PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim should honour the people’s mandate by refusing to accept support from opposition MPs, a government backbencher said.
Noting that the recent actions of four Bersatu MPs had “fallen through the loopholes of the anti-party hopping law”, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the public would still expect Anwar and his unity government to uphold the spirit of the law.
“The (anti-hopping) law was passed to preserve the people’s confidence in the electoral system.
“Any attempt to condone them or induce similar acts in the future would contravene the spirit of that law,” the DAP MP told FMT.
The anti-party hopping law came into force on Oct 5 last year.
It was designed to prevent a recurrence of the much maligned Sheraton Move, which saw 36 MPs drop out of the Pakatan Harapan government in February 2020 to cause its collapse after only 22 months in power.
The law was designed to prevent MPs switching their allegiance from one party to another, commonly called “party hopping”.
Yii also expressed concern that accepting opposition MPs would erode confidence in the government, especially among the youth.
“They may end up discounting other good reforms the government has already put in place and those which are still in the making,” he said.
In recent weeks, Bersatu MPs Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar), Suhaili Abdul Rahman (Labuan), Azizi Abu Naim (Gua Musang) and Zahari Kechik (Jeli) have all publicly declared their support for Anwar’s unity government, despite remaining in the opposition coalition.
On Monday, former Penang deputy chief minister P Ramasamy questioned the wisdom of the unity government accepting their support.
Ramasamy, a former Penang DAP chairman, said Anwar and his government should know better, given their reformist background.
He also said the government had a moral obligation to reject potential future “defections”.
Offering a different perspective, PKR’s Pasir Gudang MP, Hassan Karim, said Anwar would be unwise to reject the support of the quartet if their intentions were sincere.
He said support of opposition MPs for the government was not unusual in a mature parliamentary democracy given its adversarial nature.
“The support (must be) genuine, not because they just want constituency funds,” he said.
In any event, Hassan said, the prime minister ought to give equal allocation of funds to all MPs for use in their constituencies, regardless of whether they were from the government or the opposition.