WHILE there have been calls for Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to be omitted from the soon-to-be-formed Cabinet, former PKR vice-president Tian Chua has argued that the UMNO president could play a key role in stabilising Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s government.
According to FMT, Tian Chua pointed out that Zahid was “instrumental” in the formation of the unity government, which saw Barisan Nasional agreeing to collaborate with its political arch nemesis Pakatan Harapan (PH), with other coalitions and parties following suit soon after.
Tian Chua further noted that while there were forces within BN that had strongly opposed to the coalition joining hands with PH, Zahid had stood firm in his decision.
“PH and BN leaders have to build trust and confidence in each other,” he was quoted as saying by the news portal in a statement.
“Undeniably, there is still scepticism within BN, especially UMNO. But Zahid has demonstrated his ability to consolidate BN into a unified stand to cooperate with PH.
“Zahid’s experience in government is a plus (point) and he could complement the largely inexperienced PH ministers. He could also mediate between PH and the civil service as well as the conservative segments of the government.
“Zahid could also be useful in linking up other component parties in the grand coalition, such as Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS).”
The former Batu MP further argued that excluding Zahid and the “court cluster” from the Cabinet line-up would simply be a “superficial public relations exercise” and would not automatically mean a cleaner government.
He noted that while the previous administration did not have ministers or deputy ministers with court cases, allegations of direct negotiations and favouritism in procurement had remained an issue.
However, Zahid’s inclusion in the Cabinet should not mean immunity from prosecution, he added.
“Trial proceedings should continue and Zahid must prove his innocence in court,” Tian Chua stressed.
He further pointed out that if BN were to nominate Zahid for a Cabinet post, it was not up to PH to reject, describing this as part of the principles of cooperation and collective responsibility.
“If we want to be serious about (weeding out) corruption, we need genuine reforms to systematically overhaul our governing institutions,” he argued.
“To undertake comprehensive reforms, we need a strong and effective government. Fortunately, PH enjoyed a good start. However, it cannot afford a divergence with BN at this early stage. Cooperation between Anwar and Zahid is absolutely crucial.”
When quizzed about calls for MPs with court cases to be excluded from the Cabinet, Anwar told reporters yesterday that he would “take all views into consideration”
The newly-minted prime minister went on to stress that in terms of the law, one is guilty only when there is a conviction.
In addition to Zahid, MPs with ongoing court cases include DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng, MUDA president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and Sabah UMNO chief Bung Moktar Radin.
Anwar is expected to name his Cabinet within days. He leads a unity government comprising PH, BN, GPS and GRS, with support from MPs from MUDA, Warisan, Parti Bangsa Malaysia and independents. – Nov 29, 2022
Main pic credit: The Star