The Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) said it hopes newly minted Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob's offer to involve the opposition in the fight against Covid-19 won't be like what was offered by his predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin.
Muda pro-tem vice-president Mutalib Uthman (above) noted that Muhyiddin had included opposition representatives on the special committee to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the emergency, but it barely played a meaningful role.
He noted that the committee was left in the dark even when the emergency ordinances were revoked by the government.
"Hopefully, it won't be like the previously formed emergency committee. When the emergency ended, even its members didn't know about it," Mutalib said.
The opposition's representatives on the emergency committee were Amanah's Dzulkefly Ahmad, DAP's Anthony Loke and PKR's Saifuddin Nasution.
The emergency expired on Aug 1.
With the emergency committee appearing more of a window dressing than an actual advisory panel, the opposition decided to snub the Muhyiddin government's offer for the opposition to join the subsequent National Recovery Council (NRC).
Ismail, in his inaugural speech as the prime minister following Muhyiddin's ouster, renewed the offer for the opposition to join the NRC and the Special Committee on Covid-19.
Opposition parties have responded cautiously, expressing willingness to consider the offer, but warned that they won't accept a token appointment to rubber-stamp the government's decisions.
Mutalib further said Ismail can show a better commitment to his "Malaysian Family" message by appointing an opposition MP as a minister.
Ismail had urged government and opposition MPs to close ranks, describing them as all being part of the "Malaysian Family".
Mutalib also urged Ismail to walk the talk on reconciliation by approving Muda's bid to become a political party.
Muhyiddin's government had previously blocked Muda's registration.
"We love our country and together, we want to see this country out of the current crisis.
"As a reminder, Muda was the first party that proposed that the government and opposition sit at the same table.
"Unfortunately, the Perikatan Nasional government (under Muhyiddin) at the time only wanted to do it when it was on the verge of collapse.
"The government must be sincere in its offer," Mutalib said.
He also called for equal allocation for all MPs, regardless of whether they are from the government or the opposition.
He added that Ismail must also ensure that the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 will be enforced in time for the 15th general election, which is due in 21 months.