PETALING JAYA: The unity government that brands itself as a reformist should acknowledge Perikatan Nasional’s shadow Cabinet officially in Parliament with laws which underline its function, rights and facilities, says the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih).
The election watchdog’s steering committee said this was to ensure excellent and professional checks and balances towards the government which are not simply emotional and populist.
It also hoped Perikatan’s shadow Cabinet would also pay a visit to the Cabinet before Parliament meets.
Bersih said Perikatan’s decision to create a shadow Cabinet is a move forward to empower the Dewan Rakyat and democracy in Malaysia.
“Bersih hopes with the formation of the shadow Cabinet, the Opposition will be stronger and in more order in conducting checks and balances to the government and producing alternative policies based on facts, data and ideas,” it said in a statement Friday (Feb 3).
It added that professional and mature competition, which does not involve enmity, and the government and Opposition bringing each other down, is needed to achieve the principles of sustainability, well-being, creativity, respect, trust and courtesy that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his unity government vouches for in line with the Malaysia Madani idea.
It hoped Anwar would welcome the formation of the shadow government positively and take advantage of the situation to strengthen political stability, eradicate concerns of a possible “Sheraton Move 2.0” and realise the Malaysia Madani concept.
Outlining the proposals that could be implemented in relation to the shadow Cabinet, the committee said the ministers in the shadow Cabinet should also take their oath as the loyal Opposition before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the Istana Negara and they could be given an allowance which is a third of the amount given to ministers just like the system in Australia.
It added that the shadow Cabinet members should also be given allocation for a paid researcher with qualifications related to the portfolio of the shadow minister.
Bersih also said that the shadow Cabinet should also be given access to suitable government information for the formation of realistic policies.
“Improve the schedule and order of business in the Dewan Rakyat through negotiations with the Opposition chief and representatives of the shadow Cabinet,” it said.
Bersih said it hoped that with the formation and official acknowledgement of the shadow Cabinet, the quality of debates and observation in Parliament and general competition among the government and Opposition will strengthen and benefit the people who are already tired of the political clashes which are unprofessional and toxic.
On Feb 2, Perikatan unveiled its shadow Cabinet and its chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be leading the line-up as the chief of its MP.