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Malaysia PM Won't Extend MoU With Opposition But Imminent Snap Poll Seems Less Likely

ASIA

The government and the opposition see no need to extend their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or sign a new stability pact after the current agreement expires, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri said Wednesday.

  • The Premier noted that he intends to focus on implementing the terms of the existing MoU instead, which include the adoption of anti-party hopping legislation. Ismail Sabri clarified that the MoU remains in effect until parliament is dissolved, which could happen this year or next.
  • The bill penalising party-hopping was brought to the Dewan Rakyat for second reading on Wednesday, after a delay caused by disagreements about definitions. The proposed law has broad support in parliament, even as opposition leader Anwar said the bill lacks "bite," while ex-Prime Minister Mahathir argued party-hopping should be allowed in some specific cases.
  • The decision not to extend the MoU means that Ismail Sabri could call a snap election at any point after July 31, with some opposition lawmakers voicing concerns that he could do so before anti-party hopping law is adopted. The next general election must be held by September 2023, but there have been calls from some UMNO factions to bring the poll forward.
  • While he avoided committing to any specific dates, the Prime Minister suggested yesterday that he is not in a rush to call a general election. Ismail Sabri noted that his administration is still working on legislative proposals regarding political funding and the judicial system. The indication that more draft bills are in store has reduced the perceived chance of an imminent snap election.
  • The signing of the MoU cleared political uncertainty, giving the market some reprieve after a period of intense turmoil in Malaysian politics. The market will remain on the lookout for further hints on the timing of the next general election, mindful of the fact that some have advocated holding a poll in November, which would mean that the campaign period could overlap with parliamentary debate on Budget 2023.
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The government and the opposition see no need to extend their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or sign a new stability pact after the current agreement expires, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri said Wednesday.

  • The Premier noted that he intends to focus on implementing the terms of the existing MoU instead, which include the adoption of anti-party hopping legislation. Ismail Sabri clarified that the MoU remains in effect until parliament is dissolved, which could happen this year or next.
  • The bill penalising party-hopping was brought to the Dewan Rakyat for second reading on Wednesday, after a delay caused by disagreements about definitions. The proposed law has broad support in parliament, even as opposition leader Anwar said the bill lacks "bite," while ex-Prime Minister Mahathir argued party-hopping should be allowed in some specific cases.
  • The decision not to extend the MoU means that Ismail Sabri could call a snap election at any point after July 31, with some opposition lawmakers voicing concerns that he could do so before anti-party hopping law is adopted. The next general election must be held by September 2023, but there have been calls from some UMNO factions to bring the poll forward.
  • While he avoided committing to any specific dates, the Prime Minister suggested yesterday that he is not in a rush to call a general election. Ismail Sabri noted that his administration is still working on legislative proposals regarding political funding and the judicial system. The indication that more draft bills are in store has reduced the perceived chance of an imminent snap election.
  • The signing of the MoU cleared political uncertainty, giving the market some reprieve after a period of intense turmoil in Malaysian politics. The market will remain on the lookout for further hints on the timing of the next general election, mindful of the fact that some have advocated holding a poll in November, which would mean that the campaign period could overlap with parliamentary debate on Budget 2023.