PM Anwar wins 'anti-climatic' vote of confidence

19 Dec 2022 07:52pm
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KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has won his second seal of approval in the Dewan Rakyat today, winning the vote of confidence tabled against him in his maiden parliamentary sitting as the 10th Prime Minister.

In a resounding voice vote -- done at 6.13pm -- following a lengthy and colourful debate by MPs from both divide, Anwar effectively cemented the legitimacy of his premiership that was hotly debated as not a single party secured a simple majority in the recent national poll.

At a press conference held after the vote ended and parliament adjourned, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil such a victory was not only win for the people but had also ended the seeminly ceaseless political crisis over the past few years.

“There is no more accusation that we lack majority," claimed Fahmi who is also Communications and Digital Minister.

“And now, we will focus on our work to manage the people’s welfare- whether in terms of cost of living or the problems faced by the states that are braving floods at this moment,” he added.

Nontheless, the voting today was a tad anti-climatic given the hype and notorierity the vote of confidence had fuelled following the signing of a controversial Memorandum of Understanding between government MPs to vote for Anwar or face automatic resignation as lawmakers.

The MoU became the centerpiece of contention among MPs today as they debated the vote of confidence motion with those of the opposition, arguing that it was unconstitutional as such an instrument had no legal binding and contradicted the Federal Constitution.

There were also those in the opposition bloc who believed that the motion was pointless to begin with.

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Kota Bharu MP, Datuk Seri Takiyuddun Hassan argued that such was so as Anwar was already deemed of commanding the confidence of the majority by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

"The Agong himself has appointed Anwar as Prime Minister. What else would be the reason for him to file the motion unless it is the premier himself who wants to prove his numbers?

"This is what happened in Parliament today, the exact number of support for the Prime Minister is still unknown," stressed Takiyuddin who was referring to the lack of show of hands when the vote of confidence was called.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, when winding up the debate, said although the vote of confidence on the Prime Minister was not compulsory, the government itself had taken the initiative to table the motion.

She said this was to prove that the Tambun MP had the confidence of the House to be the 10th Prime Minister after taking his oath of office on Nov 24.

She said the government before this had twice tabled a similar vote of confidence - in 1976 for the late Tun Hussein Onn as the third Prime Minister and in 2003 when Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was the fifth Prime Minister.

"I wish to emphasise that what is happening today is an application (motion on vote of confidence) by the government itself, which is provided for by the Parliament standing orders.

"I cite the example of New Zealand where Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had introduced a motion on vote of confidence in parliament after forming a coaltion government," explained Azalina.

Though he initially did not have the needed majority to form government, Anwar managed to pull through when rival political parties including Barisan Nasional, Gabungan Rakyat Sabah, Gabungan Parti Sarawak threw their support behind the Pakatan Harapan chairman.