Harapan needs two-thirds to implement reforms, and it's within sight

  • Jun 12, 2018
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Pakatan Harapan requires a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat to amend the Federal Constitution if the coalition is to fulfill its pledges to institute drastic reforms.

Some of these pledges include decoupling the role of public prosecutor from the attorney-general, more autonomy for East Malaysia and making MACC accountable to Parliament instead of the prime minister.

Officially, the coalition and its allies won only 122 or 55 percent of the 222 seats, still 25 short of the 147 seats needed for a two-thirds majority.

Observers believe that unlike the past decade, which saw the Federal Constitution untouched because BN did not have two-thirds control, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad will likely be able to cobble together the necessary bi-partisan support for the planned amendments.

There are signals that Mahathir has already begun to massage the idea on opposition parties.

So far, the leaders of three opposition parties - Umno acting president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and PBB president Abang Johari Abang Openg - have met Mahathir since he was sworn in.

On June 8, Mahathir pledged to restore the Terengganu government's right to access oil royalty payments, a move which has left PAS pleased.

Another development today saw Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari announcing that PBB, SUPP, PRS and PDP have quit BN and formed a new coalition called Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

In doing so, Abang Johari also hinted that GPS was willing to cooperate with Harapan in the legislative terms.

"GPS will cooperate and collaborate with the federal government on national interest, state rights and interests based on Federal Constitution and the Federation of Malaysia," he said.

Should Mahathir be able to secure the commitment from PAS to deliver its 18 votes and another 19 from GPS, he would have in excess of the required numbers to fulfill the two-thirds requirement.

This does not include the potential support from MPs in Sabah - a state where allegiances are still fluid.

Earlier today, Mahathir alluded during a press conference in Tokyo that Harapan has "strong support" in Parliament.

Some amendments could potentially even receive support from the remaining BN or Umno MPs.

"For instance, it will be in Umno's interest to have MACC become an independent body - one that will investigate even the ruling party - that reports to Parliament instead of the prime minister," a Harapan leader said. 

The 14th Parliament will convene on July 16.

As for the once impregnable fortress BN, it is now left with two states – Pahang and Perlis – following the dissolution of Sarawak BN.

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