It is not an ideal situation that many had expected where Pakatan Harapan signs a memorandum of understanding (MOU) before the first sitting of the Parliament and is forced to work closely with the other side of the spectrum i.e. Barisan Nasional, GPS, and GRS in a unity government where the Prime Minister may be restricted in some areas. Image source: Free Malaysia Today
MOU Prelude to Parliament Seating
One of the immediate actions that Anwar Ibrahim undertook once appointed as the Prime Minister of a Unity Government is to agree on a vote of confidence in the very first sitting of the Parliament post GE15. So why there is a need for an MOU despite all parties agreeing on a unity government?
An agreement has been sealed between all coalitions and parties in the government, which is now known as the Malaysia unity government.
Describing the signing as an interesting and meaningful occasion and a landmark in the country’s political history and landscape, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the signatories had agreed to the way forward that will guarantee political stability and to uplift the nation’s good name and integrity.
(Source: The Star)
To be frank, it is a brilliant move by Pakatan Harapan to get added insurance that the various loose coalitions that have agreed to come together with Pakatan Harapan will not back-stab the unity government but turn back on their political party wishes and vote for no-confidence against Anwar Ibrahim.
The full content of the MOU is as follows:-
Criticisms Against MOU
It did not take long for Perikatan Nasional (PN) who opted against joining Pakatan Harapan to form a unity government to criticize the MOU signed between Pakatan Harapan, Barisan Nasional, GPS & GRS as unconstitutional, illegal, and dangerous.
The pact among the coalitions under the unity government was signed in an open and sincere manner without any hidden agenda, says communications and digital minister Fahmi Fadzil.
Fahmi reiterated that this pact would enable the government to focus efforts on national development and solving the people’s problems.
Training his guns on Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Muhyiddin Yassin and Masjid Tanah MP Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, who were reported to have criticised the agreement, Fahmi said they should not criticise the agreement simply because they are not with the unity government now.
“To me, Mas Ermieyati and Muhyiddin are hypocrites. How come they did not say the agreement between PH and the previous government was autocratic when it is almost similar to the current MoU?”
Apart from that, Fahmi said Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had never closed the door to cooperation with any party for the sake of the country.
(Source: Free Malaysia Today)
The key criticism is on Clause 4.b. which states if any of the politicians go against the wishes of the political party, he/she will lose his/her Parliamentary seat based on the Article 49A of the Constitution amended to prevent politicians from hopping from one party to another.
It is unfair to put all the blames on Anwar Ibrahim and the overall leaders in Pakatan Harapan in the situation that we have now although there is some fault that Pakatan Harapan will need to bear. The propaganda against Pakatan Harapan in the recent GE15 is overwhelming and has failed to be addressed effectively.
In the end, we have this loose coalition of various political parties led by Pakatan Harapan. One has to accept that there will be huge constraints which one can live with as the alternative of having Perikatan Nasional as the Federal Government will be worse. Perikatan Nasional leaders are well known to be absent from Parliament and their performance as the Ministers & Deputy Ministers was dismal and unimpressive.
Thus MOU is necessary to ensure that the loose coalition remains united and the country can move on with the reforms that were left unfinished back in 2020 when the Pakatan Harapan Federal Government fell due to the Sheraton Move.