SINGAPORE — Anthony Loke, Malaysia Transport Minister, has said that Malaysia’s most important challenge now is to ensure its “political stability” and for rivalling political parties in the current ‘unity government’ to work hard in setting aside their differences.
This was said by Mr Loke at the Regional Outlook Forum 2023 organised by ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute on 10 January.
“We are working hard, even with a lot of differences among the parties taking up the government, ”
“We try to put aside our differences. Soon after we formed the government, we came to the table and signed a coalition agreement (that) governed the functioning of this unity government.”
Malaysia former Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin also joined the stage along with Mr Loke as panellists at a session titled “The Political Outlook In Malaysia”.
On 16 December last year, political leaders from UMNO, Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Sabah and Sarawak signed a MoU pledging their support to Unity Government led by 10th Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
After the conclusion of the Malaysia 15th General Election, the Malaysia King named Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister to end the impasse of a hung parliament as none of major political coalition gained simple majority.
Mr Loke, who is also Democratic Action Party (DAP)’s Secretary-General, said that the current political coalition is very strong, with a two-third majority in Parliament.
“In terms of the outlook, it should be very stable. We should be able to bring stability to Malaysia,” Loke added.
Khairy says will continue back Anwar if he or his allies become UMNO president
Khairy echoed Loke’s opinion, stressing that political stability was the most important outcome that “needs to happen after GE15.”
“Political stability is that cache that gives Malaysia and other countries in Southeast Asia that premium for people to come to invest in our country, travel to our country, and to take a long position in our country.”
“But there are concerns over government stability, ” Khairy said, “We have had more PMs in the last few years than some other countries in the last 60 years. So, a lot of people are concerned, can Malaysia last?”
Khairy believed that any change in the UMNO leadership will “result in political instability”, but he said he did not work “his socks off” to get the country out of the Covid-19 pandemic only to see it continue without stability.
He declares that UMNO will continue to back the Anwar Ibrahim-led unity government if he or his allies become the party’s president.
He said he wants the current unity government to remain stable, and he would not condone “back door machination” for a change in the administration.
“There are concerns that if there’s a change in Umno’s leadership, it will bring about political instability that will lead to the collapse of the government, another Sheraton Move, and another government will come in and a new prime minister (will be) sworn in.”
“Loke, I want to say this clearly in front of all these people here: if I or my allies win the presidency, win the leadership of my party, we will commit our support to the unity government, to Anwar and to you,” Khairy said.
Khairy: UMNO party election is “everything”
Khairy stressed that the upcoming UMNO election is “everything” and that it would either be for UMNO to be reformed, obtain relevance, “or it’s rest in peace”.
“I think this time around, the stakes are much, much higher. Because whoever wins (the UMNO presidency) will lead the party into the next election,” he said.
It is believed that Khairy will challenge the current UMNO President Zahid Hamidi in the party’s election.
The former Rembau member of parliament is one of the UMNO leader called on Zahid to resign after the party suffered catastrophic loss in GE 15.
UMNO’s Supreme Council yet to decide whether president post is opened for contest
However, UMNO’s Supreme Council has yet to decide on whether the posts of president and deputy president should be opened for contest in the party elections.
UMNO must hold its elections by May this year.
When questioned whether he will take up a post in UMNO, Khairy replied, “Will I contest for the presidency of my party? I am thinking about it.”
In 2018, 47-year-old Khairy ran for UMNO’s presidency but lost to current president Zahid Hamidi.
Khairy said Zahid “ready to fight” in party election
In his recent Instagram story, Khairy shared that he met the UMNO president today (12January) and the latter has given his assurance that he is ready to “fight” in the party election.
“Alhamdulillah, this morning, I met the president and he told me, while we were shaking hands, that he is ready to fight.”
“It means the president himself is ready to face any challenger in the party election and I salute him for his bravery, ” Khairy added.
“It also means that if any motion made for the top two positions to be uncontested, then it is against the president’s bravery. Allow for all party positions to be contested. Let’s be brave.”