Better for Parliament to buckle down on Budget than count confidence votes for Anwar, says DAP’s Ramkarpal

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — Second-term Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh today said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim does not need to call for a confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat to prove his legitimacy to lead the new federal government.

With a nod to the country’s economic challenges weighing down on Malaysians and the deadline for the civil service’s salaries looming, the DAP politician suggested instead that priority be given to passing Budget 2023.

“I am of the view that it is unnecessary for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to table a motion for a vote of confidence when Parliament commences on 19.12.2022 as it is clear now that he enjoys an overwhelming majority in excess of 140 seats.

“In fact, it is likely that Pakatan Harapan now has a two-thirds majority in Parliament,” he said in a statement.

He pointed out that the biggest obstacle to Anwar’s government leadership, Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, had already conceded.

“It is understandable for Anwar to have announced his intention to table a motion of confidence as it was made before Muhyiddin conceded that PH had the numbers on 25.11.2022.

“With Muhyiddin’s said concession and confirmation that PN will provide a check and balance to the government by being in the opposition, the need for a vote of confidence by PH does not arise.

“It would be better to focus on the Budget and prepare thoroughly for the same in the upcoming parliamentary sitting instead of wasting time on a vote of confidence which serves no purpose now,” Ramkarpal added.

Budget 2023 was originally tabled by then finance minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz on October 7, three days before the Dewan Rakyat was dissolved to pave way for the 15th general election that ended on November 19 in a hung Parliament.

Ramkarpal said a test of the government leader’s support in a confidence vote is a constitutional convention in Commonwealth countries when a clear outcome is uncertain, citing the recent votes in the UK for Boris Johnson in June and his predecessor Theresa May in 2018 as examples.

He added that a vote of confidence “ought to be encouraged when there are doubts as to whether a government has the majority in Parliament, for instance when Perikatan Nasional came into power after the Sheraton move”. Anwar had promised to table a confidence vote as the first order of business in Parliament after his appointment as prime minister last Thursday.

The PH coalition won 82 seats out of 222 while PN scored 73.

Both coalitions failed to meet the conventional simple majority of 112 seats to take Putrajaya, prompting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to step in and propose a PH-PN unity government.

Muhyiddin rejected the proposal, insisting he had the signed support of 117 MPs.

But Anwar has since succeeded in getting the support of the other coalitions — Barisan Nasional (30 seats), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (22 seats), and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (six seats) for a total of 140 seats — to helm the federal government.