MUDA president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s decision to not align with the unity government nor with the Perikatan Nasional (PN) opposition bloc should be seen in a positive light from the perspective of the unity government, said a former minister.
Former Bangi MP Professor Dr Ong Kian Ming said this is because with the loss of the two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat following the Muar MP’s exit, the unity government will no longer be “held hostage” by one or two individuals for the passage of any constitutional amendments.
Ong cited the proposed amendments to Part II of the Federal Constitution regarding citizenship matters or changing the number of parliamentary seats arising from a delimitation exercise as examples.
“I am referring not just to Syed Saddiq but also to the two MPs from MCA, to the one MP from MIC, and to the MPs from smaller parties in Sabah and Sarawak who may want to extract certain concessions from the Prime Minister in exchange for supporting these constitutional amendments,” he said in a statement today (Sept 11).
“Instead, the unity government would have to seek broad-based consensus from all parties from within the unity government as well as from the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition on matters such as the delimitation exercise which begins in 2026.”
Ong claimed despite some PN leaders asking voters in Pulai to deny the two-thirds majority to the unity government to stop the creation of more parliamentary seats in the delimitation exercise, PAS – and to a lesser extent, Bersatu – leaders also would not mind seeing an increase in the number of parliamentary seats in Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.
All four states have not seen any parliament seat increases since 1995.
“The loss of the two-thirds majority may also open the door for the government to sign some sort of memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the opposition which includes supporting certain government bills including a Political Financing Act which would institutionalise equal constituency allocation for government as well as opposition MPs,” he continued.
“This could be a gesture of good faith which results in the opposition no longer making any more calls to replace the government through non-electoral means and also sets the pathway towards more substantive reforms which are supported by both sides of the aisle including the above-mentioned constitutional changes.”
Ong further noted that Muda’s new alignment would stop questions on why Syed Saddiq was attacking the government over certain decisions when he was ostensibly supporting the government in Parliament.
“Now that the political lines have been drawn, this would also mean that DAP would no longer have to support MUDA in the manner that we supported Syed Saddiq in Muar during the 15th general election (GE15) campaign and in the Puteri Wangsa state seat during the Johor state elections in January 2022,” he added.
Ong also expressed hopes that Syed Saddiq and his colleagues in Muda can play their part in coming up with “credible and substantive policies on how to improve government and governing processes at the local, state and federal levels.
“I wish Syed Saddiq and Muda all the best in their efforts to be a third force in Malaysian politics,” he added.
Yesterday (Sept 10), Syed Saddiq officially announced that he will no longer be part of the unity government, describing the decision as a “tough” one but one that must be done.
He said the government’s move to drop the 47 corruption charges against Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had made it difficult for Muda to remain with the government.
According to Syed Saddiq, his party, which has one seat in the Dewan Rakyat, would form a “third force” in the opposition bloc “as the voice of the rakyat” and to provide check and balance. – Sept 11, 2023
Main pic credit: UtusanTV