Ismail’s govt didn’t need PH to stay in power, says Loke

 Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government did not need to enter an agreement with Pakatan Harapan to stay in power, says DAP secretary-general Loke Siew Fook. It already had a majority.

(FMT) – Speaking to FMT, Loke said: “You have to understand, even without the MoU these groups of people are in power. The MoU does not contribute to keeping them in power, they are already in power. Even without the MoU, they still have a simple majority.”

Ismail had become prime minister in August last year with the support of 114 MPs, giving his government a simple majority in the Dewan Rakyat.

He signed the MoU on “political stability and transformation” with the leaders of PH component party leaders the following month.

The MoU has been criticised for having kept in power a group of people responsible for the rising cost of living, a weak economy and other problems.

However, Loke said the MoU had played an important role in bringing about necessary political and democratic reforms.

“What the MoU has done is that the opposition uses its strength in Parliament to ensure that certain concessions were made to reform the country and one prime example of that is the passing of the anti-hopping law,” he said.

Ismail and PH had agreed upon 18 key conditions under the MoU, including the implementation of a two-term limit for the prime minister, ensuring judicial independence, reinstating the Parliamentary Services Act, and amendments to the parliamentary Standing Orders.

The anti-hopping bill was approved by the Dewan Rakyat last week, with 209 MPs voting in favour, while 11 were absent.

Loke said a few items in the MoU remained unfulfillled, such as the prime minister’s term limit. He hoped they could be implemented before the next general election (GE15).

While the MoU does not have an expiry date, it states that the government and PH had agreed not to hold GE15 before July 31.

In March, Loke had proposed an extension to the MoU on the condition that Ismail delivers on all items in the agreement. PH has since faced criticism for clinging to the agreement and even calling for its extension over fears that an early GE15 may be called.

However, in July, the prime minister declared that Umno had decided against it, adding that he would abide by his party’s decision.

“Well, the election is not our call any more,” Loke said. “The MoU stated that elections should not be called before July 31 so it’s up to the prime minister, it’s up to the government of the day, to call for an election. It’s not our call so we have to be prepared ourselves.”