Forget polls, form unity government after emergency, analysts say

Lim Teck Ghee and Tajuddin Rasdi say a unity government will ensure a much more cohesive and effective government during the current health crisis.

PETALING JAYA: A unity government must be formed after the emergency ends, instead of endangering the country with a general election during the Covid-19 pandemic, say two analysts.

In a statement, sociologist Lim Teck Ghee and academic Tajuddin Rasdi said the prime minister and his ministers need a mandate and legitimacy to rule until the next EG.

Lim, formerly of the World Bank, and Tajuddin of UCSI University said that a unity government would ensure a much more cohesive and efficient government during the health crisis.

“No authority, whether medical or non-medical, can guarantee that the holding of general elections in late 2021 or even early 2022 can avoid a catastrophic health scenario, which could bring the country’s economy and society to its knees., ” they said.

For this reason, Lim and Tajuddin said that the formation of a government of national unity could be done through an open and transparent democratic process when parliament reconvenes.

They proposed to Yang di-Pertuan Agong to exercise the constitutional prerogative not to call an election and instead suggested a procedure to install a unity government under the leadership of a prime minister who has the undisputed support of a majority of deputies.

“All deputies could write down their choice of prime minister. This can be done without the applicant having to reveal their identity and avoid any repercussions arising from their choice, ”they said.

The top five picks, they said, with the most nominations could be named without revealing the numbers. They will then move on to the next selection round. A similar anonymous selection process will take place involving all MPs choosing only one name from the five.

“Whoever of the five obtains the majority of the votes will be considered as the Prime Minister. If there was no absolute majority, the first two names having obtained the most votes could pass to the last ballot ”, they proposed.

“Once selected, the chosen prime minister will then have to form a unity government of his choice,” they said.

Lim and Tajuddin added that the prime minister must also ensure that at least a third of ministers and deputy ministers in the national unity government include opposition MPs.

“This means that the Prime Minister’s own coalition will have two-thirds of Cabinet positions or even less if he is able to bring in members without any political affiliation who have a strong track record of integrity and merit,” said they declared.

Lim and Tajuddin further proposed that two deputy prime ministers ensure regional balance and greater cohesion and that the unity government remain in place until the GE15 is held.

They said that we are living in extraordinary times and that steps must be taken to ensure that the governance and political administration of the country continue to function normally.

“It is also important during this critical time that our political leaders enjoy the confidence and full support of Malaysians,” they said.

The decision is to avoid any political deadlock if general elections are held after the emergency, they added.

Since September of last year, there has been a fallout between Bersatu and Umno, with the latter declaring that they could step down from the government as early as August. Umno, however, said at his general assembly in March that he would not cooperate with Bersatu in GE15.

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