With beleaguered Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin believed to be on the brink of resigning, Umno supreme council member Johari Ghani has called for political parties to lead the way in forming a new unity government.
“The reality is that no one political coalition has a simple majority of seats (in the Dewan Rakyat), and no one is in favour of calling a general election at the present time,” said Johari, a former second finance minister.
“As a result, there appears to be no obvious prime ministerial candidate,” he told FMT.
The only way forward was for political parties to form a unity government led by an MP mutually acceptable to all.
He said Umno must also be prepared for any eventuality, including being part of the opposition in the lead up to the next general elections. “Serving as a check-and-balance to the next administration will allow the party to restore lost credibility with the rakyat,” Johari said.
“All discussions on the appointment of the next prime minister and his cabinet must be done between political parties, with Umno’s president and the deputy president leading negotiations on the party’s behalf,” Johari said.
Umno MPs should not be allowed to participate in such deliberations in their personal capacity, he said.
“The party must always come first,” Johari said. “Every decision must be made by its Supreme Council, and every party member must support and abide by that decision.”
In his personal opinion, the party must no longer tolerate any MP who said that he chooses not to abide by a Supreme Council decision for whatever reason.
Johari said the first task for political parties is to reach a consensus on the tenure and objectives of the proposed unity government.
“My view is that it ought to be set up to act as an interim administration for a fixed period of no longer than 12 months pending the calling of a general election,” he said.
Agenda for the new government
Johari added that the efforts of the unity government must be directed in four areas – the Covid-19 pandemic, welfare of the rakyat, management of the government’s finances, and reviving the economy.
The first priority would be to lead the country out of the Covid-19 pandemic by achieving herd immunity quickly through vaccinations. The new government should also ensure the transparent management and distribution of vaccines.
“At the same time, the new government must also give priority to the welfare of the rakyat who have been suffering greatly throughout the pandemic due to misgovernance,” he said.
The new government must manage the public coffers efficiently and transparently with priority being given to enhancing the management of the public health system.
The fourth critical matter is to get the economy back on track. Businesses must be allowed to re-open as soon as possible with very strict guidelines.
He called for the setting up of an economic task force consisting of experts to meet business owners and investors over their concerns as well as manage their expectations.
All Umno MPs must put the nation’s interest first, he said.
“We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the last 17 months which has seen us lose every economic advantage as a result of the incompetence and instability of the outgoing PN government,” Johari said.
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