On Monday, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s coalition and the major opposition bloc will sign a cooperation contract to preserve stability during the COVID-19 pandemic, a deal that could help the premier win a confidence vote.
Ismail Sabri assumed office last month with a small parliamentary majority, becoming the country’s third prime minister in as many years, but the constitutional monarch has demanded that he face a vote of confidence to demonstrate that he has the backing of parliament’s majority.
The agreement comes after Ismail Sabri made an offer to the opposition on Friday to enact political reforms, including rules to prevent defections and a 10-year term limit for prime ministers.
The proposition includes bipartisan agreement on every item to be tabled in parliament, opposition party input on a national recovery council, and a reduction in the voting age from 21 to 18 years old. He also stated that the opposition leader would be paid and given the same benefits as a cabinet minister.
Malaysia has been riven by political unrest since the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), which had ruled the country for more than 60 years, was defeated in an election in 2018 following a series of corruption allegations.
Since then, two governments have fallen apart, and Ismail Sabri’s appointment has restored UMNO’s premiership.