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Sunday, December 31, 2023

Bersatu lawyer: MPs withdrawing support a constitutional right, not treason


An MP's right to withdraw support for Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is an integral part of democracy, says Bersatu legal and constitution bureau deputy chief Sasha Lyna Abdul Latif.

She said that this is contrary to Community Communications Department (J-Kom) deputy director-general Ismail Yusop's claims of treason, following allegations of opposition leaders attempting to topple the government.

“Whether this is true or a figment of Ismail’s imagination, it is utterly shocking and irresponsible for a government agency to label this as treason.

“Changing government by the withdrawal of support from MPs is not treason, it is democracy in action and permitted by Article 43 of the Federal Constitution,” Sasha said in a statement today.

“This unbecoming rant from J-Kom is ill-informed, ignorant and intended to paint a distasteful picture of the opposition to the public at large,” she added.

Sasha asserted that MPs were free to support whomever they choose as the prime minister’s role is appointed by the majority support of lawmakers in the Dewan Rakyat.

“Anwar himself took full advantage of this. We all remember Anwar’s infamous, 'I have the numbers' claim.

“For years when Anwar was the opposition leader, he has made various underhand attempts at toppling governments. How was this done? By having talks and negotiations with MPs. Did Anwar commit treason then?” she questioned.

Democracy vs dictatorship

Ismail alleged that the movement, dubbed the 'Dubai Move' arose during a vacation by PN leaders, as well as government officials, to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

He claimed that a meeting took place during the visit to assign specific tasks to “agents” responsible for identifying MPs who might switch their support to the opposition with inducements.

He added that influential veteran political figures - some with “Tun” titles - are allegedly involved, including a former prime minister and a former finance minister who are using local and foreign sources to overthrow the Anwar administration.

Sasha said that Ismail's warning to the media over the 'Dubai Move' indicated that the government was prepared to instruct the Home Ministry and authorities to crack down on opposition leaders.

“This itself is a threat to parliamentary democracy,” she said.

“For the government’s propaganda unit to threaten the opposition with treason over this, it is the road to dictatorship and indicates the extent to which Anwar and Harapan have turned their backs on democracy.

“It is also a measure of their fear and desperation, fearing that the shaky Madani coalition will not last much longer,” she added.

Hypocrisy at its best

Sasha claimed that Anwar too had enticed opposition MPs to jump ship and pledge allegiance to the latter.

She did not elaborate but it is believed she is referring to the five Bersatu MPs expressing support for Anwar in recent months.

“How is it that if and when there are MPs from his corner who have lost faith in his administration and leadership and are looking for other better alternatives, they are dubbed as betrayers and much worse, treasonous?

“This is sheer shamelessness and hypocrisy,” she added. - Mkini

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