Zahid says can still negotiate GE15 to be earlier than July 2022 as Pakatan-govt MoU not ‘holy scripture’

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court November 24, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court November 24, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the government and the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Opposition coalition is not “holy scripture” that forbids national elections before July next year, according to Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman said the MoU just means that a consensus decision must be reached before polls are called, which allows room for negotiations to take place.

“We respect the MoU, but it is not a holy scripture, far from the words written in the al Quran.

“I don’t think we should breach [the MoU] but what is best is for us to negotiate, with all parties definitely having their different views, through a consensus.

“A majority decision will be made based on the outcomes of the discussion,” he told Mingguan Malaysia in an interview published today.

The weekly is the Sunday edition of Malay daily Utusan Malaysia.

Zahid said anyone can express their view to hold the 15th general election, which would take into consideration the MoU that had stipulated that polls should only be held after July 2022.

On September 13, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, members of the government and top PH leaders signed what has been described as a historic bipartisan agreement.

With the inking of the deal, PH agreed to either support or abstain from voting on Budget 2022 in Parliament, along with any legislation that, if not passed, could be taken as a loss of confidence in the government — provided that the Opposition is first consulted on these matters.

In return, the government agreed to work on several “transformations” including a Covid-19 plan, administrative transformation, parliamentary reforms and judicial independence, as well as push through agreements under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Among the obligations, the government also agrees that it will not move to seek dissolution of Parliament before July 31, 2022.

Explaining further, Zahid said any decision made in regards to a general election needed to take into account all factors including the people’s interest as a priority but noted that political stability will ultimately bring about good economic growth.

“For such matters, don’t just take politics as a yardstick. We need to also look at how the rakyat feels. How the economy stands and the overall livelihood of the people,” he told the Malay newspaper.

As for whether it was suitable to hold a general election now following Barisan Nasional’s resounding victory in the Melaka state elections, Zahid said he was powerless to determine the exact time.

He said the authority to do so was vested in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the prime minister where party views could be considered.

Yet, those advising the Agong may have a different opinion altogether.

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