The letter reportedly signed by 36 BN lawmakers pledging support for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was aimed at securing allocations, and not for them to switch parties.
Citing sources, The Malaysian Insight reported that BN lawmakers signed the letter because they wanted the same allocations received by their Harapan counterparts, as well as a continuation of BN-era projects in their constituencies.
“All the MPs signed it, as it was aimed at helping the people. It would be difficult for us to serve without allocations.
“Some of these projects are for road improvement, the building of new schools and hospitals, so we wanted them continued,” one MP said.
Other lawmakers said the letter had nothing to do with defecting to Bersatu, nor did it set any conditions to pressure Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to go on leave or resign.
Previously, former domestic trade minister Hamzah Zainuddin said the letter was signed to pledge support for Mahathir and ensure a stable government.
Hamzah said this after his exit from Umno, along with five other MPs.
In June, Mahathir said that opposition lawmakers would get funding from Putrajaya, albeit a lesser amount than what government backbenchers received.
The initial figure he gave was RM500,000 for government MPs, and RM100,000 for the opposition.
This was a departure from the policy enforced during the BN administration, where oppositions lawmakers would get no funding other than their salaries as MPs.
The attempt to secure equal funding was also part of the deal BN secretary-general Nazri Abdul Aziz claimed to have struck with prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim.
Umno has been haemorrhaging lawmakers following its defeat in the May 9 general election.
It was initially the biggest party in the Dewan Rakyat with 54 seats, but its numbers have dwindled to 38 after a slew of defections. – Malaysiakini