Bersatu MPs confident of serving until GE16 despite party rift

“The party constitution is not the national or state constitution with authority to disqualify MPs and state assemblymen”.

(The Sun Daily) – Labuan MP Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman is confident that he and five other MPs from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) who switched support to the government will continue serving until the 16th General Election without vacating their seats early.

According to the Perikatan Nasional MP, the future of the six Bersatu MPs is determined by the Speaker of Parliament and the court, not the party constitution.

He said even if Bersatu amends its constitution to allow filing claims to vacate the six MPs’ seats, he believes the party charter cannot override the Federal Constitution.

“The party constitution is not the national or state constitution with authority to disqualify MPs and state assemblymen.

“To enable the party constitution to have such authority, amendments must be made to the Federal Constitution’s clause regarding the anti-party-hopping law,” he said yesterday.

He added that the anti-hopping law has no clear clause stating that if a party dismisses an MP’s membership, the MP’s seat must be vacated automatically.

“Most importantly, the fate of me and the other five Bersatu MPs can only be determined by two parties, the Speaker of Parliament and the court. The party constitution has no authority,” he added.

Earlier, reports said Bersatu would send letters to its six MPs supporting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to confirm if they would stick to that decision.

This follows amendments to Article 10 of Bersatu’s constitution to immediately revoke membership of MPs declaring support contrary to the party’s stance.

Bersatu President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said if the six continue supporting Anwar, their seats will be vacated in line with Article 49A of the Federal Constitution and the anti-hopping law.

Suhaili explained the waiting period for approval of Bersatu’s amendments and subsequent court process is a factor making him believe his fate and the other five MPs’ will remain until the term ends.

“The amendments must go through the Registrar of Societies (RoS) first.

“It cannot pass today and the seats vacated tomorrow,” he said, adding the court process could take over a year with appeals.

He is fine recontesting in Labuan if the court orders a by-election before GE16, saying he’s not afraid of other parties contesting as he believes Labuan voters will still support him.

Meanwhile, Jeli MP Zahari Kechik said he remains committed to supporting the Prime Minister and government for the people’s interests, leaving his position to be determined by the legislative process after Bersatu’s amendments.

“I do not care what happens at this time, but what is important is that I want to focus on the people so that as long as I am their representative, they will receive the best service from me.

“Since the constitutional amendment has been passed and the procedure will be referred to RoS, I do not want to comment because it is up to the party.

“For now, I leave everything to the legislative process to determine my position,” he said.

The six MPs who went rogue since last year are Suhaili, Zahari, Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar), Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal (Bukit Gantang), Mohd Azizi Abu Naim (Gua Musang) and Tanjong Karang MP Datuk Dr Zulkafperi Hanapi.