The Confidence-Supply-Reform (CSR) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is about the minimalist position both sides could agree and not the maximalist position each side could demand
I received a note from a DAP supporter about the 2022 Budget presented by the Finance Minister, Tengku Zafrul Tengku Aziz presented to Parliament last Friday.
The note said:
“DAP should vote against the passing of Budget 2022.
“To protest against the Budget giving overwhelming allocations for the Malays and peanuts to the other races. They are virtually telling you that Chinese votes don't matter. If PH votes for the Budget, I won't bother voting in GE15.”
There is considerable misconception and misunderstanding about the Confidence-Supply-Reform ( CSR) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Prime Minister Ismail Sabr on the one hand and the four Pakatan Harapan leaders, Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng, Mohamad Sabu and Wilfred Tangau on the other in Parliament on Sept.13, 2021.
There are those who believe that Ismail Sabri had betrayed the government parties and there are those who believe that the four Pakatan Harapan leaders have sold out the principles and objectives of the Pakatan Harpaan component parties.
Both are wrong.
The Confidence-Supply-Reform (CSR) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is about the minimalist position both sides could agree and not the maximalist position each side could demand.
Pakatan Harapan leaders signed the CSR MOU for three important reasons:
The first one is to end the tragedy and catastrophe of the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia.
When Tengku Zafrul presented his first budget – the bumper RM322 billion 2021 Budget – on Nov. 6, 2020, there were cumulative totals of 38,189 Covid-19 cases and 279 Covid-19 deaths.
When the Confidence-Supply-Reform (CSR) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on Sept. 13, 2021, there were cumulative totals of 1,995,771 Covid-19 cases and 21,124 Covid-19 deaths.
Yesterday (Nov. 1), Malaysia recorded the cumulative totals of 2,476,268 Covid-19 cases and 28,975 Covid-19 deaths.
This means that from the presentation of the 2021 Budget on Nov. 6, 2020 to the signing of the CSR MOU on Sept. 13, 2021, Covid-19 cases in Malaysia increased by more than 52 times, while Covi-19 deaths increased by some 76 times.
But in the 50 days between the signing of the CSR MOU on Sept. 13, 2021 and Nov.1. 2021, neither the cumulative total of Covid-19 cases or Covid-19 deaths had doubled, as the cumulative total of Covid-19 cases only increased by 19.4% while Covid-19 deaths increase by only 27%.
I am worried that the reduction of daily new Covid-19 cases and daily Covid-19 deaths is not faster, but we are in a trajectory of a downward slope for both Covid-19 cases and Covid-19 deaths.
The CSR MOU has achieved its first objective.
The second CSR MOU objective is to ensure that some RM45 billion are allocated to relieve the sufferings of the people as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been met by Tengku Zafrul’s bigger bumper 2022 Budget involving an allocation of RM332.1 billion.
The third reason is to initiate parliamentary and institutional reforms which the Sabri Ismail government has up to next year to fulfil.
I for one am not happy with Tengku Zafrul’s 2022 Budget, which is nothing but a major exercise of denial syndrome where the Ismail Sabri government refused to face up to the fact that until the CSR MOU on Sept. 13, 2021, Malaysia had lost the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, especially with the declaration of Emergency on January 11, 2021.
Furthermore, the 2022 Budget went against the very grain of the concept of the Keluarga Malaysia objective.
As I have said, Ismail Sabri is no reformer but he is forced by the precarious political arithmetic in government to sign the CSR MOU to ensure the survival and stability of his government.
If Ismail Sabri could exercise political hegemony, as UMNO had exercised in Barisan Nasional until the 2018 General Election, nobody would expect Ismail Sabri to sign the CSR MOU with Pakatan Harapan.
Pakatan Harapan undertook under the CSR MOU not to support a vote of no-confidence on Ismail Sabri as Prime Minister or to reject the 2022 Budget.
We will be true to our word and comply with our promises. We have not undertaken to support the 2022 Budget. If we do not support the 2022 Budget, we will abstain.