SHAH ALAM: As the opposition bloc prepares for tomorrow’s heated Dewan Rakyat sitting over the speaker’s removal, opposition leader and PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said there is nothing “personal” in his differences with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Speaking to reporters after a closed-door meeting between PH leaders, which Mahathir and Warisan’s Shafie Apdal did not attend, Anwar said he was open to working with anyone with common policies.
“Anyone, including Tun, if we can agree (on things), then we can proceed.”
He said this when asked if these differences between them would be a hurdle for the opposition to act as a united front.
Mahathir has declared that he and five other MPs would form an independent opposition bloc. Mahathir had earlier proposed Shafie as PH’s prime ministerial candidate.
The one-and-half-hour meeting was attended by all 91 DAP, Amanah and PKR leaders.
Anwar also said the opposition will stand united in opposing the removal of Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has submitted a motion for their removal.
The PN government is proposing to replace them with Azhar Azizan Harun and Azalina Othman Said respectively.
Anwar said their opposition is based on principles.
“This is based on the rule of law as this has never been done in the history of the Commonwealth and our history (to replace a sitting speaker).
“Any replacement only happens when there is a vacancy or a speaker resigns,” Anwar, who is also PH chairman, added.
Anwar added there was “absolutely no basis to change the speaker mid-course”, and further appealed to MPs, other than from PH, to stand firm in protecting the sanctity of Parliament.
Anwar, who is Port Dickson MP, further praised the speaker for his performance thus far and for maintaining law and order in the Dewan Rakyat. He urged MPs to make the right decision.
Asked further if Mahathir and Shafie were invited to today’s retreat, Anwar replied that there was an informal meeting with Warisan and Mahathir’s faction where the speaker’s removal was discussed.
“They will jointly support the opposition’s position.
“Today is considered purely a PH event and they are not in PH. But then, there is a cordial working relationship (with them),” he added.
Anwar further revealed that today’s meeting also discussed possible snap elections and the importance of being prepared for any eventuality.
“And we will start preparing for the elections,” he added.
When asked if PH will support Mahathir’s motion of no confidence against Muhyiddin, Anwar replied that government issues will be prioritised and it may be difficult to debate on that.
“Due to that, we will focus on defending the position of the speaker,” he added
On his appointment in a parliamentary select committee, he said it was the norm for the opposition leader to be selected.
“I have to perform my task and present the need for parliamentary reforms,” he added.
The reforms revolve around the duration for debates, adequate notice for debates and motions.
Meanwhile, PH secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution said 108 out of the 222 MPs will be part of the opposition bloc in the Dewan Rakyat.
Fake or not? Check our quick fake news buster here.