14th July, 2021 | 10.00AM-11.30AM GMT+8 | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Up until May 2018, political stability in Malaysia had been premised on the continued rule of one powerful permanent coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN). With the collapse of the 22-month Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in February 2020, Malaysia has the first federal-level post-election coalition government in Perikatan Nasional (PN). Many have attributed Malaysia’s challenges in managing the pandemic and economy to the Government’s weak parliamentary majority. The likelihood of a hung parliament after the next parliament has raised more worries that Malaysia may not regain its political stability in the foreseeable future, detrimental to its democracy, economy and social harmony. In fact, even the Rulers emphasizes the importance of political stability in the fight of pandemic.
Is there anything Malaysia may learn from New Zealand? The Commonwealth nation had eight hung parliaments from 1996 to 2020, before Prime Minister Jacinda Adern won a parliamentary majority for her second term. Despite all governments were post-election coalitions and some were even minority governments, no Prime Minister had been brought down by a defeat in confidence or budget in 24 years. Besides a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system with an anti-defection law that strengthens all parties, government stability was facilitated by Confidence and Supply Agreements (CSAs). The political stability in New Zealand is particularly remarkable when one considers PM Adern’s first term Labour-NZ First coalition was a minority government with a parliamentary strength of 46% backed by a CSA partner with 7%. This does not stop New Zealand from managing the pandemic and economy excellently.
What’s the secret of political stability in New Zealand’s political culture and practices? How did the idea of CSA come about? What were the challenges? How were they overcome?
Speaker: Ms Wendy McGuinness, Chief Executive, McGuinness Insitute
Panellists: Mr Jahabar Sadiq, Founder and Editor, The Malaysian Insight; Mr Sharaad Kuttan, Senior Anchor, Astro Awani; Mr Philip Golingai, News Editor, the Star Media Group
Moderator: Prof Wong Chin Huat, Professor of Governance Studies, Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development
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