Beware nepotism in PH, Ambiga warns over PD by-election

Activist Ambiga Sreenevasan.

PETALING JAYA: Activist Ambiga Sreenevasan today warned Pakatan Harapan (PH) to beware the dangers of nepotism following concerns over the upcoming by-election to pave the way for Anwar Ibrahim’s return to Parliament.

Speaking at the sidelines of a forum here, she said either Anwar’s wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, or his daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar should have vacated their seat to make way for him.

Instead, Port Dickson MP Danyal Balagopal Abdullah had stepped down, sparking accusations of nepotism against PKR.

Calling the move “potentially” nepotism, Ambiga said it wasn’t a problem if all three family members were MPs. The problem, she said, lay with their positions in government.

If Anwar becomes the prime minister according to PH’s plan, she said, Wan Azizah should resign as deputy prime minister.

Ambiga said she had no problem with Anwar and that him becoming an MP was part of PH’s arrangement. However, she said her understanding was that it should be one of his family members who vacated their seat.

Wan Azizah is Pandan MP while Nurul Izzah is the MP for Permatang Pauh.

Ambiga also questioned Danyal’s resignation, saying she found it difficult to believe that he had offered his seat.

“We see nepotism present in PH as a whole, not just in PKR,” she said. “They need to watch out for that. They need to think about it because they fought against it while they were in the opposition.”

This comes after Wan Azizah rejected accusations of nepotism, saying yesterday that she saw no issue in having three members of her family as MPs as it was the voters’ choice.

Ambiga, who is former Bersih 2.0 chairman, also called for an end to the engineering of by-elections.

“There must be respect for the electoral system,” she told reporters after the launch of a Lawyers for Liberty report titled “Five faces: A story of police custodial deaths in Malaysia”.

Adding that Danyal had only served his constituents for a few months, she said she could not understand the rush for the by-election.

“I feel sorry for the voters who have to come out and vote so soon after the 14th general election.”