Cover Story

Move forward to restore the rakyat’s mandate

Joint Statement by Mohamad Sabu, Presiden, Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH), and Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General, Democratic Action Party (DAP) on 27th July 2020 

“The way forward is to allow Datuk Seri Anwar the first opportunity to form government and if he fails, then Datuk Seri Shafie should be afforded a similar choice, both based on the solid support of 109 MPs.” 

Since the Sheraton Coup by former PH government MPs who betrayed the people’s  electoral mandate of 2018, AMANAH and DAP have worked tirelessly to reclaim the people’s mandate, acting as the bridge to bring together the five opposition parties forming the original Pakatan Harapan Plus.

AMANAH and DAP are guided by the following key principles: 

First, the solidarity of all anti-Perikatan Nasional parties and forces, which translate into 109 Members of Parliament who opposed the undemocratic and arbitrary change of the Parliamentary Speaker, is crucial.

Second, the question of who to become the next Prime Minister should not be a hindrance to reclaiming the people’s mandate; staying in the opposition just because we fail to find a compromise for the post of the Prime Minister is not acceptable. Failure to agree on the Prime Ministerial candidate gives the impression that the obsession with the post of Prime Minister is more important than the people’s 2018 electoral mandate.

Third, the PH general election manifesto of 2018 should remain as the governing basis of the PH Plus government.    

As a matter of record, AMANAH and DAP gave our full support to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as candidate for the Prime Minister post on 26th February. 

On 28th February and 29th February, Parti KeADILan Rakyat, AMANAH and DAP re-established a coalition relationship with Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and supported Tun as Prime Minister in our effort to prevent an unelected government.

Between March and May 2020, AMANAH and DAP advocated wholeheartedly for the rebuilding of the grand coalition that won the 2018 general election, namely, PKR, DAP, AMANAH, Warisan and Tun Dr. Mahathir’s faction of Bersatu. 

On 30th May, after a long impasse, Majlis Presiden Pakatan Harapan decided that there would be two options: 

Option 1:
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir as Deputy Prime Minister; 

Option 2:
Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Deputy Prime Minister, with transition of power in six months’ time. 

Many intense negotiation sessions were held until 19th June when PKR officially turned down Option 2.

In the spirit of looking for ways to break the impasse, AMANAH, DAP and Warisan leaders and Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s group held an informal meeting to explore further options on 25th June at Rumah Tetamu Sabah, Kuala Lumpur.  

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad explained to the meeting that he did not intend to be Prime Minister for the third time. He was offering himself as a candidate for the post of Prime Minister to help bring down the unelected Perikatan Nasional government and to restore the rightfully elected government. 

It was in this context that Lim Guan Eng made the suggestion, supported by Mohamad Sabu, that Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as the third candidate may help to solve the impasse between Tun Dr. Mahathir and Datuk Seri Anwar. 

Tun Dr. Mahathir graciously agreed to the suggestion of Shafie as candidate for Prime Minister post in just two minutes after it was mooted by AMANAH and DAP. Tun Dr. Mahathir reiterated that it was not about him becoming Prime Minister, it was about saving the nation and restoring the people’s mandate. 

Apart from helping to reduce the animosity of PKR towards Tun Dr Mahathir, Datuk Seri Shafie would be a historic selection as this would be the first time that a leader from Sabah or Sarawak is proposed as Prime Minister.

AMANAH and DAP leaders who attended the informal meeting later informed Tun Dr. Mahathir and other participants that the new Shafie option would have to be brought back to the respective party leadership for thorough discussion and subsequently to be discussed at Majlis Presiden Pakatan Harapan. 

We reiterate that the 109 MPs should be the basis of reclaiming the government, not any lesser groupings of only 91 PH MPs without Warisan and Tun’s Bersatu or only 71 MPs without PKR. AMANAH and DAP share the deep sense of disillusionment among Malaysians that even with 109 seats in Parliament standing firm against PN despite the offering of Ministerial and GLC positions, we fail to reclaim the people’s mandate. 

We disagree with the idea that Pakatan Harapan could negotiate with anyone with its 91 seats, to the exclusion of Warisan and Tun Dr. Mahathir’s group. We also disagree with the idea that any change could happen with 71 MPs, without the participation of PKR’s 38 MPs.  

We are of the view that whether it is Anwar or Shafie, based on 109 MPs, whoever gets the requisite number to get across the line of 112 MPs, should be given the opportunity to lead the coalition government as Prime Minister.  

There are those who say that since the opposition could not resolve the question of Prime Ministership, we should just stay in the opposition to wait until the next general election. We beg to differ. Any formula of winning the next general elections alone as PH or without PH would be difficult. Only PH Plus involving PH, Warisan and Tun’s Bersatu is the winning combination for the next general elections. This unified force should be the basic premise not a divided or diminished opposition grouping.

Further, giving up the effort to reclaim government is not only irresponsible, but by itself a betrayal of the voters’ choice on 9th May 2018. By not trying to win back government as quickly as possible, it would serve only to legitimise the Sheraton Coup, an unelected government, all its undemocratic policies and more importantly, its lack of political will to promote transparency and fight corruption. This travesty of justice should not be allowed to happen.  

The way forward is to allow Datuk Seri Anwar the first opportunity to form government and if he fails, then Datuk Seri Shafie should be afforded a similar choice, both based on the solid support of 109 MPs.

In the meantime, the 109 PH Plus MPs and the five parties, namely, AMANAH, DAP, PKR, Warisan and Tun Dr. Mahathir’s faction of Bersatu, should work very closely together to play the role of a highly effective and united opposition, with the objective of:

  • Inspiring hope in a dark time of political, economic and Covid-19 crises.
  • Building trust and national unity among all Malaysians in the face of the divisive Perikatan Nasional.
  • Exposing scandals such as 1MDB and championing clean government with integrity.
  • Strengthening economic security and economic solidarity among Malaysians in the face of the greatest economic crisis in generations which was triggered by the Covid-19 crisis. 
  • Offering policy prescriptions and alternatives based on experience, expertise and competence gained during Pakatan Harapan’s  tenure in office.

Mohamad Sabu,
President, Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH).

Lim Guan Eng,
Secretary-General, Democratic Action Party (DAP). 

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