Bersatu remains strong amidst temptations: Challenges to party integrity addressed
SHAH ALAM - Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) remains steadfast despite four of its Members of Parliament expressing support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Its information officer, Datuk Razali Idris, stated that all 31 Bersatu MPs have affirmed their loyalty to the party and are resilient in the face of the repercussions of the aforementioned actions.
He dismissed claims that Bersatu would be crippled, asserting that such allegations are mere fabrications intended to pit representatives of Perikatan Nasional (PN) against each other.
Razali confirmed that, as of now, he has not received any official information regarding the possibility of more Bersatu MPs following in the footsteps of the four representatives who switched allegiance.
"We believe that, up to this point, only four Bersatu MPs have shifted their support to the Prime Minister because they succumbed to lucrative offers, lacked integrity, and betrayed the trust bestowed upon them by the voters and the public," he told Sinar.
As of now, the four Bersatu MPs who expressed support for the Prime Minister without leaving the party are Datuk Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar), Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman (Labuan), Mohd Azizi Abu Naim (Gua Musang), and Zahari Kechik (Jeli).
Razali emphasised that Bersatu is not grappling with internal issues stemming from this situation.
Instead, he criticised the four,who perceive the parliamentary seats won in the 15th General Election (GE15) as their personal possessions rather than belonging to the party or the constituents in their respective areas.
"Insha-Allah, Bersatu will continue to progress because this is just a new wave or experience for Bersatu, and we will navigate through it as usual.
"In fact, in other parties, many divisions have occurred, including in DAP and even Umno.
We have not broken apart yet. It's normal to face a slight shift in support.
They did so (expressing support for Anwar) to avoid losing parliamentary seats, as stipulated by the Anti-Party Hopping Act," he explained.
Meanwhile, Razali rejected the proposal put forth by the DAP Secretary-General, Anthony Loke, for Bersatu to amend its party constitution, similar to what DAP and Umno have done, to prevent its representatives from defecting or expressing support for the government.
"We cannot equate ourselves with DAP, Umno, or even Pas because those parties are mature and have been firmly rooted in Malaysian soil compared to Bersatu.
"Therefore, I advise Anthony not to act as a hero because Bersatu knows what needs to be done to prevent MPs and representatives from continuously defecting or expressing support for the current government," he said.
He added that, although Bersatu is still young, they will make improvements and changes over time to address existing weaknesses.
"Even though Bersatu is still young and less than seven years old, we have proven our strength and capability with over 30 MPs and 60 State Assembly members now," he concluded.
Additionally, Razali stressed the need to replace Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul, as the former MP for Sungai Petani is often seen as biassed, including defending the positions of MPs who switch parties to avoid any action under the Anti-Party Hopping Act.
As an example, Razali mentioned that Johari decided that four Sabah MPs, namely Datuk Azmizan Mohd Ali (Papar), Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan (Batu Sapi), Jonathan Yasin (Ranau), and Datuk Matbali Musah (Sipitang), do not need to vacate their seats even though they have clearly left Bersatu.
"So, I view the weakness of the current Anti-Party Hopping Act as stemming from the Speaker.
"He should take strict action against those who switch parties and express support from the opposition to the current government instead of defending the MPs involved because he is a PKR member and his party's president is the Prime Minister at present. It shouldn't be like that," he emphasised.
At the same time, Razali also urged the government to amend the existing anti-party hopping laws to align with changes over time, similar to other laws.
"This is important because in history, no opposition MP has ever taken action to express support for the opposing party (government), but they still remain as representatives of the same party," he said.