Defending Dr Mahathir, Bersatu deputy minister tells Perikatan govt to ‘jaga kau’ at July Parliament sitting

Datuk Shahruddin Md Salleh is pictured in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur March 25, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Shahruddin Md Salleh is pictured in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur March 25, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 — Deputy Works Minister Datuk Shahruddin Md Salleh today signalled that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government should be on their toes when the Dewan Rakyat resumes its sitting, expected to be next month.

The Sri Gading MP came out today in defence of embattled Langkawi MP Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad whose membership in Bersatu — a party he co-founded — was annulled by its leadership in an abrupt announcement late last month.

“The date of May 18, 2020, has passed. The date for the Dewan Rakyat session for this term. The date which was very much feared by some, that it even caused them to lose their sleep.

“The sitting only saw the opening ceremony by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. There was no debate, no oral question-and-answer session. It was out of the ordinary. New norm. Maybe afraid of Covid-19.

“The Dewan Rakyat will resume this July, which is next month, if God permits, all the MPs are waiting for this, anxiously.

“Siap, jaga kau!” Shahruddin said in a statement, warning in Malay to “watch out”.

Shahruddin met Dr Mahathir at the Bersatu national headquarters in Petaling Jaya last Friday.

He was expected to join a press conference that day together with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof but the event was later cancelled.

Dr Mahathir and his Pakatan Harapan coalition have been criticising the ruling PN over the “hurried” May 18 Parliament sitting, claimed certain government officials were afraid of extending the one-day meet to allow debates as the former prime minister and his allies had sought a no-confidence motion against his successor and Bersatu president, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Today, Shahruddin also explained his reason for meeting Dr Mahathir last Friday.  

The pro tem Bersatu secretary-general hailed Dr Mahathir as the party’s “statesman” who struggled to found the party in 2016, and recalled the latter’s assertiveness and drive in propelling the fledgling political entity to its present pole position.

“Tun was always nagging in the MPT meetings regarding Bersatu membership, I pity Mr Akram Shah (Akramsyah Sanusi) who has to answer ‘how many Bersatu members now?’” Shahruddin said. 

He recalled being “terrified” of Dr Mahathir’s no-nonsense attitude, but added that many joined Bersatu because they were drawn in by the 94-year-old.

“Tun’s service is as big and heavy as the earth. Without Tun, Bersatu will lay dead,” he said.

On May 28, Dr Mahathir along with Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah and Maszlee Malik were given letters signed by Bersatu’s organising secretary Muhammad Suhaimi Yahya stating that their party memberships were terminated according to clauses 10.2.2 and 10.2.3 of the party’s constitution. 

Clauses 10.2.2 and 10.2.3 state that membership of party members are cancelled if they leave the party or join any other political parties.

On May 30, Muhyiddin, who is also Bersatu president, appealed to Bersatu members to stay calm.

He said the Bersatu five were not sacked but their membership ceased after they acted against the party’s constitution.

Dr Mahathir however remains steadfast and refuses to accept the decision and criticised Muhyiddin for pulling Bersatu out of Pakatan Harapan.

* A previous version of this story contained errors which has since been corrected. 

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