Growing concern in PH over Umno MPs joining Bersatu

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 – The issue of up to 40 Umno MPs joining Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) continues to create some tension within the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Following up from voices of discontent from DAP, the oldest party in the coaltion, now PKR, the second oldest has started to speak up on the issue, with a national leader and state leader calling for some check on Umno MPs coming on board.

PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil issued a statement suggesting that some of the Umno MPs may be wanting to jump ship as they do not have clean records and are just joining the ruling coalition to evade responsibility for crimes committed during the BN administration.

However, Fahmi was cautious in not mentioning Bersatu by name.

“The PKR political bureau is aware that Malaysians have made a clear choice at the 14th general election, which is to take up the reform agenda and reject corruption, abuse of power, and kleptocracy practised in the previous regime.

“At the same time, the PKR political bureau is cognisant of the people’s anxiety over news about BN MPs joining PH and that it could be used as an excuse to cover up investigations or cases, especially those involving abuse of power, graft, and awarding of contracts, including arms contracts.

“Therefore, the PKR political bureau stresses that joining Harapan cannot be an excuse to cover up investigations or cases against any party,” he said, according to Malaysiakini.

Fahmi added that the PH presidential council which convenes on Saturday will include this issue in its agenda.

Enough capable leaders in PH, says Johor PKR leader

Johor PKR deputy chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse was more direct in showing his discontent on Bersatu’s move, saying PH does not need Umno leaders who party hop.

“We do not need them to come into Pakatan because we already have many capable leaders.

“When Umno leaders join Pakatan, not only is it against the mandate given to us by the rakyat, but the old culture of Umno’s DNA will also slowly creep into Pakatan,” he was reported to have said after opening the Senai Airport City Forum 2018 at Senai Business Aviation Terminal yesterday.

Bersatu ready to admit up to 40 Umno MPs

Last weekend, a Bersatu supreme council member said that many Umno leaders may join the Pakatan Harapan component.

Veteran journalist A. Kadir Jasin, who is also a close confidante and adviser to Prime Minister 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 recently, having left Umno last month.

Since Kadir’s statement, it was reported that several Umno MPs held several meetings with Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and president Muhyiddin Yassin.

On Monday, DAP chief strategist Liew Chin Tong 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.

The comment from Liew, who is also Johor DAP chairman, was seen as trying to quell the party grassroots, whom he advised “not to jump to conclusions”.

DAP youth want anti-hopping law

The DAP youth wing, however, issued a stronger statement calling for the government to enact legislation to prevent elected representatives from deserting their parties.

DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) national chairman 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,” Wong had reportedly said.

– NMT