Malaysia’s opposition MPs being coerced to back PM Anwar Ibrahim, says Muhyiddin Yassin


The main opposition party in Malaysia said some of its lawmakers were being coerced or bribed to shift their support to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and plans to lodge complaints with the police and anti-corruption agency.
The Bersatu party, which leads the opposition alliance, found that four lawmakers were getting threatened with legal action or offered cash bribes to back Anwar, its president Muhyiddin Yassin said late on Thursday. Two of them were suspended from Bersatu and relieved of their party positions, and the other two are set to meet a similar fate, he said at a press conference.

The four lawmakers in recent weeks have switched their allegiance to Anwar’s coalition, giving him supermajority support nearly a year after he cobbled together a coalition following a hung parliament result. The increased support could help Anwar carry out plans to restructure the economy and narrow the budget deficit.

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The Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to a request for comment. Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the rise in support should be seen as a positive and more lawmakers will switch allegiances, Bernama reported on Thursday.

Many lawmakers from Bersatu have been approached to back Anwar, according to party’s youth chief Wan Ahmad Faysal Wan Ahmad Kamal on Friday.

“I was also offered to support the government but I rejected them,” he said. “We have managed to meet all our reps and explained to them the situation and I don’t think there will be any more MPs that will switch their support.”

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One of the lawmakers who switched support to Anwar said he was doing this for the sake of his constituency, according to Bernama. The other three have given similar reasons, local media reported, with one of them saying he had been given access to government funds after he changed his support.

Muhyiddin, a former prime minister, said he would propose for Malaysia’s ban on party-hopping be reviewed for weaknesses. Under the law, a member of parliament’s seat would be vacated for elections should they switch parties, which doesn’t apply to the four lawmakers.


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