DAP sec-gen Loke: Deliver anti-hopping Bill first, then we can talk if PM wants to extend MoU | Malaysia

DAP leader Anthony Loke Siew Fook (center) together with other party members attend the Engagement Session with DAP Secretary General Anthony Loke, at Shenga Convention Hall, Batu Cavesl April 16, 2022. - Picture by Hari Anggara
DAP leader Anthony Loke Siew Fook (center) together with other party members attend the Engagement Session with DAP Secretary General Anthony Loke, at Shenga Convention Hall, Batu Cavesl April 16, 2022. – Picture by Hari Anggara

BATU CAVES, April 16 – The Federal Opposition is ready to talk if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob wishes to extend the Federal Government’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Opposition Pact, DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke said Tonight.

However, Loke said the government must first make good on the agreement to deliver proposed anti-hopping laws for elected lawmakers when asked if Pakatan Harapan is seeking to extend the MoU term, under which it was agreed that Parliament would not be dissolved earlier than July 31 this year.

“First of all, as I mentioned time and again, now important is that whatever agreed upon in the MoU must be first delivered, especially the anti-hopping bill.

“If they have delivered the anti-hopping bill, if the PM wishes to extend it then we can talk, but the precondition is that whatever agreed upon must be delivered, must be implemented. So the ball is in the court of the prime minister, ”he told Reporters when after an engagement session with DAP grassroots and party leaders from the Indian community.

When asked if PH would want to extend the MoU to not have the general elections held so soon, Loke pointed out that the MoU only stated that the general elections shall not take place before July 31, 2022 but did not state that elections must take place in August this year.

Noting that there is still one year left before the current five-year Parliamentary term ends July next year, Loke said it would be up to the prime minister on when to call for general elections to be held.

When asked if PH Minds if the GE15 is held earlier before the end of the five-year term, Loke replied that the prime minister should consider extending the MoU’s timeframe if the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia did not yet make it possible for an unrestricted election activities to be held.

“It’s not a question of whether we mind or do not mind. It’s a question of if it comes then we will face it.

“But we have always stated that the country is still in a Pandemic. They need to make sure that all the SOPs and elections can be conducted freely and openly, what we do not want is that we conduct the election in a very restrictive continent.

“You cannot have ceramah, or you can have limited ceramah, or cannot meet the people, then it defeats the purpose of the election campaign. What we want is assurance that the country is stable enough in terms of the Covid-19 situation, then elections can be conducted freely and openly without any restrictions, then we are ready to go.

“But if let’s say the country is still in a situation where we cannot conduct the election as in the past, then the prime minister should think whether or not he should extend the timeframe in terms of the election,” he said.

Loke also said that the DAP must be prepared whether or not the 15th general elections are held as early as August this year.

“As politicians, as a political party, we must be prepared to face any eventualities. So by August, we must be ready. That is my message to all our members, to all our leaders, that we must be ready by August this year.

“Whether the election happens in August or not, we must be ready, whether it happens or not is secondary. If it happens, then we face it. If it doesn’t happen, then we will have to continue to work on the ground, ”he added.

Earlier, when asked by Reporters when PH would meet with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to discuss the MoU, Loke said the Opposition Coalition meets the prime minister “from time to time”.

“In fact, our last meeting was just last Monday. As far as the MoU is concerned, as I mentioned, if there are any issues, we will deal directly with the prime minister.

“Under the MoU, it is very clear the understanding is between the federal government and Pakatan Harapan. It’s not between parties. It’s not between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan. It’s between PH and the federal government.

“When Ismail Sabri signed the MoU, he signed the MoU on behalf of the federal government, which consists of various parties, not only Umno. So Umno cannot make a unilateral decision.

“It’s OK for us, if Let’s say once July 31 ends, then it’s the right and Prerogative of the prime minister when he wants to call the general election. That is fine with us, but what I’m saying is whatever decision must be conveyed to us officially by the prime minister. It is not a unilateral decision by Umno itself, ”he said.

The MoU refers to the Memorandum of Understanding on Transformation and Political Stability signed between PH leaders and the prime minister last year as a truce to enable Malaysia’s socio-economic recovery from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

On April 14, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan announced that a meeting chaired by Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had decided that the MoU between the federal government and PH due to end July 31 will not be continued beyond that.

Today is Loke’s second engagement with DAP leaders and grassroots leaders from the Indian community, following his appointment as the party’s sixth and latest secretary-general on March 20.

Addressing these grassroots leaders in a speech earlier Tonight, Loke also said that the prime minister must discuss with the PH, and not the Umno Supreme council, matters related to the MoU.

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