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Thursday, December 31, 2020

PKR's RM10m demand: Zuraida cites constitutional right to choose party

 


The RM10 million bond that PKR members signed prior to contesting in 14th General Election (GE14) is invalid as the Federal Constitution safeguards the rights to join or leave political parties, claimed its former vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin.

In her Statement of Defence against PKR's lawsuit filed yesterday, the Housing and Local Government minister claimed that the bond is not required under law but was a unilateral move by PKR imposed on candidates wishing to contest under its name.

The Ampang MP, now with Bersatu, pointed out that Article 10 of the Federal Constitution safeguards the fundamental right of association, in reference to the right for a Malaysian to use discretion to choose which party to join and support.

“The bond is not a requirement under the law for elections in Malaysia, but on the contrary was something imposed unilaterally by PKR on candidates wishing to contest under PKR’s name just like the defendant.

“The bond, if true, is on the whole unfair and one-sided, including but not limited to, restriction on the right of association, and therefore is not enforceable,” the statement claimed.

Zuraida alleged that she left PKR as it has deviated from its aims following the return of its president Anwar Ibrahim.

Among the earliest members of PKR since its formation on April 4, 1999, she alleged she initially joined the party believing in its stated goal of upholding the rights and interests of all Malaysians regardless of race and faith.

“At all material times, the defendant had joined PKR due to her belief in the aims and values upheld by PKR, including amongst others to safeguard rights, power and importance of Malaysians as a whole without regard to ethnicity or religion, to make Malaysia a country that is fair and developed.

“The defendant found that PKR had deviated far from its goals after Anwar returned to the helm as the president following his receiving a full pardon and released from jail, whereby in the end has caused the defendant to lose faith in the PKR leadership,” the statement added.

Zuraida denied a claim by PKR that she was a traitor for leaving the party, alleging that it was not an easy decision for her to make, especially in light of her sacrifices to develop the party.

“However, for the interest of constituents and/or voters of the defendant in Ampang Parliament (constituency) specifically and for Malaysians in general, the defendant made the decision to leave to ensure the interest of the constituents are safeguarded.”

Zuraida again pointed out that no law in Malaysia prevents one from leaving a political party as the Federal Constitution upholds the right to association.

“Therefore, the use of the term pembelot (traitor) against the defendant and/or labelling the defendant as a pembelot is not only inappropriate but also untrue, baseless and malicious,” she claimed.

On Oct 2, PKR filed the RM10 million lawsuit against Zuraida for defecting from the party.

The Writ of Summons listed PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution as acting on behalf of the party in the legal action.

Zuraida, along with 11 other MPs led by former PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, left the party in February to support Bersatu, Umno-BN and GPS in forming Perikatan Nasional.

Following this, several assemblypersons in various states aligned to Azmin also quit PKR.

Before being fielded in the 2018 general election, all PKR lawmakers had signed a pledge agreeing to a fine RM10 million each if they defected from the party after being elected as an assemblyperson or MP. - Mkini

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