accordance with the framework of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
On good governance, the Prime Minister said it had become an issue in the country and the aim is to clean up the government’s machinery and rectify weaknesses.
“I am touched by the commitment given by all coalitions and parties to work as a strong team. Together, we can resolve problems and face challenges as one strong and united voice,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said any concerns on this government’s position on Islam, the Malays and Bahasa Malaysia, and the Malay Rulers’ institution has been resolved.
He, too, agreed on the importance of a stable government.
“These are among the issues which Barisan has consistently been working on and we will support all efforts to ensure this as well as matters pertaining to the economy,” he said.