The Shadow Cabinet Needs to Be Recognized by the Government to Achieve Malaysia Madani

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) welcomes the announcement of the Shadow Cabinet line-up by Perikatan Nasional (PN) and congratulates the Head of the Parliamentarians Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Leader of the Opposition Dato Seri Hamzah Zainuddin and their shadow cabinet. The act of forming a shadow cabinet is a step forward to empower the Dewan Rakyat and democracy in Malaysia.

BERSIH hopes that with the formation of this shadow cabinet, the Opposition will be more solid and organized in checking and balancing the government and offering alternative policies based on facts, data and ideas.

We need a culture of political competition that is professional and mature, not hostile and belittling between the Government and the Opposition in order to achieve Sustainability, Prosperity, Innovation, Respect, Trust and Innovation as per the concept introduced by YAB Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the Unity Government.

BERSIH hopes that YAB Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will also welcome the formation of this shadow cabinet positively and take this opportunity to strengthen political stability, eliminate worries about a Sheraton 2.0, and realize a Malaysia driven by MADANI values. At the same time, the PN Shadow Cabinet should pay a courtesy visit to the Cabinet before Parliament convenes as a sign of civilized inter-party competition.

The Unity Government, which positions itself as Reformist, should officially recognize the formation of this shadow cabinet in Parliament with a law that outlines the functions, rights and facilities for the Shadow Cabinet, so that it can perform robust and professional check and balance against the government, instead of resorting to emotional and populist rhetoric.

The recognition of the Shadow Cabinet should include:

  1. A swearing-in ceremony for shadow ministers at the Istana Negara as the Loyal Opposition to YDPA;
  2. An allowance to shadow ministers that is one third of a minister’s salary; similarly to Australia’s system;
  3. Allocation of a salaried research officer for each shadow minister with the relevant expertise related to the shadow minister’s portfolio;
  4. Relevant access to information on the government so that shadow ministers can produce realistic policies
  5. Improvements to Parliamentary time and agenda in the Dewan Rakyat in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition or a representative from the shadow cabinet

BERSIH hopes that with the formation and official recognition of the shadow cabinet, the quality of debate and scrutiny in Parliament and overall policy competition will be enhanced to the benefit of the people who are fed up with unprofessional and toxic political bickering.

Issued by:
BERSIH Steering Committee