The Malaysian government led by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and the main opposition Pakatan Harapan bloc led by Anwar Ibrahim on Monday (Sept 13) inked a historic confidence-and-supply agreement (CSA).
Officially titled "Memorandum of Understanding for Transformation and Political Stability", the deal should cool political temperatures and allow sharper focus to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and economic malaise.
Here are the main points of the deal:
1. The government will not propose the dissolution of Parliament before July 31 next year.
2. The government will do its best to fulfil each transformation proposal within the timeframe agreed by both sides.
3. To reciprocate, PH agreed to:
- support or abstain in Parliament in the vote on Budget 2022 (to be unveiled on Oct 29), after mutual agreement on its content.
- support or abstain in any government proposal or Bill, where failure for it to pass will be seen as a form of no-confidence vote on the government. The proposal or Bill will first have to be agreed by the government and PH.
4. Both sides agree that the deal does not prevent PH from playing its check-and-balance role.
The following are steps the government agreed to undertake.
1. Transforming the Administration:
- Introduce a Bill to prevent MPs from hopping to another party.
- Hasten introduction of Undi18 to reduce voting age from 21 to 18, and allowing automatic voter registration.
- Limiting the term of the Prime Minister to 10 years.
(All three must be fulfilled not later than the first parliamentary sitting next year).
2. Independence of the Judiciary: Judges must always be free from any interference.
3. Malaysia Agreement of 1963 (MA63): All matters related to MA63, in which Sabah and Sarawak have equal status to Peninsular Malaysia, must be fulfilled.
4. Strengthening Covid-19 Plan:
- National Recovery Council to consist of 50 per cent experts, 25 per cent MPs from Pakatan Harapan and 25 per cent government MPs.
- Additional outlay of RM45 billion (S$14.6 billion) for Covid-19 funds, taking the total to RM110 billion.
- Raising implementation of find, test, trace, isolate, support and vaccinate.
- RM10 billion targeted at 11 million people who are 'desperately poor', urban poor and those who have lost livelihoods.
- Moratorium on paying interest for bank loans for those in the B50 group (Bottom 50/poor).
- Incentives to hire workers and help small and medium-sized enterprises through Covid-19 Fund.
- Quicker purchase of six million extra vaccine doses.
(All must be fulfilled before the end of 2021)
5. Parliamentary reform
- Tabling and approving a Parliament Service Bill to ensure Parliament is an independent institution.
- Strengthening of Select Parliamentary Committees.
- Equal allocations for government and opposition MPs.
- Membership of Select Parliamentary Committees must be more balanced.
- Parliament's Standing Order to be amended to ensure proceedings in the Lower House and Upper House (Senate) will be more organised and effective.
- Office of the Opposition Leader is to be given appropriate rights and facilities.
(All must be carried out immediately)
Sources: Malaysian government, Pakatan Harapan