PSM: Opposition should take Ismail's deal, setting caveats will cause setbacks

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PSM: Opposition should take Ismail's deal, setting caveats will cause setbacks
PSM: Opposition should take Ismail's deal, setting caveats will cause setbacks

PSM deputy chairperson S Arutchelvan said the opposition should take Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob's offer of reforms instead of setting caveats which could lead to setbacks.

Arutchelvan said reforms were often secured only when the government had a weak majority.

"It must be understood that these proposals did not come from a position of strength from Ismail Sabri but rather the vulnerable situation he is in.

"It is said that when the Parliament is hung, it is the best time to push for reforms and it is the best time for the rakyat to put forward their demands.

"We must also understand when ex-prime minister Najib Razak moved to get rid of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and other emergency proclamation before, it was done when BN already lost its two-third majority," Arutchelvan said.

Ultimately, he said the reforms will benefit the people.

"The opposition should not delay on these reforms as most of these reforms are not new and are reforms which they themselves have spoken about before.

"The opposition, by putting caveats or trying to score small goals, will only create setbacks and show that they are not interested in fundamental changes.

"They must understand that institutional reforms will benefit the rakyat as well as the new government unless they were never serious about it," he said.

With a slim majority, Ismail Sabri has been in talks with the opposition to offer various institutional reforms in exchange for support in order to ensure political stability.

Yesterday, Ismail Sabri announced his proposed reforms, including the tabling of an anti-party-hopping law, expediting the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18, limiting the prime minister’s term to 10 years, as well as equal treatment of opposition MPs on policy engagement and allocations.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim
PKR president Anwar Ibrahim

However, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said discussions were still needed to find common ground while DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng expected Ismail Sabri to do "substantially" more.

Arutchelvan said he hoped Anwar will accept Ismail Sabri's offer to make the opposition leader position equal to that of a minister but at the same time reject the salaries that come with it.

"He should do a free public service during the pandemic rather than profit from it. This will give a clear message to other people who are accepting new ministerial posts with salaries.

"Many common Malaysians out there have shown exceptional qualities during the pandemic in giving their services (for) free and it is time politicians show equal commitment," he said.

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