Ex-EC chief backs MP’s move to make way for Anwar

Former Election Commission chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The head of Putrajaya’s electoral reforms committee has defended the Port Dickson MP’s decision to vacate his seat to make way for PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim.

Speaking to FMT, former Election Commission chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said Danyal Balagopal Abdullah shouldn’t be prevented from making a “good sacrifice” that “would benefit the country”.

Danyal announced his decision yesterday and said he had sent his resignation letter to the speaker of the Dewan Rakyat.

Some social media users supported the move, but others said it was an abuse of voters’ trust and a waste of public funds.

Abdul Rashid played down the expense to taxpayers, saying the act of vacating a seat wasn’t rampant and that it was in this case done for a serious reason.

“It involves a top party leader who needs to enter the system,” he said. “We should allow it as it will benefit the country.”

He also disagreed with those calling for a law to prevent an MP from vacating a seat to make way for another candidate, saying it would deny people their democratic rights.

Earlier, the National Patriots Association warned of a possible backlash from veterans if Danyal vacated his seat, saying he was seen as a representative for thousands of former servicemen.

But Danyal said Anwar, as prime-minister-in-waiting, couldn’t be “making noise from the outside” and needed to get into the system as soon as possible.

Danyal won the seat in the May 9 polls, defeating Barisan Nasional’s VS Mogan and PAS’ Mahfuz Roslan.

PKR announced yesterday that Anwar would stand for election in Port Dickson as a way of getting into Parliament so that he could become the country’s eighth prime minister.

A by-election must be held within 60 days of the vacating of the seat.