'Anwar has his own views and I respect them, but I have my own views' - Pasir Gudang MP
SHAH ALAM - There is always room for good criticism to ensure good governance, says Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim.
In an exclusive interview with Sinar, Hassan said the name of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has the word 'keadilan' in it, which basically means to be fair, thus there was a need to be fair in conveying the truth, even if it was bitter to swallow.
"To me, I adhere to the principles of voicing out matters that I feel are contrary to the spirit of the party and my own values," he said.
On claims by Pas Youth Chief Afnan Hamimi Taib Azamudden that the Unity Government practices vindictive politics and was selective in giving out allocations to opposition MPs, Hassan said his views have always remained consistent.
"My comments about these allocations have always been consistent from the time when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad became the seventh Prime Minister until Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim assumed the post. Anwar has his own views, and I respect them. But I have a different view.
"My view is that we are from PKR, and what is the meaning of justice? It means we have to be fair. MPs consist of those from Bersatu, Pas, and others. They have 74 seats and are elected by the people.
"Some won with a majority of tens of thousands. Why do we want to deny the people's right to get allocations? So that means, in this country's budget, there is an allocation under the Prime Minister's Department, which are allocations for the MP's.
"This allocation does not come from PKR, DAP, or GRS. If it's not enough, add to it and share it with everyone, because in the end, it's the people who enjoy all this," he said.
Hassan said he did not agree with denying the rights of opposition MPs.
"Since Dr Mahathir's time, I have been speaking out. Not only that, this provision does not need to be charged or made through a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
"I don't believe that. However, I believe that we should enact a law related to the Parliament's funds for the Parliament's constituencies. Every government must provide for representatives of the people in every area. When the allocation is given, they can serve the people in the area well," he said.
Hassan said there was no need to be afraid if opposition MPs carry out their duties well for the people in their constituencies.
"Why are we afraid if opposition members of Parliament can carry out their duties well for the people? That's a good thing. So we have to compete with them through party against party and policy against policy," he added.
Earlier this year, several opposition MPs, including Pas President Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang (PN-Marang), in their debates for the Budget 2023, asked the government to ensure equal allocations for all MPs.
Last month, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) called for the immediate, unconditional, and impartial allocation of Constituency Development Funds (CDF) to all elected representatives, including the Opposition.
This comes after Perikatan Nasional chief whip Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan announced that opposition lawmakers would stop negotiations or requests for allocations for their areas with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
It was reported that Bersih was disappointed at the government’s inability to resolve the dispute over the long-standing issue, stating that the failure had resulted in a wave of opposition MPs pledging support for the unity government recently.
“Such failure has led to the few opposition MPs of Kuala Kangsar, Labuan, Gua Musang, and Jeli declaring their support for Anwar's leadership and the Federal Government on the ground of the need for funding allocations for their respective constituencies.
“Opposition MPs are also chosen by the people. Hence, the unity government must respect the voters' choice in the opposition MP’s constituency and refrain from using CDFs as bargaining chips to obtain support from opposition representatives,” it said.
Bersih also said that the withholding of CDF allocations from being distributed to Perikatan Nasional MPs was unfair, noting that the funds were given only to those who support the government.
On Oct 30, Labuan MP Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman claimed he had received allocations for his constituency earlier after declaring support for Anwar.