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ADUN SPEAKS | It's the PM who needs an olive branch from Harapan

ADUN SPEAKS | To speak of the prospective understanding between the government and opposition as an olive branch extended by the prime minister, is both inaccurate and disingenuous. It is akin to equating a sick patient extending an olive branch to the doctor who has offered to treat.

It is no secret that forces of disenchantment and sentiments of disgruntlement among the government supporting bloc are strong. The president of the single largest party in the government supporting bloc has tabled motions with the effect of a vote of confidence, albeit not being a money bill. 

To move the removal of a sitting parliamentary speaker is a test of majority, as House speakers in Malaysian realpolitik are servants of the government of the day.

Continuing the 'scheme of things' legacy of the unceremoniously removed former premier Muhyiddin Yassin, with additional appointment of minister-level advisors and ambassadors, is a sure sign of the PM's nervous grip on power.

The aversion towards a vote of confidence in Parliament to stamp out any doubt over the majority he enjoys is also a clear symptom of the distress the PM may be dealing with underneath the calm facade. 

If there was ever a prime minister who took over a fragile poison chalice, with unprecedentedly challenging circumstances and a permanently power-ravenous stable of cannibalistic carnivores as his support base in Parliament, it is Ismail Sabri Yaakob. He is the patient that is seeking a doctor's prescription of an antidote.

The confidence and supply understanding (CSU) he is attempting to sign with the opposition is not only a CSU, it is the PM's cry for salvation undertaking. 

He and his government are in desperate need of a vaccine that could immunise against political upheaval from within and power plays that would further destabilise the already critical national condition.

Pakatan Harapan, since the PM's swearing-in, has heeded proactively and tirelessly His Royal Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's decree to usher in a new political norm. 

By offering constructive views in public as well as on the negotiation table, putting utmost priority on matters of policy interventions and reform agendas; Harapan is leveraging on our strengths to provide direction to the government.

Cast aside policy calls of old that have yet to be realised like anti-hopping legislation that the DAP has been calling for since 1976, and Undi18 that was passed unanimously under Harapan, Ismail Sabri's announcement is at best an invitational gift for us to extend to him an olive branch.

Whilst I take full cognisance - for all the above reason - of the need for Ismail Sabri to show strength, and politically posture a position of power, by framing a persona of magnanimity; it is disingenuous to monopolise the goodwill by announcing ex parte a bipartisan understanding.

The negotiations and deliberations, the countless back-and-forth drafts and amendments over the past weeks of the prospective understanding, have been between a party 'needing to offer', namely the PM, and another 'prepared to accept', namely Harapan.

If the PM wants to avert another crisis like the one that he went through as deputy prime minister, he needs to do more. Ismail Sabri does not possess a single cell of reform in him. But if reforms are what he is willing to put on the table to get security, it has to be more than the piecemeal announcement of seven items he made on Sept 11.

If what he is willing to concede is sufficient and worthy of our consideration, then he may get the olive branch from us that he so desperately needs.

Harapan is willing to come to an understanding with our PM and his government, for the sake of the nation and our fellow Malaysians. But it has to be nothing less than a game-changer.


HOWARD LEE is the state assemblyperson for Pasir Pinji in Perak and the DAP Youth chief.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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