Chin Tong: Muhyiddin Could Learn from Johor MB About Engaging the Opposition

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Liew Chin Tong has given Johor Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad the thumbs-up for his bipartisan approach in governing the state.

In a statement today, the Johor DAP chairman said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin could emulate the Johor leader at the federal level.

The DAP strategist pointed out that both men were in the same predicament but chose different approaches to pass their budgets.

He said Hasni had a two-seat majority in the Johor assembly, where Umno has 16 seats, Bersatu, 12, and PKR, 1.

Muhyiddin, meanwhile, also has a slim majority in parliament. He has 112 members with him versus 108 in the opposition. Two seats in the 222-seat house are vacant following deaths of the Grik and Batu Sapi MPs.

“Thus far, Muhyiddin has been trying to dominate and subjugate, alienating the opposition and his own allies while losing focus on the need to rally the nation to face the greatest political, economic and health crises that the country has ever seen.

“Hasni defined the opposition as a ‘strategic partner’ in governing, which is a departure from Umno’s old idea of its dominance and attempts to eliminate the opposition.

Hasnoor Hussain/TMI

“While one can dismiss Hasni’s points as mere rhetoric, at least he has the right rhetoric suitable for our time while Muhyiddin refuses to treat allies and opposition with respect,” Liew said.

Amid talk of rebellion from Bersatu following the fall of the Perak government last week, the Johor state budget was passed with the support of Pakatan Harapan.

Hasni had acceded to Johor PH’s demand for equal allocations for the state constituencies, including opposition seats.

In the state budget, Hasni allocated RM150,000 to each state constituency and added RM50,000 more for each seat when winding up debate on the budget

Hasni was also receptive to the demand to allow opposition reps to participate in the state assembly’s select committees and action committees on district development.

Liew said it was time for Umno, Bersatu and all parties to realise that there is no single dominant party in Malaysia.

“Even (the next few) elections would still deliver some form of 50:50 results. The government has to be prepared to engage the opposition constructively and treat the opposition with respect and decency as today’s government may be tomorrow’s opposition,” he said in the statement.

For its part, Liew said the opposition will have to step up to be more than just a protest movement as Umno was during its 22 months as the opposition.

“Instead, the opposition should present itself as the future government and push the sitting administration to think about long term policies and to behave as bipartisan as possible for the benefit of the people,” he said.

He said talk in the corridors of power was that Muhyiddin would call a general election before Ramadan 2021.

“Instead of trying to call snap polls, Muhyiddin should start governing with bipartisanship for the sake of the nation, which is still stuck in multiple crises,” said Liew. – TMI