Bersih: Rulers' judgment welcome, confidence and supply agreement still needed

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Bersih: Rulers' judgment welcome, confidence and supply agreement still needed
Bersih: Rulers' judgment welcome, confidence and supply agreement still needed

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) welcomed the Malay Rulers’ judgment that declaring an emergency is not necessary to combat Covid-19, saying that most Malaysians would agree with the decision.

"The Muhyiddin (Yassin) government’s abortive self-coup is cynically driven by its fear of budget defeat.

But the proclamation of emergency provided under Article 150(1) is only for security, economic life, and public order, and does not cover prime minister’s job security," the Bersih 2.0 steering committee said.

However, the election watchdog cautioned the public in a statement issued late last night that the political crisis was not over yet.

It called on the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government and the opposition to reach a confidence and supply agreement (CSA) to ensure political stability without stripping Parliament of its budgetary power.

"By proposing a proclamation of emergency to evade a budget defeat, as candidly revealed by Federal Territories Minister Anuar Musa and Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Ali Biju, the prime minister has indirectly admitted his loss of majority.

"Parliamentarians must have the freedom to vote down the budget... it is their legitimate right under the Federal Constitution," Bersih said.

It added that approving the government’s budget is one of Westminster Parliament's key functions, therefore, parliamentarians cannot be compelled to blindly approve the government’s budget.

"If the government’s budget is defeated, the prime minister must immediately table and get a motion of confidence passed for his government. Alternatively, the Parliament can pass a motion of confidence for another MP to be the new prime minister.

"If no motion of confidence can be passed for either the PM or any other MP, a CSA involving parties representing a majority of parliamentarians will be needed to avoid a snap poll," Bersih said.

The CSA, it added, would allow the government’s budget to be improved by opposition parliamentarians to be more prudent, effective, and inclusive - ensuring that no sector or community would be overlooked in the battle against Covid-19.

"The CSA should serve as a basis to end political enmity and machination through necessary reforms, such as parliamentary reform, recall election, equal constituency allocation for all MPs and separation of the Public Prosecution Office from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC)," the coalition said.

"As his (Muhyiddin's) emergency scheme has met objections from even (coalition members like) Umno and Gabungan Parti Sarawak, besides the opposition and civil society, Muhyiddin is weaker than before Friday when he moved his abortive self-coup. He must own up and seek a CSA with the official opposition," it added.

Bersih also called on opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim not to disrupt the parliamentary proceedings and to embrace the CSA concept.

"Unless he can assemble a majority with names and prove this in Parliament, Anwar must play the role as His Majesty's loyal opposition.

"(Anwar must) pursue a CSA that ensures a prudent, effective, and inclusive 2021 Budget to combat Covid-19 and economic recession, as well as a credible roadmap for parliamentary, electoral, political finance, institutional and prosecutorial reforms," the group added.