Saturday, December 03, 2022

Loke explains DAP’s low Cabinet representation, says willing to sacrifice to clear path for Anwar as PM

Loke explains DAP’s low Cabinet representation, says willing to sacrifice to clear path for Anwar as PM

(From right) DAP Secretary General Anthony Loke Siew Fook who was appointed as Transport Minister, Amanah President Mohamad Sabu (Agriculture and Food Security Minister), PKR Deputy President Rafizi Ramli (Economy Minister), Perak DAP Chairman, Nga Kor Ming (Minister of Development and Local Government) and BN Deputy Chairman who is also Umno Deputy President Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan (Defense Minister) taking the oath of office before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at Istana Negara December 3, 2022. — Bernama pic

Saturday, 03 Dec 2022 7:16 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke today said DAP had given its support to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to become prime minister without setting any conditions for the number of Cabinet positions, and that the party was even willing to sacrifice itself if it were to pose a “stumbling block” to the formation of an Anwar-led government.

Asked if DAP was satisfied with being given just four ministerial roles despite winning 40 parliamentary seats in the recent general election, Loke stressed that DAP had given its unconditional support to Anwar.

“So I wish to put on record, as I said just now, on November 22, before Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim went to Istana Negara, I told Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, as long as you can be prime minister, DAP is willing to sacrifice anything, that is my commitment to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“So I placed my trust in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, he did not agree for us to not enter Cabinet. He insisted DAP must be part of the government. I left it to him, the issue of number, the issue of composition. To me, that is the prime minister’s discretion, and as far as DAP is concerned, we place the country’s interests over the party’s interests.

“Today, there may be sentiments, feelings from DAP members who feel we don’t have enough representation or low representation, but our struggle and DAP leaders’ struggle in politics is not for position, but for the country. So whatever positions we are given, we will do our best for the country,” he told reporters at the DAP national headquarters here during a press conference also attended by the three other DAP ministers.

Loke said DAP’s decision to give unconditional support to Anwar to be the prime minister and to form a government was a unanimous decision made by DAP MPs and DAP central executive committee (CEC) members.

The Cabinet line-up under the unity government features 28 ministers, including four from DAP, namely Loke as transport minister, deputy secretary-general Sivakumar Varatharaju Naidu as human resources minister, vice-chairman Nga Kor Ming as local government development minister, and assistant national publicity secretary Hannah Yeoh as youth and sports minister.

While DAP, which won 40 seats was assigned four ministerial roles, other parties such as PKR which won 31 seats holds eight ministerial portfolios, and Barisan Nasional which won 30 seats holds six ministerial portfolios.

During the same press conference, Loke explained the whole chain of events leading up to the announcement of the Cabinet line-up yesterday with Anwar as the prime minister heading the unity government.

Loke said right from November 19 when the 15th general election (GE15) results did not result in any party winning a simple majority of parliamentary seats, DAP already knew from that point on that the government to be formed must be through a post-election coalition.

Just a day after GE15 which was on November 20, Loke said he had called a meeting involving all the DAP CEC leadership and all the DAP MPs who had been elected, noting that all of those present decided to give him the mandate as party secretary-general to unconditionally support Anwar in forming a government.

“Therefore, our priority, our objective and our decision at that time was to ensure Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim obtains the confidence and majority to become the prime minister of Malaysia, and next to form federal government,” he said.

Bearing that mandate, Loke said he was at Anwar’s office at Bukit Gasing on November 22 at noon and said Anwar had received a phone call to go to Istana Negara at 4.30pm on that day.

“Before he went to Istana Negara, I had already stated my commitment on behalf of DAP, which is DAP MPs will support him as prime minister without condition. And I stated to him, if DAP becomes a stumbling block, we will facilitate him to obtain a confidence and majority to form government, that is our commitment.

“So I stated that commitment to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, that we support his leadership unconditionally and that is a reality, and we never placed any conditions in terms of the number of Cabinet portfolios, we just want to facilitate him to form government. That is our mandate and that is also a decision made by all DAP MPs and CEC members on November 20,” he said.

Loke noted that Anwar had on November 22 agreed to form a unity government, while Perikatan Nasional did not agree to form a unity government, and that Barisan Nasional (BN) and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) had on November 23 also agreed to forming a unity government.

On November 24 which was the same day Anwar was sworn in as the 10th prime minister, Loke said he had called for yet another meeting with the DAP CEC and all the DAP MPs, where he had asked if DAP wants to be part of Anwar’s Cabinet.

“Again, the decision on that night was, yes, all who attended unanimously said DAP members and the party DAP will join the unity government under Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, but once again, we don’t place any conditions, that was the decision made by CEC and DAP MPs.”

Loke thanked Anwar for selecting four DAP MPs to be part of his Cabinet, stressing that DAP’s participation in the unity government is with the sole objective of supporting Anwar’s leadership to make the unity government a success as it would ultimately result in Malaysia’s success.

Referring to the unity government as a new political model and political approach or a new experiment in Malaysia’s political system, Loke said all the parties involved in the unity government must cooperate to make it work as they cannot afford to fail

Noting that all four portfolios given to the DAP ministers are important and strategic ones, Loke said they will work hard to ensure they deliver in their respective portfolios.

Among the considerations made when DAP submitted its list of proposed Cabinet candidates to Anwar were based on seniority within the party, the suitability of leaders for portfolios, representation of women and the ethnic Indian community in the Cabinet, he said.

Loke noted that the appointment of Cabinet members is the prime minister’s prerogative and discretion, saying this principle of the final decision lying in the prime minister’s hands should be respected.

“Component parties in PH always have this spirit of discussion and consultation, but at the end of the day, we have to respect that the decision about Cabinet is under the prime minister’s discretion,” he said.

Asked about the representation of different ethnicities within Cabinet, Loke said: “This is a unity government, of course no decision will ever satisfy everyone, but we believe in the wisdom of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister and leader of the country. I appeal to everyone to give him time and space and confidence to lead this beautiful country.”

He said DAP has yet to submit names for proposed candidates to be deputy ministers to Anwar, as Anwar wanted to set up the Cabinet first.

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