Malaysia: Pakatan to discuss Umno defectors at presidential council meeting

  • As Bersatu welcomed seven former Barisan Nasional MPs into the Pakatan Harapan fold, some of its own politicians and supporters are now dreading the emergence of Umno 2.0.
  • Several took to social media to express their disappointment, saying they now feel cheated and questioned if PH chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad has made a U-turn after promising earlier that PH would not accept Umno turncoats.
  • Leading the voices of discontent, however, is a member of Dr Mahathir’s cabinet, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming from DAP.
  • On Facebook, many also reacted to a statement by PKR vice-president Chang Lih Kang, who said PH parties should stop accepting BN lawmakers as members.
  • Others were more sympathetic, viewing Dr Mahathir’s move as getting more MPs into PH so that he could push the reforms promised by the new governments without much hassle in Parliament.
  • Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh of DAP has also described as “wrong”and “frightening”the defection of lawmakers from Umno to Bersatu.
  • “The very real possibility that such Umno MPs will soon form the majority of Bersatu is indeed frightening,” said Ramkarpal in a statement.
  • He reiterated the need for anti-hopping laws to be enacted, but added that such a hope remains distant, seeing as to how PH has accepted “frogs” with open arms.
  • In response, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said Pakatan Harapan (PH) will discuss the issue of seven Umno defectors who were accepted into Bersatu on 12 Feb 19 at the upcoming presidential meeting.
  • The finance minister said he had personally told Dr Mahathir Mohamad about his intention and the prime minister had agreed to discuss the issue in the meeting.
  • Mujahid Yusof Rawa, who is the minister in charge of Islamic affairs, said those joining PH must first agree to the coalition’s struggle.
  • Meanwhile, UMNO is not unduly disturbed by the decision of its seven former members of parliament to defect and join Bersatu as the grassroots members are still loyal to the party, said its leaders.
  • Instead of crying over the seven, they said there are more pressing matters, such as the cooperation with PAS and facing the changing Malaysian political landscape following the last general election.
  • The seven federal seats lost to Bersatu through the defections are Malay-majority seats and thus, will test the true cooperation of Umno-PAS in the next general election to wrest them back, they said.
  • Based on the GE14 results, PH won’t be able to defend the seven seats if Umno and PAS work together in the next elections, said Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi from Universiti Malaya.
  • He also said that the defection of the seven to Bersatu has no long-term gains for the ruling party but will only cause concern among the voters over politicians jumping parties.
  • Masjid Tanah Umno chief Ab Rauf Yusoh said his division remains intact although the MP, Mas Ermieyati Samsuddin, left Barisan Nasional in Jul 18.
  • The same sentiment was echoed by acting Umno president Mohamad Hasan when asked about the seven.

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13-Feb-2019


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