KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — Tan Sri Annuar Musa said that Pakatan Harapan (PH) voting against an extension of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) in the Dewan Rakyat today was a contravention of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the government and the Opposition.

In a report by news portal Malaysiakini, the communications and multimedia minister called the action a “blessing in disguise” as he said this meant Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob would be able to dissolve Parliament and trigger an early general election.

“But today, on March 23, Pakatan Harapan has violated the MoU by abruptly demanding a bloc vote on a motion tabled by the home minister, and then voting against the motion.

“To me, the move nullifies the MoU, and this is a blessing in disguise because the prime minister is now free to terminate or suspend the MoU’s implementation.

“It would ease the prime minister’s responsibility — with the Yang di-Pertuan’s Agong’s consent — to carry out the Umno general assembly’s mandate, especially in relation to the dissolution of Parliament,” he was quoted as saying.

According to Annuar, PH has violated Article 3.3 (b) of the MoU, which he claimed requires the Opposition to support any motion brought forward by the government.

However, Article 9.1 of MoU also states that the Opposition is not barred from fulfilling its check-and-balance role.

Meanwhile, newly appointed DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke disagreed with Annuar’s assessment of the situation.

In a Facebook post, he said that voting against the Sosma extension for another five years will have no bearing on the MoU.

“The coalition did not violate its obligation even though we voted against this motion. It is our right as MPs,” he said.

Earlier today, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said that parties who do not agree with the Sosma are those who want to make room for criminals and terrorists to dominate the country.

The minister said this applied to those who did not support the motion to extend sub-section 4(5) in the Act.

The motion proposes to extend enforcement of the 28-day detention period under Section 4(5) of Sosma for another five years from July 31, 2022.

Sub-section 4(5), the 28-day detention period, must be reviewed every five years and will cease to have an effect unless both Houses of Parliament agree to extend the period.

Sub-section 4(5) was first enforced on July 31, 2012, and renewed for the first time in 2017.

There were 86 MPs who voted against the motion, while 84 MPs supported the motion. The remaining 50 were absent.