KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – The stability of Malaysia’s newly-formed unity government hinges largely on whether Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim succeeds in securing the support of the majority of MPs when a motion of confidence in his leadership is tabled at the Dewan Rakyat next Monday.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman himself has said he is confident of securing the support of two-thirds of the Dewan Rakyat in the confidence vote.
Some quarters, however, still think it is a difficult feat to achieve, basing their views on allegations that certain parliamentarians from parties aligned with the unity government are unhappy with the decision of their leaders to support Anwar.
Political analyst Prof Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmood feels even though it will be easy for Anwar to obtain a simple majority (112 votes), it is, however, vital for him to secure a two-thirds majority in order to deflect any uncertainty in the nation’s administration.
“If it’s a case of a simple majority, the government will still be secure but may not be all that strong. There’s always the risk of a party or coalition, which is a part of the unity government, withdrawing its support later on if it happens to be dissatisfied with something or other. Thus, we may see a repeat of the political instability we witnessed previously.
“What’s more, the anti-hopping law (Constitution [Amendment] [No. 3] Act 2022) only prevents individuals (MPs) from joining another party but doesn’t stop any party from withdrawing from the government,” he told Bernama, adding that this situation may cause problems in the future if Anwar fails to get a two-thirds majority in Monday’s confidence vote.
MAJORITY SUPPORT ESSENTIAL
Nik Ahmad Kamal, who heads the National Council of Professors’ Governance, Legislation and Management Cluster, said such a situation can be avoided if Anwar secures the support of two-thirds of the Lower House.
“To get this two-third support, Anwar will need 148 MPs to vote for him. So should BN (Barisan Nasional) decide to pull out from the unity government later, Anwar’s government will stay intact because it still has the support of 118 MPs,” he said.
He added that with majority support, the government led by Anwar can focus fully on efforts to spur economic recovery, develop the nation and improve the well-being of the people.
PH, which leads the unity government, has 82 seats in the Dewan Rakyat and is supported by BN (30 seats), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (23), Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (six), Warisan (three) and independents (two) as well as Parti Bangsa Malaysia and Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Malaysia with one seat each.
The confidence vote in Anwar’s leadership is among the main items listed on the agenda for the first meeting of the first term of the 15th Parliament of Malaysia, which will be held over two days starting Dec 19.
According to the Notice for the First Meeting issued by Dewan Rakyat secretary Dr Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin for distribution among MPs, the motion of confidence is listed as item No 8 in the meeting order.
Several analysts have described the Tambun MP’s move to test his majority support in the Dewan Rakyat as “bold and risky”. They said he did not need a motion of confidence to be tabled in Parliament as his appointment as the nation’s 10th prime minister was legally valid.
For the record, a motion of confidence was tabled on Jan 27, 1976, to test the support for the third prime minister Tun Hussein Onn. A similar motion was tabled on Nov 3, 2003, to gauge the support for the fifth prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
National Council of Professors senior fellow and political analyst Datuk Dr Jeniri Amir, meanwhile, said he is confident Anwar will be backed firmly by all the parties that have agreed to form a unity government with PH.
“In fact, he (Anwar) has already secured the majority and there’s no reason for any MP to defect. Moreover, our unity government was formed based on the advice of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah. So if anyone goes against this wish, it will affect not only their image as an MP but also the position of the prime minister and the unity government,” he said.
Commenting on Anwar’s decision to test his support in Parliament, Jeniri said it is the “best way for him to ensure that he can continue administering the nation properly”.
“It will also give him a positive image in and outside the nation and it will have a positive impact on the stock market and foreign investments,” he added.
Translated by Rema Nambiar
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