Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Azalina Calls for GE15 to Resolve Political Impasse

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Will moot three proposals in the current sitting if lawmakers are ready to unite and abide by the Agong’s decree to stop politicking.

Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has openly expressed her support for a general election once the Covid-19 pandemic is brought under control.

Writing in her blog, she said there was too much political uncertainty and called for the mandate to be returned to the rakyat.

“With so much political uncertainty at the moment and confidence (and no-confidence) motions unlikely to be voted on, perhaps the only way we can return to political normalcy is to consider returning the mandate to the people by calling for the dissolution of Parliament to pave way for a general election.

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“In this regard, I echo the Umno president’s (Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) clarion call for all political parties to set aside their differences for the sake of the people and to stand united in the mandate being returned to the people as theirs is a sacred one,” she wrote on her azalinaothmansaid.com today.

Azalina acknowledged that holding a general election during a pandemic would come with its own set of problems, but added these would not be insurmountable. The Pengerang MP said 13 countries, including Singapore, are known to have held general elections during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Azalina said that drastic measures are needed if Budget 2021 is defeated in the Dewan Rakyat.

“I had raised questions on how MPs would approach the Supply Bill 2021 in times of Covid-19 not too long ago and sadly, there are more questions than answers,” she added.

She said that recent events and the upcoming vote on the Budget have called into question confidence in the Prime Minister, particularly if the Budget is defeated.

She also said that by convention the Prime Minister would have to resign his post if the Budget is defeated as seen from other Commonwealth countries.

“Until the voting process on the Supply Bill (Budget 2021) takes place, a host of questions remains unanswered,” she said.

Azalina said that some of the questions were whether the Prime Minister would resign if the Budget is defeated or if a state of emergency would be declared in Kuala Lumpur to halt Parliament proceedings.

She added that other questions were if a general election would be called if the Budget is defeated and how long would it be before a new Budget could be tabled.

To overcome these uncertainties, Azalina proposed that the government take urgent steps during this Parliamentary session to end the political impasse.

“If all our MPs unite and abide by the King’s decree reminding politicians to stop politicking, then I would humbly submit three feasible steps and urgent proposals to the government (during this Parliamentary session) to ensure Malaysia does not endure more political instability and upheavals,” she said.

She suggested the tabling of an Anti-Party Hopping Bill and a law to regulate all political parties under a coalition government.

She added that the law for the coalition administration should compel political parties to enter and register into a written coalition government with a shared agenda and policy agreements.

She also proposed that Malaysia enact a law similar to the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011 (FTPA) in the United Kingdom.

She said such a law would ensure that confidence votes must be specifically worded to trigger a general election to avoid uncertainties.

“This means that a government defeat on a Budget measure would not necessarily bring down a government, though it is likely it would face a vote of no-confidence shortly afterwards, as its ability to command the will of the House would be in question.

“Perhaps only when political equilibrium is restored, and the safeguards proposed above are put in place. Only then can politicians shift their focus on what they are expected to do when they come to power, by governing responsibly,” she said.