In this webinar, Mr Wan Ahmad Fayhsal and Dr Ong Kian Ming discussed the priorities for Perikatan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan as the Malaysian parliament reconvenes on 13th July 2020.
MALAYSIA STUDIES PROGRAMME WEBINAR
Wednesday, 8 July 2020 – The ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute organised a webinar on “What’s in Store for Malaysia’s House? Anticipating Parliament’s July Sitting”, with Mr Wan Ahmad Fayhsal and Dr Ong Kian Ming as the speakers. Mr Wan Ahmad Fayhsal is the Deputy Minister in charge of the Youth and Sports portfolio, and a senator. He comes from the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM). Dr Ong Kian Ming was first elected into the Malaysian parliament in 2013, and presently represents the federal constituency of Bangi. He is the Assistant National Director for Political Education for the Democratic Action Party (DAP), and was formerly the Deputy Minister for International Trade and Industry (2018-2020).
Mr Wan Ahmad Fayhsal began his presentation by outlining the main priorities for the Perikatan Nasional government. He explained that the Malaysian economy faces severe challenges as a consequence the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has implemented several stimulus packages which provided financial assistance to firms and ordinary citizens, in a bid to prevent a further deterioration of Malaysia’s economy. Mr Wan Ahmad Fayhsal added that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is committed to help all Malaysians regardless of their racial background, while simultaneously steering the country to recover from the health pandemic. Mr Wan Ahmad Fayhsal also elaborated on the longer-term economic strategies of Perikatan Nasional, commenting that affirmative action will be implemented with distributive elements for all races as envisioned under the Shared Prosperity Vision.
Dr Ong concurred that the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted Malaysia. He argued that the decision by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to postpone the Parliament sitting originally scheduled in May is likely to result in a delayed implementation of the COVID-19 Relief bill. Dr Ong added that Pakatan Harapan shall attempt to unseat Perikatan Nasional during the upcoming sitting, as a fulfilment of the mandate given by Malaysians in 2018. He further highlighted that Perikatan Nasional has backslide from the reform agenda, in contrast to Pakatan Harapan as seen in the appointments for Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) heads. Pakatan Harapan, should it fail to dislodge Perikatan Nasional, shall serve as an effective opposition in parliament (e.g. close scrutiny of proposed bills).
During the Q&A session, participants raised topics concerning the possibility of a snap election, intra-coalition dynamics within the ruling government, recent restrictions against media outlets and perceived violations against free speech, among others. The webinar attracted 100 participants from Singapore and abroad.