Pressure mounts on PM to call off MoU after Sosma motion rejected by opposition

24 Mar 2022 09:50pm
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is being pressured by his party leaders to call off the MoU.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is being pressured by his party leaders to call off the MoU.

SHAH ALAM - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob seems to be under tremendous pressure from Umno to call off the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the opposition, a move that could see the government dissolve Parliament much earlier than scheduled next year.

This comes after the Dewan Rakyat rejected a government bill to amend subsection 4(5) of the Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) for the next five years starting from July 31. The opposition rejected the government's proposal to detain suspects without a trial for up to 28 days for another five more years.

Umno has been consistently calling for snap polls after its back-to-back landslide wins under the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in the Melaka state elections, and more recently, the Johor state elections two weeks back.

Party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in a Facebook posting said that both Umno and BN must opt-out of such a “weak cooperation” between the opposition and the government, after the former’s failure to agree or abstain from a motion brought about by the government.

Zahid said in his post that this move clearly shows how the opposition is not at all interested in honouring the MoU nor are they interested in political stability.

“This is because, if we refer to the MoU between the government and the Opposition (Pakatan Harapan), Article 3 clearly states that the Opposition must agree, or abstain, in any motion brought by the government. It is one of the steps taken to create political stability in the current administration.

“However, when the motion failed due to lack of support from the Opposition, it is appropriate for all of us to say they have broken their promises, violated the agreement and ignored their previous commitments," Zahid said.

The Bagan Datuk MP added it was pointless to "hold on to promise (of the MoU) and added that the government will not be respected, and is in an unstable situation.

“I think everything is very clear. In fact, our determination and stance during the Umno General Assembly the other day is something rational and well-founded. I hope the rakyat can see how fragile and risky the existing government is in. In fact, it is a great lesson to political parties like Umno and BN," he added.

He said this strengthens his spirit and belief that Umno would rise again and "as a strong, big and respected political force."

The voting session for the amendment to Sosma was nothing short of chaotic - several opposition MPs protested against some government MPs who entered the House after the voting had kicked off, one of whom was Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan.

The media quoted Ahmad saying his absence from the Dewan Rakyat during the voting session on March 23 was because he was “assured that the bill to extend Sosma’s detention without trial provision would not have come to a vote, so he left”.

Earlier today, Sinar Daily reported that Umno veteran Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz stating the government may have lost "moral ground" to govern Putrajaya after Dewan Rakyat rejected the motion.

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He was quoted as saying that the government has no right to pass any laws as it has already lost.

On the other hand, DAP secretary-general Loke Siew Fook said in a press conference yesterday that it is the right of the opposition to vote against a motion.

He added that this does not in any way violate the MoU between Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Putrajaya.

The motion in question was submitted by Bersatu's Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin before it was debated by 19 MPs. The government lost by two votes, with 86 MPs voting against the motion and 84 MPs were for the extension, while 40 MPs were absent during the voting session.