Party-hopping by Malaysian politicians isn’t anything new. But it raises the question as to whether it’s ethical to do so, as defections are a violation of the people’s mandate.
Having said that, I do understand that using the legislation to curb switching sides may take a whack at a person’s right to freedom of association.
But what’s happening over the last few days in Sabah and in the peninsula, with a total of 11 MPs and nine assemblymen quitting Umno, some rumoured to be party-hopping to Bersatu, are definitely not due to a loss of confidence in its leadership or irreconcilable differences.
It’s out of fear and the need to ensure one doesn’t get nabbed by the anti-graft commission for corruption and abuse of power.
Back-door deals to stay out of prison
The back-door deals to remain relevant in politics and to stay out of prison are unacceptable and makes a fool of Malaysians who voted in Pakatan Harapan, believing our governance would be transparent and accountable.
We are muddying our administration by receiving tainted and corrupt politicians, who are desperately abandoning a sinking ship for vested interests.
It’s unthinkable that we refuse to use our discretion to swat them away like flies.
The Malaysia Baru or New Malaysia cannot be about wheeling and dealing; it cannot be about strategising for political longevity or dynasty; it cannot be about emboldening one’s political party and it certainly cannot be about favouritism and positioning who sits on the throne next.
Deafening opposition to Umno politicians joining PH
We cannot afford to be arrogant just because we won handsomely at the last general election. We are not the kingmakers. The people are.
If we care to listen to the ground, we will hear deafening opposition to receiving Umno politicians into the Pakatan Harapan fold.
We hear, once too often, that politics is littered with broken relationships and strange bedfellows.
As an activist, I always knew that many politicians find manipulative ways to ply their political trade.
But I was hoping that these belonged with the former Umno-led BN government.
It’s not too late, however, as Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad can still say no to party defections by politicians who believe they can switch from sinners to saints.
– Charles Santiago, Klang MP
* This is a Press Statement by Member of Parliament for Klang Charles Santiago on 15 December 2018