A day after Pakatan Harapan announced it was backing its de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister candidate over Dr Mahathir Mohamad, several coalition leaders have come forth to explain why.
According to the former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mujahid Yusof Rawa, this was as the idea of a non-partisan or unity government was “obscure”.
“Mahathir made the prime minister’s power as a decider on the cabinet list without having to take into account the views of party leaders as a consensus.
“[...] The forming of the government with this (the people’s) mandate drives the Harapan cabinet to try to fulfil its manifesto that was agreed to by all parties. Why was this all suddenly discarded with the concept of an obscure unity government?” Mujahid, who is also Amanah vice-president, said in a statement.
He pointed out that all of the former Harapan government’s efforts, such as the lowering of the minimum voting age to 18, declaration of assets for parliamentarians, fight against corruption, have been placed be in jeopardy.
“The Harapan government should be defending these (efforts) because of the issues and not replace the system with a unity government, but to continue with reformation for the sake of unity.
The Parit Buntar MP adds: “Maybe what Mahathir said about a unity government has its challenges may be true but to deny the reform efforts after almost two years with the excuse of too much politicking... Others cause trouble and suddenly Harapan is said to have failed as a reform government?”
Former deputy international trade and industry minister Ong Kian Ming, in a series of tweets this morning, says Mahathir’s plan for government was “unworkable”.
He also denied that Harapan’s decision to no longer back Mahathir as prime minister but Anwar did not constitute a U-turn.
“We thank @chedetofficial (Mahathir’s twitter handle) for not agreeing to form a government with Umno and PAS for principled reason…
“But when he informed Harapan leaders that he wanted to form a government of individuals not of parties, it was clear that this was an unworkable proposal. This new government would not have any obligations to the GE14 Harapan manifesto and is against the mandate of the people in GE14,” he tweeted.
He said they ultimately decided on Anwar to uphold voters’ mandate awarded to Harapan in GE14, especially as Mahathir declined to chair the Harapan presidential council meeting on Tuesday.
“We still recognised him as Harapan chairperson since he did not step down from this position. But he declined the invitation,” Ong, the DAP Bangi MP, said.