Split into factions, Dr M says Bersatu MPs may sit on different sides in Dewan Rakyat

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Bersatu MPs are set to have a tricky time coordinating their seats at the upcoming Dewan Rakyat sitting as clear factions exist within the party. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Bersatu MPs are set to have a tricky time coordinating their seats at the upcoming Dewan Rakyat sitting as clear factions exist within the party. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s MPs are set to have a tricky time coordinating their seats at the upcoming Dewan Rakyat sitting as clear factions exist within the party, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Quoted by English daily The Star, the former prime minister said the difference in allegiances would ultimately restrict party colleagues from being seated together as several MPs are in support of the government while there are others still aligned with Pakatan Harapan.

“So, the faction against the government cannot sit together with the faction with the government.

“So, it should be among the opposition together with Pakatan, but not as a member of Pakatan,” he was quoted in the report.

“When you have more than two parties, for example, the opposition will be made up of many different parties, it is up to them who will lead them as opposition (leader).

“So, this faction of Bersatu will have to accept the leader chosen by the opposition (MPs),” he added.

Dr Mahathir pointed out how opposition MPs would also need to officially appoint an Opposition Leader, and warned that the question of whether or not Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin enjoys the support of majority lawmakers might prop up during the upcoming May 18 sitting.

He highlighted this despite only matters concerning to the management of the Covid-19 outbreak would be allowed during the next sitting, adding the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government has yet to be mandated by the Dewan Rakyat.

“What the Dewan Rakyat needs to do is to show whether they support Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s claims that he gets the support of the majority, not today, but at the time when he was sworn in to become the PM, at that time did he have a majority or not?,” Dr Mahathir said in the report.

The former prime minister said the one day sitting dedicated to issues pertaining to the outbreak would be beneficial for healthcare purposes, but not politically beneficial for the opposition bloc, adding the one-day session is too short for anything meaningful to be achieved.

“It is good only because it will reduce the risk of being infected by the coronavirus. But in terms of the political situation in the country, it is not good.

“Because if only one day is devoted only to discussing the epidemic, then the achievement will be very minimum.

Dr Mahathir added how the one-day sitting would again play into the hands current government as he claimed there were parties seemingly unhappy with several recent moves made by PN, without elaborating.

He pointed out how all government decisions should rightfully be debated in parliament first.

“At this moment, there are things being done by the government which are not very well received by the people.

And if the government continues to do things without exposing itself to debate in parliament, it will do a lot of things which will damage the country.

“One-day meeting confined only to the epidemic is only good because of health considerations. Political reason, it is not good,” he said.

Additionally, Dr Mahathir commented on the US$300 million (RM1.3 billion) returned to Malaysia by the US Department of Justice now under the custody of the PN government, saying the coalition needs to be ‘certified’ by Parliament first before it can rightfully receive the retrieved funds. 

“Actually, at this time, the major decisions should not be made by the government, as it is not yet fully legalised, in the sense it has yet to be certified by the Parliament.

“We should do the usual routine work. For example, the money that was collected by the DoJ had been returned to this government,” he said, while expressing doubts over how the funds, allegedly siphoned from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, would be used. 

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