Ismail Sabri: No unity govt

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Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said no posts in his cabinet will be given to opposition MPs as he is not forming a unity government.

Instead, the opposition can help the government fight the Covid-19 epidemic and assist with economic recovery by joining the National Recovery Council and the Special Committee on Covid-19, he said in Yan, Kedah, today.

“No, not in the cabinet. It won’t be a unity government.

Seth Akmal/TMI

“But there are committees they can join to help. We have the special committee on Covid-19 and the National Recovery Council,” he told reporters when asked about forming a unity government.

A live broadcast of his press conference in Yan was posted by Astro Awani on Facebook.

Ismail Sabri, who was sworn in as Malaysia’s ninth prime minister on Saturday, said he would finalise his list of cabinet members within this week.

“It will be this week and I still have to present the list to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“Don’t believe all the lists going around now, all those are fake,” he said.

The Bera MP and Umno vice-president in his inaugural speech as prime minister yesterday invited the opposition to be part of the National Recovery Council and the Special Committee on Covid-19.

He said this move was offered as cross-party cooperation is necessary for the country to attain political stability.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has said the party is willing to consider Ismail Sabri’s invitation but added that the opposition’s participation should not be treated as “token representation and a mere rubber stamp for the government’s views”.

Calls for a unity government have been made mostly by civil society after Ismail Sabri replaced Muhyiddin Yassin who lost majority support among MPs.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, meanwhile, has urged for greater bipartisanship in the new government to stem the epidemic and spur economic recovery, stressing that the “winner takes all” attitude in politics during a crisis must stop.

Muhyiddin, who was in power for nearly 18 months, made a last-ditch attempt to keep the prime minister’s post by promising certain reforms to the opposition in exchange for support, but was rejected. – TMI