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Malaysia needs a unity government

His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s call for a unity government in Malaysia after the 15th General Election (GE15) must be embraced and respected by all.

The fact is that we now have a hung Parliament in the Dewan Rakyat—meaning that no single coalition or party can form a government on its own.

This means that, regardless of our personal feelings or partisan preferences, a government can only be formed if the various coalitions and parties negotiate as well as come to a compromise.

In effect, Malaysia needs a unity government. It is likely the most sustainable solution for our country to meet the challenges ahead, including a looming global recession, climate change and geopolitical uncertainties.

Stability is also required if Malaysia is to remain economically competitive with its neighbours and as an investment destination. Much work needs to be done to provide inclusive education, housing, healthcare and jobs to our rakyat—especially the young.

All this requires a government that is stable, functional and legitimate. Again, the best way to bring one about is via a unity government.

What should a unity government look like? In the Malaysian context, such an entity should not only be representative of parties across the political spectrum, but of all races, faiths, states and territories within our nation.

Indeed, this is what the Agong called for as disclosed by Pakatan Harapan and KEADILAN’s leader Anwar Ibrahim.

PH, which has emerged from the GE15 as the largest coalition in the next Dewan Rakyat, is ready and willing to lead as well as be a part of such a unity government.

It is true that the last election campaign was intense and even bitter. We have our principles and our opponents have theirs.

But, when the nation is left in a state of uncertainty and with external challenges at bay, we must put aside these differences for the greater good and national interest.

The key is to find common ground and ways to work together to see Malaysia through the economic and other threats that we may face in the months and years ahead.

GE15 has also unfortunately seen heightened extremist sentiments being expressed on social media. As such, a unity government can help to cool tensions and calm anxieties.

Anwar, as PH’s leader has expressed a willingness to work with all quarters to realise a unity government, whether with our closest rivals, the PN, the BN, GPS, GRS, WARISAN and other parties or Independent MPs.

It is unfortunate and short-sighted that PN has rejected the possibility of a unity government out of hand.

PN will have to explain why. But I suspect it is because it is unable to create or lead such a unity government.

Because of PN’s unwillingness, PH is working to form one with the other coalitions. It is not easy given the long rivalry between our respective component parties.

But PH believes it has a duty to ensure stability in Malaysia, as well as its multiracial character.

Good governance and the independence of our public institutions is non-negotiable.

As entities with strong traditions of multiracialism, a unity government with BN, GPS, GRS, PH, WARISAN and the others are best placed to serve and develop not only the Malaysians who voted for us—but also those who voted for PN as well.

Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera, Muslim and non-Muslim, urban and rural—no one should be left out or feeling fearful in Malaysia.

It is hence only common sense for Malaysia’s political leaders to take heed of the Agong’s call for a unity government.

Moreover, not only BN and PH but all likeminded parties should join.

We are grateful that WARISAN has chosen to give their support to us.

Whatever happens, PH will respect the constitutional process, the institution of the monarchy and the will of the people.