Ismail part of a Malay-only government that has virtually excluded the participation of the non-Malays.
Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy has poured cold water on any expectations that newly sworn-in Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob could bring about a new spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation particularly with a view to handling the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement today, he said the offer was more likely to be a public relations exercise and he was not expecting anything from the premier.
This came after Ismail Sabri, in his inaugural speech as the ninth prime minister, touted the concept of a “Malaysian Family”, calling on people from all walks of life including government and opposition MPs to unite.
He also acknowledged Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s advice for all political parties in the country to set aside their differences, saying he would like to appeal to all parliamentarians, whether within or outside of government, to work together to help the nation recover, including cross-party cooperation.
The premier went on to offer the opportunity to the leadership of the opposition to be part of the National Recovery Council and the Special Committee on Covid-19.
Ramasamy however is not convinced.
“I might agree with some opposition MPs that the newly minted prime minister’s offer of places for the opposition in the National Recovery Council (NRC) and the Special Committee on Covid-19 might be disingenuous.
“As the newly installed prime minister, he needs to engage in some public relations exercise to show that he is above partisan lines of race and religion.
“Ismail Sabri has no choice but to put forward this propaganda piece, something required for the new government to show that it was an all-embracing one in the interest and welfare of the larger nation,” said Ramasamy.
He said the Bera MP’s engagement must be taken with a huge dose of salt.
“His government might not be too different from the old one headed by Muhyiddin Yassin who resigned in ignominy.
“Although cabinet members have not been appointed, there is nothing to suggest their performance might be different from the earlier government.
“I am sure the opposition is not going to swallow what is being dished out by him.”
Ramasamy claimed that there was nothing to indicate that Ismail Sabri might be sincere to be taken seriously and that his past record speaks of racism and bigotry.
“It is not that he has changed his character or DNA overnight. He is part of a Malay-only government that has virtually excluded the participation of the non-Malays.
“Under the PN government, non-Malay participation in the cabinet is a mere window dressing. No non-Malay worthy of pride and dignity would want to be a member of the cabinet that is completely overshadowed by right-wing Malays,” he added.
Ramasamy concluded with the stinging prediction that he did not expect Ismail Sabri’s premiership to last until the next general election. – Malaysiakini