Shadow Cabinet needs recognition by govt, says Bersih
SHAH ALAM - The government should officially recognise the formation of the Shadow Cabinet line-up by Perikatan Nasional (PN) in Parliament to enhance the quality of debates.
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) in a statement today said that the formation of the shadow cabinet is welcomed, yet it needs to be recognised by the government with a law that outlines its functions, rights and facilities for so that it can perform as a robust and professional check and balance against the government, instead of resorting to emotional and populist rhetoric.
"The act of forming a shadow cabinet is a step forward to empower the Dewan Rakyat and democracy in Malaysia and hopefully with the formation of this shadow cabinet, the opposition bloc will be more solid and organised in checking and balancing the government and offering alternative policies based on facts, data and ideas," the statement said.
Bersih also stated that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should welcome the formation of this shadow cabinet positively and take this opportunity to strengthen political stability, eliminate worries about a reoccurence of a Sheraton 2.0 move, and realise a Malaysia driven by Madani values.
Simultaneously, the PN Shadow Cabinet should pay a courtesy visit to the Cabinet before Parliament convenes as a sign of civilised inter-party competition, the coalition added.
The recognition of the Shadow Cabinet should include a swearing-in ceremony for shadow ministers at the Istana Negara as the Loyal Opposition to YDPA, an allowance for shadow ministers that is one third of a minister's salary, similar to Australia's system, and an allocation of for a paid research officer for each shadow minister with the relevant expertise related to the shadow minister's portfolio.
Additionally, the recognition should include relevant access to information on the government so that shadow ministers can produce realistic policies as well as improvements to the parliamentary time and agenda in the Dewan Rakyat in consultation with the Opposition Leader or a representative from the shadow cabinet.
The coalition also hopes that with the formation and official recognition of the shadow cabinet, the quality of debate and scrutiny in Parliament and overall policy competition will be enhanced to the benefit of the people who are fed up with unprofessional and toxic political bickering.
"We need a culture of political competition that is professional and mature, not hostile and belittling between the government and the opposition in order to achieve sustainability, prosperity, innovation, respect, trust and innovation as per the concept introduced by Anwar," the statement stated.
PN had unveiled the coalition's shadow Cabinet list after its member of parliament (MP) retreat at a hotel here on Thursday.
The list was launched by PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, where he was named as the shadow Prime Minister while Pas president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang was named as his deputy.
Currently PN secretary-general Hamzah Zainuddin is the opposition leader in Parliament.