This is not a ‘unity govt’, says Ismail

(Malaysia Now) – Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob today said the current administration he heads is not a “unity government” despite the offer to opposition parties to be part of the National Recovery Council (NRC).

“(They are) not in the Cabinet. There is no unity government involving opposition parties,” he told the press during a visit to inspect flood-hit areas in Yan, Kedah, today, dismissing speculation by some opposition leaders on social media.

Ismail also said he would meet with opposition leaders to discuss their role in cooperating with the government to overcome the Covid-19 crisis.

Yesterday, in his maiden address to the nation after being sworn in as the ninth prime minister, Ismail urged all quarters to put aside their political loyalties, and offered to work together with the opposition in the country’s exit route from the pandemic under the NRC as well as the Special Committee on Covid-19, both set up by former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Ismail today said such cooperation did not have to be at the Cabinet level.

“They can offer their views in the Special Committee on Covid-19,” he added.

In the run-up to the palace’s announcement that Ismail had the majority support of MPs, there had been calls by opposition leaders and supporters urging the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to establish a unity government comprising Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders.

MalaysiaNow previously quoted a PKR source as saying that PH chairman Anwar Ibrahim was pushing for a “unity government” and “new consensus” in the hope that it would open the path to working with Umno MPs aligned with former leader Najib Razak.

Ismail meanwhile urged the public to ignore several lists allegedly containing the names of his Cabinet members that had been making the rounds on social media, saying they were fake.

“Every day there’s a new list. But it’s good, it can help me,” he said in jest.