KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 — The Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) today indicated it will still vote for the federal government’s proposed laws in Parliament if those Bills are “progressive” and intended for reforms.
This is despite Muda deciding today to withdraw from the unity government and to sit in the opposition bloc in the Dewan Rakyat as a “third force”.
With Muda having only one MP via its president Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, the party’s decision today is still significant as the unity government will lose its confirmed two-thirds majority.
In announcing Muda’s decision, Syed Saddiq on his social media accounts this evening said the party wishes to focus as a “third force” in the opposition bloc to be Malaysians’ voice and to play the role of checks and balances.
“Muda will still support all institutional reform efforts and citizens’ matters,” he said in a brief video clip.
Separately, Muda issued a statement to explain why the party has decided to be a third force, but also suggested that it would vote in favour of “progressive” government Bills in the Dewan Rakyat to make up the two-thirds vote count required legally for those Bills to become law.
“However, Muda will remain committed to support government efforts in the progressive agenda of national development which requires votes from two-thirds of the house such as institutional reforms agenda although Muda is in the opposition bloc as a third force,” the party said in a statement.
Without Syed Saddiq sitting in the government bloc, the unity government would only have 147 MPs on its side — which is one MP short of the 148 MPs required to make two-thirds of the 222-member Dewan Rakyat.
Government Bills that would need two-thirds majority support in the Dewan Rakyat would include those proposing amendments to the Federal Constitution, such as a long-awaited amendment to enable overseas-born children of Malaysian mothers to automatically be Malaysian citizens (just like the overseas-born children of Malaysian fathers).
In the statement, Muda said the main reasons for its decision to be a "third force" in the opposition bloc include the party holding on to the principle of rule of law and the claim that several of the government's decisions recently were allegedly against that principle.
The other reason listed by Muda was the attorney general's recent decision to release Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi from 47 charges allegedly without a "convincing" explanation and which had raised question marks among the public and that this goes against the unity government's principle of fighting corruption.
Another reason was that Muda believes the country's legal institution has been tainted in relation to that decision in Zahid's case and claimed that it was as if the unity government had "normalised" the culture of corruption.
The last reason listed by Muda was that the promises made before elections that reforms would be carried out had allegedly mostly been abandoned with the reason being that this is a new government.
The current unity government is under the leadership of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was sworn in as prime minister on November 24, 2022, which is slightly over nine months now.