There are “red lines” that should not be violated by government and opposition parties, such as Malaysia becoming more kleptocratic, authoritarian and undemocratic, said veteran opposition lawmaker Lim Kit Siang.
He said this in reference to the government-Pakatan Harapan deal that was inked on Sept 13.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed could fail at any given time, Lim said, but the failure should not stem from Harapan’s non-fulfilment of their obligations.
“One question that is frequently asked in DAP zoom meetings throughout the country is whether the confidence-supply-reform (CSR) MOU signed between Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Pakatan Harapan can fail.
“Yes, the MOU can fail as the Ismail Sabri government is not a Harapan government, but any such failure must not stem from Harapan parties not honouring their commitments under the MOU.
“As the Harapan parties have given their commitments in the MOU, we must have the integrity, honesty and principles to ensure that we honour our undertakings in it,” he said in a statement today.
The Iskandar Puteri MP added that there would undoubtedly be disagreements between the government and Harapan.
The opposition lawmaker has been a strong advocate for the MOU. He believed it would lead to a “political moratorium” for 10 to 18 months that was necessary to curb the Covid-19 pandemic and reset institutional and parliamentary reforms.
The MOU includes the prime minister promising a long list of parliamentary and administrative reforms in exchange for Harapan’s pledge not to topple Ismail Sabri through Parliament and support his Budget 2022 bill.
The reforms listed in the ‘MOU on Transformation and Political Stability’ also include the government’s promise to consult Harapan on Budget 2022 and table a law to discourage elected lawmakers from defecting.
The implementation of the reforms listed in the MOU will be monitored by a 10-member, bipartisan steering committee that will meet fortnightly.
Lim said it is a good sign that Ismail Sabri is beginning to implement various proposals stipulated in the MOU but the “red lines” should not be violated by either party involved in the deal.
He commended the efforts to implement anti-hopping legislation as well as ensuring judicial independence.
“I think the very mention of ensuring judicial independence has done more than anything else to reaffirm the commitment of society, irrespective of political differences, to the important constitutional principles of the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.
“This would involve a major work-in-progress, but a start has been made in the memorandum and the steering committee,” he said.