KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — Johor Umno deputy chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed has accused the Pakatan Harapan coalition (PH) of manipulating the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for its own political benefit.
In a Facebook post, the former Pulai MP said that the MoU was supposedly for a political ceasefire, but instead, the PH coalition took the opportunity to attack the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and its main component party, Umno.
“Today is the last day of the MoU signed on September 13, 2021 between the government and the Opposition. For me, the end of the MoU signifies that the government is free from the shackles of an Opposition that is smart enough to manipulate it for its own political benefit.
“The period of the MoU was supposedly for a political ceasefire, but the Opposition was more fervent in criticising the government that is led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“I see the Opposition, especially parties in PH, deliberately playing up various issues to undermine Ismail Sabri’s government,” he said.
Nur Jazlan then accused PH of only wanting to extend the MoU to prolong the coalition’s own political life.
“They want to stay in office as MPs and are quite afraid that Ismail Sabri will dissolve Parliament early. The PH leaders seem to already be addicted, addicted to the power and office they had a taste of when they were in government.
“That is why they are trying to manipulate the MoU, to organise a movement to retake Putrajaya in the 15th general election (GE15),” he said.
He described PH leaders as cunning in their ability to manipulate issues to their advantage and created negative perceptions of the government, Umno and BN.
“They know that by leveraging on politicising issues of the people, the ends can justify the means. They have been harping on the issue of subsidies and the rising price of goods to take pot-shots at the government and Umno/BN.
“They even took to the streets to hold demonstrations and flash mobs to make BN a punching bag for political gain,” he said.
He then questioned why PH would only make Umno or BN their targets when there are members of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition in the government.
As a possible answer, he cited two reasons: One being that PH thinks PN is weak and does not see them as a threat, and the second being that the former is leaving the door open for potential cooperation with the latter when GE15 rolls around.
“Maybe they want to change their minds about being cheated by Bersatu. So now, PH only focuses on Umno/BN, whom they know is regaining the trust of the people. PH is afraid because people have no confidence in them after being given the chance to rule for 22 months and failing.
“PH is afraid that the people will punish them, and they will lose badly at GE15. That’s why PH is always trying to attack and weaken Umno/BN. They are trying to create a negative perception of Umno/BN towards the people,” he said.
He then accused PH of abusing the current economic situation and MoU to only attack the government, but in all their criticism, they fail to provide solutions to these issues.
“It’s destructive, and at the same time, they are not helping anything. On the other hand, at the end of the MoU, they demanded Ismail Sabri and the government fulfil all the demands in the MoU.
“PH still wishes to extend the MoU, which is why they are using all sorts of excuses. To the point that the president of PKR and his colleagues in PH want to meet Ismail Sabri to make the claim that some parts of the MoU have not been met by the government.
“They say that there are many more important Bills that need to be enacted, just like Muhyiddin is trying to cash in on the alleged agreement with Ismail Sabri which was not part of the deal,” he said, referring to former prime minister and Bersatu leader Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Muhyiddin first spoke of the contentious Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) deal on July 2, following his meeting with Ismail Sabri. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Muhyiddin first spoke of the contentious Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) deal on July 2, following his meeting with Ismail Sabri, which the former said was to discuss Cabinet appointments, including that of the post of deputy prime minister.
There has been much back and forth on the topic, with the latest being Bersatu secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin saying that the prime minister cannot just push aside the understanding he has with PN after the coalition put its weight to support him to become prime minister.
Nur Jazlan then slammed DAP national chairman Lim Guan Eng’s request to ensure that all state assemblies enact the Anti-Hopping Law before GE15 is held, accusing him of wanting to avoid GE15 being held this year.
“It’s true, now PH has not only failed to become a government, but they have also failed as Opposition, which is the traditional position they have held since the beginning of independence,” he said.
On September 13 last year, the federal government and PH signed the MoU to ink their bipartisan cooperation for the sake of political stability which comprises a Covid-19 plan, administrative transformation, parliamentary reform, judiciary independence, Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the establishment of a steering committee
Ismail Sabri, a vice-president in Umno, was the third person to become prime minister in short succession following Election 2018.
PH’s pick for prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was forced out of office after some PKR and Bersatu MPs switched sides, leading to PH’s ouster and the installation of Muhyiddin in 2020.
As part of the deal, Ismail Sabri offered a list of parliamentary and government administration reforms in exchange for support.
He said the government would table an anti-party hopping Bill, which if passed, would prevent politicians elected on one party’s platform from defecting to another party.
Other proposals included ensuring equal membership in parliamentary special committees for both government and opposition lawmakers and granting the Opposition leader the same remuneration and amenities as a minister.
Umno lawmakers have been calling for an early GE15 following what they claim is the “expiry” of the MoU, which is supposed to happen today.
But clarifications from both sides of the political divide have insisted that the MoU will only expire when Parliament is dissolved, with July 31 being the agreed upon date by its signatories before which a general election would not be called.