KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 — The six former Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia MPs said they have the right to express support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and this is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.

Their spokesman, Labuan MP Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman, vowed that they will continue as independent lawmakers after their party tried unsuccessfully to remove them as MPs by stripping them of membership.

“Bersatu leadership's instructions to us are contrary to and denying our rights under the Federal Constitution,” he said in a press conference at the Parliament building.

“Our right to say anything including expressing my support or my right to vote in the Dewan Rakyat is a parliamentary privilege under Article 63(2) and cannot be challenged in court.”

Shuhaili said Article 49A of the Federal Constitution, which prohibited the defection of elected lawmakers, was introduced to ensure the stability of the government and prevent the political turmoil that occurred between 2020 and the last general election.

“If the instructions from Bersatu, which exists from its constitution, can deny the rights of members of parliament under the Federal Constitution, then this situation can create political instability and goals Article 49A of the Federal Constitution was not achieved,” he said.

Shuhaili also said the six’s seating position in the Dewan Rakyat would remain unchanged until the Speaker decides otherwise.

“We will continue to serve as independent MPs to our people's area, Article 49A is clear, we cannot join any party because it can be triggered. We fought to get allocations to help the people of our area,” he said.

“If the Opposition bloc doesn't want us to sit in their Bloc, it is up to the Speaker,” he added.

Aside from Shuhaili, the five are Datuk Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar), Mohd Azizi Abu Naim (Gua Musang), Zahari Kechik (Jeli), Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal (Bukit Gantang) dan Datuk Zulkafperi Hanapi (Tanjung Karang).

Yesterday, Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin criticised Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul’s for refusing to declare vacancies in the six MPs’ seats, saying it contravened the letter and spirit of Article 49A(3) of the Federal Constitution.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim defended Johari's decision and said the Speaker acted in accordance with the law.

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