Uncharted territory — Hafiz Hassan

Uncharted territory — Hafiz Hassan

NOVEMBER 20 — The country is entering uncharted territory: hung Parliament, minority government, confidence and supply agreement.

Hung Parliament

A hung Parliament is when no single political party wins a majority in the House of Representative. No single party has overall control of the Dewan Rakyat.

When there is no majority, by convention the caretaker prime minister stays in power and is given the first chance to create a government. He may decide to negotiate with another party or parties to build a coalition, or with another coalition to build a coalition of coalitions.

Or he may form a minority government, failing which he must resign and recommend that the leader of the largest party be invited to form a government. The latter may decide to form a coalition or govern as a minority government.

The ballot boxes for the Tambun parliamentary constituency arrived at the Election Commission counting centre at Kolej Sains Kesihatan Bersekutu Ulu Kinta in Perak November 19, 2022. — Picture by Farhan Najib

Minority government

A minority government is a government formed by a political party or coalition parties that does not have a simple majority in the House of Representative — that is, Dewan Rakyat.

A minority government needs the support of members of parliament (MPs) and needs to continue to be in office through what is known as a confidence and supply agreement with one or more of the minor parties.

Confidence and supply agreement (CSA)

As the name suggests, the agreement has two distinct features. The first is confidence. A government must have the confidence of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat.

When a minor party signs a CSA, it means the party agrees to vote with the government or abstain on any motion of confidence or no confidence brought to the Dewan Rakyat.

The second is supply. It refers to support on certain votes. In order to spend money, the government has to pass the Budget. A party to a CSA agrees to support the government in the passage of the Budget and other money Bills.

In consideration of a CSA, the party expects some influence over government policy or policies.

Inherently unstable

The big problem with a CSA is that the government — a minority one — is inherently unstable. Trust will have to be quickly established between the minority government and the party to the CSA.

A formal CSA may overcome this.

So, be on standby, lawyers and legal advisors. Your services will be needed urgently.

The country is in uncharted territory.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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