FORMER Bangi MP Dr Ong Kian Ming said if Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) 22 months in government post-GE14 has taught Malaysians anything, it should be that they should not expect results to be “delivered overnight”.
“We should give some room for the policy agenda of the Unity Government to be set by [Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim] and his team,” said the DAP man in a statement today (Dec 5).
“We should anticipate the appointment of many capable deputy ministers among the ranks of the MPs who are not yet part of the front bench.
“We should expect some level of political intrigue and uncertainty in 2023 due to the UMNO party elections and the state elections in Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Penang, Selangor and Negri Sembilan.
“We should hope for a stable government that can last the full five-year term and show slow and steady progress in the delivery political and economic reform during this time.”
Collaborating with UMNO
Ong said the possibility of working with UMNO to form a government post-GE15 had already been raised by DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke back in May 2021 and repeated in August 2022.
While many PH supporters had heavily criticised Loke’s idea of collaborating with UMNO, Ong went on to note that “many of the same critics would later welcome the support of UMNO’s 26 MPs for Anwar as Prime Minister post-GE15 when it was clear what the alternative would be”.
He said in the context of a hung Parliament and to “dampen criticism” among the Malay electorate that a PH-led government would be controlled by DAP and the non-Malays, the inclusion of UMNO in a unity government makes “logical” political sense.
“The appointment of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and a Cabinet Minister should be seen in a similar light – to provide much needed political stability and to deliver institutional reforms,” Ong justified.
“As explained by the UMNO secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, the appointment is based on Zahid’s position as the President of UMNO which means that whoever wins the UMNO party elections – slated for the first quarter of 2023 – will have the assurance of being appointed as DPM if a new president is elected.”
Ong said the fact that there are six UMNO ministers – compared to only four from DAP despite DAP having 40 MPs to UMNO’s 26 – will also help the UMNO leadership explain that they are “not in an inferior position in government compared to DAP”.
“The controversy surrounding the appoint of Zahid as DPM should not detract from the other positive take away points from the cabinet appointments,” he said.
“The economic team comprising of Anwar as Finance Minister, Rafizi as the Economic Minister and Tengku Zafrul as International Trade and Industry Minister should give investors and the business community confidence that the economy will be well-managed, that pro-FDI policies will continue, and new sources of economic growth can be generated and enhanced.”
Experienced former ministers from different coalitions – Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin and Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said from UMNO, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution from PKR, Mohamad Sabu and Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub from Amanah, Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi and Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) – will give sufficient weight and heft to the new Cabinet, he added.
“Experienced MPs who are also familiar public faces such as Nga Kor Ming (DAP), Chang Lih Kang (PKR), Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (PKR), Fahmi Fadzil (PKR) and Hannah Yeoh (DAP) will further bring new ideas and energies to their respective ministries,” Ong assured. – Dec 5, 2022
Main pic credit: The Edge Markets