Umno veep Johari Abdul Ghani says 10 months too short to judge unity govt’s performance, one term fairer

(MMO) – The effectiveness of the coalition government under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim cannot be properly assessed in just 10 months, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani has said.

He added that a full term is needed to judge whether the “unity government” – as the unlikely ruling parties comprising Pakatan Harapan, Barisan Nasional (BN), Gabungan Parti Sarawak, and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah have been dubbed – has performed well or otherwise in managing Malaysia, including on the economic front, Utusan Malaysia reported today.

Johari noted that the unity government had to grapple with more than the global economic slowdown in just the first 10 months of its rule.

“At the same time, we are also finding an appropriate way to work with the political parties that are in the unity government. For example PKR, DAP, Umno and also Parti Amanah Negara,” he was quoted as telling reporters while visiting Kampung Orang Asli Kampung Sungai Gapoi in Bentong, Pahang yesterday.

He said anyone who becomes prime minister has to “organise his team”.

“It’s like playing football, you can’t play alone, you have to be a team, the government also has to be a team,” he was quoted as saying.

Johari, who is also the BN treasurer-general, said each player in the government team has his own expertise; adding that it takes time for them to adapt to other players on their journey.

“That is why there is no coercion and we cannot force the prime minister to make a decision that we think is good for the country.

“So give time to the prime minister. This 10-month period is too short in terms of governing the country,” he was quoted as saying.

He added that the unity government should be given one whole term that ends on December 3, 2027 to prove its effectiveness.

Speculations have arisen that the unity government might undergo a Cabinet reshuffle after the latest data showed Malaysia’s economy to have moderated to 2.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2023, after recording 5.6 percent growth in the previous quarter.

Bank Negara Malaysia’s economic report showed that domestic demand remained the main driver of growth, supported by private consumption and investment.

The report stated that the second quarter was also influenced by a high base effect when the economy recorded strong growth following the effects of economic reopening and policy measures.

Utusan Malaysia also reported that Johari Abdul saying that he personally supports the unity government led by Anwar.

Asked about a possible Cabinet reshuffle, Johari Abdul said the onus is on the prime minister.

“So we have to let the prime minister to make the decision. Whether to reshuffle or not, that is the absolute right of the prime minister. No party should cause pressure,” the Titiwangsa MP was quoted as saying.

Johari Abdul was also asked if he had been “courted” to join the Cabinet.

The Backbencher’s Club chairman said there is no courtship in politics and reiterated that the prime minister decides the Cabinet line-up.