We continue our coverage of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim being announced the 10th Prime Minister by speaking with Iskandar Fareez of REFSA, and exploring how the potential stability of this government, and how likely the Prime Minister will be able to have a lean cabinet.
While the public is currently not privy to more details on the unity government including its cabinet makeup, Iskandar predicts that Perikatan Nasional is not likely to play a large role, as they have been contesting the legitimacy of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s prime ministership. Given the support provided by Sabah and Sarawak major blocs, there should also be a significant presence of the Borneo bloc to ensure diversity of the unity government. Concerns towards the country’s political stability are valid. Recent events are a first step towards addressing this, the devil is in the details of the agreement of parties forming the unity government. Given the recent dissonance within the ranks of Barisan Nasional as well, it is a matter of how things play out in the near future. Upcoming challenges including the passing of Budget 2023 as well as the UMNO general assembly in December are milestones that the public should look out for and will certainly be ironed out in the coming weeks.
The 10th PM’s claims of downsizing the cabinet is also currently up in the air, however Iskandar discusses some alternatives to appointing members of parliament to the cabinet, such as appointing members of parliament as chairmen of select parliamentary committees, thus empowering parliamentary workings and ensuring checks and balances among parties, ministries and governments moving forward. It is also a way to set the groundwork of strengthening parliament and political stability for future general elections and potential hung parliaments, rather than solely focusing on the prime ministership, to ensure past events such as the Sheraton move do not repeat themselves.
For the upcoming government’s agenda, it is insightful to look back at party manifestos during the campaigning period. People should be mindful that it would not just be Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s agenda but also BN and other coalitions’ interests as a shared agenda. Other factors to be considered as part of negotiations are not just parliamentary positions but also what kind of policies to push through as a unity government. It is also important to strengthen and empower the role of the opposition by enhancing the role of the opposition leader and institutionalise the formation of shadow cabinets, thus all involved are able to play their role and contribute to nation building together.
Produced by: Evening Edition
Presented by: Lee Chwi Lynn