Four more PKR lawmakers have been approached to jump ship and switch allegiance to Perikatan Nasional (PN), PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said.
The opposition MPs were enticed by monetary remunerations to join PN and when that failed, they are being victimised with intimidation tactics, he told a press conference today.
He said the four PKR MPs are M Karupaiya (Padang Serai), S Kesavan (Sg Siput), Awang Husaini Sahari (Putatan) and Michael Teo Yu Leong (Miri).
Anwar’s revelation follows that of another PKR lawmaker, Sekijang MP Natrah Ismail, who said she was offered a bribe to shift her political allegiance.
She has since lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Anwar alleged that the MACC, police and the Inland Revenue Board are being used as “weapons” to threaten opposition lawmakers who are not willing to defect.
This is an abuse of power, he said.
He added that he will seek a meeting with MACC to discuss claims that some opposition politicians were “intimidated” into leaving Pakatan Harapan (PH).
Anwar also questioned PN’s ability to command the majority in Parliament.
“Even with three more MPs (who recently left their parties), even with six MPs, PN does not have enough to gain the 110 (MPs) majority needed.”
He maintained that he continued to have the needed support to take over the government.
“I have adequate numbers,” Anwar said.
When pressed to elaborate on his reply, he appeared upset.
Anwar retorted that it was Muhyiddin’s coalition that must prove it still commanded the majority support needed to remain the government of the day.
“Why not ask PN how many (MPs) it has? Why is that not important? Why are they still governing when they do not dare convene Parliament?
“Why have they never responded to the 115 members of parliament who wrote to the Agong to oppose the decision to suspend Parliament? To me, this is very much more important” he said.
A minimum of 112 federal lawmakers is needed to secure a simple majority in Parliament.
Anwar insisted the PN government has lost its legitimacy to rule and accused it of hiding behind law enforcement agencies, which he claimed were being used to menace rival political leaders.
Earlier in the press conference, he also insisted that the three defections were of no significance to the PN coalition’s standing in Parliament.
“It’s simple mathematics. PN claims they have 111 or 112 (MPs), alright? If we take a portion of those who have declared support for me, they are left with — technically — 100, say.
“But this does not take into account the other 13 (from) Warisan, Pejuang, Muda. So, it’s still minus 13 so they have less than 90 (seats), easily,” he said.
Anwar insisted that PN already lost such an extent of its core support that three defecting MPs would not alter the balance in any way.
On possible cooperation with Umno, Anwar said it was “too early to say that there will be one”.
“I had said there were early discussions with Umno and did not rule out such a possibility.
“However, it is too early to say that there is such cooperation. I have explained this to grassroots leaders during the discussion, to be conveyed to party members.”
Anwar said he not only had discussion with Umno but also “with other related parties”.
He denied that his talks with Umno meant that PKR was reneging on its promises to the people.
“There have been a lot of reactions suggesting that there has been some sort of agreement and we are compromising our principles and reneging on our earlier promises, which is to my mind incorrect.
“We are not going to compromise on the principles, values, policies that we have adopted,” he said.
Umno leaders, however, have cast doubt on Anwar’s claim that he has been holding discussions with their party.
Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan said he had no knowledge of such discussions.
Former prime minister Najib Razak said talk of Umno working with PKR and DAP is “propaganda” by the PN government through its communications unit, JKom.
Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan also refuted Anwar’s claims in the Mingguan Malaysia interview, saying the party has not changed its position of not working with PKR or DAP.