Opposition to re-submit no-confidence motion against Najib

Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said that as Opposition Leader, she will send a new motion which will represent the Pakatan Harapan pact.
Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said that as Opposition Leader, she will send a new motion which will represent the Pakatan Harapan pact.

Efforts to unseat Prime Minister Najib Razak in Parliament have stalled after the opposition decided to resubmit a new motion of no confidence in his leadership, replacing one already received by the House.

The re-submission will delay the confidence test for the embattled Malaysian leader until after Budget 2016 is decided on.

Despite a confidence vote motion submitted by a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) lawmaker already being placed as one of the last pieces of business in Parliament's Order Paper, party president and Parliamentary Opposition Leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will send a new notice that will symbolically represent the entire opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact.

"I will bring it myself as Opposition Leader. It is to ensure all voices (in PH) agree," Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah said at a press conference yesterday, after discussions with other opposition leaders.

PH, or the Alliance of Hope, brings together 73 lawmakers from PKR, the Democratic Action Party and the newly formed Parti Amanah Rakyat. But Parti Islam SeMalaysia, which has opted not to join PH, has been non-committal on whether its 14 MPs would support a no-confidence vote against Datuk Seri Najib.

Mr Najib is facing mounting calls to resign over alleged financial misconduct in state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and a controversial claim that US$700 million (S$970 million) he received in his personal bank accounts is "political funding".

Analysts say a no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister is not likely to succeed due to the large gap between the number of opposition and ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs in the House.

BN holds a comfortable majority in Parliament with 134 MPs against the 88 in the opposition benches. And the confidence motion might not even be heard, if earlier motions take time to be discussed.

A new motion will take 14 days to appear in the Order Paper, by which time Mr Najib, who is also Finance Minister, would have tabled the Budget, which is scheduled to be debated until Dec 1.

Such supply Bills are also considered a test of confidence in the government, making it the first formal opportunity for lawmakers to remove the Umno president from power.

It is unclear if the opposition can count on the support of MPs from BN, even those who have been critical of the Prime Minister.

Mr Najib's government yesterday went about business as usual on the opening day of the Budget session, winning votes to put in place new members of parliamentary committees.

A Johor MP, Datuk Hasan Arifin, was elected by MPs as the new Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman.

The bipartisan panel's review of 1MDB's accounts had been frozen when four PAC members, including its previous chief Nur Jazlan Mohamed, were co-opted into Mr Najib's administration in July.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2015, with the headline 'Opposition to re-submit no-confidence motion against Najib'. Print Edition | Subscribe