Malaysian govt and Pakatan Harapan ink deal on historic bipartisan cooperation

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s government and main opposition bloc Pakatan Harapan (PH) on Monday (Sept 13) inked a historic bipartisan deal, paving the way for significant reforms that could potentially have a lasting impact on institutions and the political landscape.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, accompanied by several members of his administration, inked the deal with PH, led by Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Anwar Ibrahim, at a signing ceremony in Malaysia’s Parliament, hours after the Lower House sat for the first time under Datuk Seri Ismail’s administration.

Mr Ismail said in a statement that the deal – a memorandum of understanding – covered six main areas. 

Among the key areas of reform is to transform administration, empower Parliament and also to strengthen the independence of the judiciary, Mr Ismail said on Monday. 

The deal also outlines that Parliament will not be dissolved before August next year, meaning Malaysia will not face a general election for at least another year. 

More details regarding the contents of the memorandum are expected to be made public later on Monday. 

“The government is confident that this agreement will not only put aside all political differences, but enables national recovery to be done holistically and with inclusivity,” Mr Ismail said.

The government and PH announced that an accord had been reached on Sunday after weeks of negotiations between the two sides. 

Despite Mr Ismail beginning to engage PH leaders days into his premiership and before even forming his Cabinet, the deal was threatened a couple of times as Mr Ismail’s administration opted not to pursue a vote of confidence to test his majority in Parliament. 

There were also concerns from the opposition following reports that Najib Razak – the former premier convicted of corruption for the 1MDB financil scandal- will be given an adviser role in Mr Ismail’s administration.

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