PKR's Tian Chua claims that Sabah MPs Lajim Ukin and Wilfred Bumburing 'resigned' from Barisan Nasional, so there was "no party-hopping."
PETALING JAYA: Under fire for what has been described as a ‘contradictory’ stand on party-hopping, Pakatan Rakyat leader Tian Chua said today he saw no wrong in the recent ‘defections’ by two Sabah lawmakers.
The PKR vice-president said the opposition pact are also against party-hopping but the defections of Umno’s Beaufort MP Lajim Ukin and Tuaran UPKO MP Wilfred Bumburing were merely resignations following disillusionment with the ruling coalition’s “failed” leadership.
“They just don’t believe in the Barisan Nasional leadership anymore so they resigned and said they would back Pakatan. That is not party hopping,” Tian, who is also PKR’s vice-president, told a press conference after the pact’s secretariat meeting here.
The duo’s resignation from BN, followed by rumours of more possible resignations by lawmakers from the key state of Sabah, prompted some leaders from both sides of the political divide to call for an “anti-hopping” law.
Pakatan component party DAP said it would try and introduce the law in Penang where they head the administration in a move seen as critical of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s ongoing move to court more defections.
Sabah provides 25 out of the 222 parliamentary seats which makes it a crucial state to infiltrate for Pakatan in the upcoming polls.
With the pact winning just a few seats less than BN in the landmark 2008 elections, Sabah, known as the ruling coalition’s “fixed deposit”, became the ruling coalition’s saving grace next to Sarawak when it provided the majority it needed to maintain power.
The party secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said his party’s silence on Lajim and Bumburing’s exit from their respective parties was “self-explanatory” of the DAP’s position on the matter.
But the move came under immediate fire with rivals accusing Lim of being hypocritical for his alliance with Anwar who was seen as the architect behind the Sabah defections.
Some accused the proposal as a violation of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution that provides for freedom of association.
The PKR de facto leader was also the man behind a failed Sept 16 “coup” in 2009 that was meant to involve mass defections of BN lawmakers and oust the administration of then premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
But Tian said today the pact detested party hopping and that Lajim and Bumburing’s resignations came with the assurance that they will not contest under the Pakatan ticket.
“So this will give voters the chance to vote and give a new mandate to anyone else… there is no undermining of the democratic process here,” he said.
He added that the pact will soon discuss the idea of pushing for an anti-hopping law soon.