Will Salleh and Pandikar be forgiven by joining Pakatan? Kit Siang asks

Datuk Hajiji Noor announced the mass exodus of Sabah representatives from Umno in Kota Kinabalu on December 12, 2018. — Picture by Julia Chan
Datuk Hajiji Noor announced the mass exodus of Sabah representatives from Umno in Kota Kinabalu on December 12, 2018. — Picture by Julia Chan

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 ― Lim Kit Siang questioned today if former Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak and ex-Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia would get away with supporting Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the 1MDB scandal just by joining Pakatan Harapan (PH) after the Sabah politicians left Umno.

The veteran DAP leader pointed out that Salleh and Pandikar had propped up the former prime minister after July 2015 when Najib sacked Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail, and allegedly stopped investigations by the police, anti-corruption authorities, Bank Negara, and the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament into the 1MDB financial scandal.

“Are Salleh and Pandikar to get away for their support of Najib and the 1MDB scandal, and even more serious, the infamy of Malaysia of being regarded worldwide as a global kleptocracy, just by joining the exodus from Umno and later joining one of the Pakatan Harapan parties?” Lim said in a statement.

“I was twice suspended for six months from the 13th Parliament for wanting to get to the bottom of the 1MDB scandal, and in the last few days of the 13th Parliament, I was regarded as a ‘parliamentary ghost’ by the 1MDB Speaker for he decided not to ‘see’ my presence in Parliament!” added the Iskandar Puteri MP, referring to the then-Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar.

Sabah Umno lost Wednesday nine assemblymen, four MPs, and most of its state liaison committee, with the defectors pledging support towards Prime Minister and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s leadership.

PPBM strategist Rais Hussin tweeted pictures of his lunch meeting with the former Sabah Umno leaders that day and described them as “friends”, tagging Salleh in his tweet.

Lim today also highlighted a private member’s Bill he had moved in 1978 to require that Members of Parliament vacate their seat within 30 days if they resigned or were expelled from the party on whose ticket they were originally elected.

“Nothing disgusts the Malaysian public more than to see MPs or state assemblymen elected on one party’s ticket and then betray the party and the people’s trust by switching parties,” he said.

“There should be an anti-hopping law in Malaysia, but until there is such a legislation, the political leadership whether in government or the opposition, should set an example of political integrity to ensure that any party defection by an elected representative is not purely for personal or opportunistic reasons, which would raise grave integrity issues.”

Before the Sabah Umno exodus, six MPs left Umno, three of whom — Jeli MP Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Bagan Serai MP Datuk Noor Azmi Ghazali, and Masjid Tanah MP Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin — joined PPBM. Another, Labuan MP Datuk Rozman Isli, joined Warisan.

“The Pakatan Harapan coalition should not allow anyone of the former Umno political leaders to join anyone of the component parties until and unless they have publicly atoned for their wrongs and failures for giving support to Najib and the 1MDB scandal in the past few years, together with public pledge by them that they now fully endorse the goal of transforming Malaysia from a global kleptocracy into a leading nation in integrity,” said Lim.