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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Time for opposition to name shadow Cabinet, Anwar told

 

Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 says Anwar Ibrahim must show the opposition is able to shadow the government of the day.

PETALING JAYA: Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 today urged opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to stop making excuses and form a shadow Cabinet.

Bersih chairman Thomas Fann said Anwar has to look past the opposition’s various differences to organise itself effectively.

“If the reason is because the opposition is quite fragmented … if you can’t bring the opposition together to form some sort of shadow Cabinet or coordination to shadow the government of the day, how can the public trust you to form a government?” he asked.

“Enough with the excuses. It’s time we start moving towards a more professional approach to politics and not just hope for the present government to flop and make a mistake.”

Fann was speaking in a webinar for the launch of a report titled “A Framework for a Shadow Cabinet in Malaysia”. The report called on opposition parties to work together in forming a shadow Cabinet at the federal and state levels to check and compete with the government of the day more effectively.

Bersih said while it recognises there have been shadow Cabinets established previously by Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional – and, more recently, by PKR to shadow almost every ministerial portfolio in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal government, the federal and state governments should officially recognise and institutionalise the practice as part of the country’s democratic process.

Fann also said the government should grant the shadow Cabinet with sufficient resources and access to information.

“Is this a chicken or an egg (scenario)? No,” he said. “Definitely, the opposition has to form a shadow Cabinet first.”

Bersih also wanted the Standing Orders of Parliament and the state assemblies to be amended to accord privileges and advantages to shadow ministers during procedures such as parliamentary questioning and legislative debates.

“It should formalise the power and authority of the leader of the opposition and/or a representative of the shadow Cabinet to be consulted on decisions relating to scheduling and timetabling of the business in the House,” it said in the report.

“The revisions should also introduce more equity of opportunity between the government bench and the opposition bench.” - FMT

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