KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 – The DAP seem conflicted over the recent statement by a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) supreme council member that many more Umno leaders will join the Pakatan Harapan component.
Veteran journalist A. Kadir Jasin, who is also a close confidante and adviser to Prime Miniser Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was reported as saying that up to 40 Umno MPs may be jumping ship. He said this after Jeli MP, and former international trade and industry minister, Mustapa Mohamed applied to join Bersatu after having left Umno last month.
The oldest party in the ruling coalition has issued mixed messages on the issue, with Johor DAP chairman, Liew Chin Tong, who is also the party’s strategist trying to placate the grassroots, telling them not to jump to conclusions.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page yesterday, Liew, who is also deputy defence minister, acknowledged the fact that the prospect of so many Umno MPs joining PH has caused much anxiety and concern that Bersatu may turn into another version of Umno.
Liew meets Kadir for clarification
Liew also admitted to meeting Kadir yesterday morning, presumably to express the party’s reservation on the move by Bersatu to accept so many Umno MPs.
However, Liew, who was accompanied by party colleague Wan Hamidi Hamid at the meeting, would not go so far as to criticise the move.
“Kadir, as a veteran newsman and political strategist, doesn’t write things for fun. He is careful to state that even if those Umno MPs desire to join Bersatu, it doesn’t mean that Bersatu will accept them blindly,” he said.
He also reminded Pakatan Harapan supporters that the coalition’s success in the 14th general election was due to leaders like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng and Mohamad Sabu choosing to “put aside differences and work together”.
Bersatu leaders told not to share views blindly
In what could be seen as some form of admonishment to Bersatu, Liew did call for some thought to be put in by its leaders before issuing statements.
“If we want the people not to be jumpy when reading sensational news headlines, leaders have to articulate thoughts before sharing their views. More importantly, let’s build trust among leaders and between communities,” he said.
DAP youth repeat Karpal Singh’s call for anti-hopping law
The DAP youth wing, however, were not restrained by having a government post in criticising the move.
DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) called for the government to enact legislation to prevent elected representatives from deserting their parties.
The national chairman of the party’s youth wing, Wong Koh Woh, said from an ethical point of view, elected representatives who quit their party must relinquish their seats and pave the way for a by-election.
“The constitution must be amended so that they are allowed to recontest at their respective areas in a by-election.
“I believe it is a high time for the government to consider implementing an anti-hopping law so that elected representatives who wish to desert their parties… think twice about their actions,” he was quoted as saying by New Straits Times, at a press conference after attending the Perak DAPSY Convention in Ipoh.
Wong was careful however, to skirt the issue of naming parties directly, saying only that Barisan Nasional lawmakers are now seen joining Pakatan Harapan.
“As we can see today, our friends from Barisan Nasional have the tendency to join Pakatan Harapan, be it PKR, Amanah, Bersatu or DAP.
“Before May 9 this year, many of our members were slandered by them and we must not forget about that. Those who have joined us today used to be our opponents,” he said, according to NST.
The call for an anti-hopping law is not new from the DAP, however.
The late Karpal Singh had proposed such a law in 2010 after three Perak state assemblymen at the time, had quit the then Pakatan Rakyat coalition to help BN take over the state government.
It is left to be seen if DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Karpal’s sons Gobind and Ramkarpal, as well as other senior DAP MPs will take up the gauntlet from their highly-respected and principled former national chairman.