PETALING JAYA: As Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) continues to beef up its ranks in the Dewan Rakyat by accepting former Umno MPs, resentment seems to be brewing inside the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
The PKR is already referring to it as a betrayal of the people’s trust while the DAP, being a little more diplomatic, says the matter needed “immediate attention”.
Only Amanah, the smallest party in the ruling coalition, has yet to express any concern. Vice-president Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa said Amanah had no problem as long as the former Umno members remained steadfast to the coalition’s struggles.
PKR vice-president and Tanjung Malim MP Chang Lih Kang expressed disappointment with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is also PPBM chairman, “for going back on his word to not accept Umno deserters”.
Other PH leaders are equally vehement in their objection to the PPBM strategy to strengthen its hand in Parliament.
One PH source pointed out that Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin, one of the ex-Umno MPs who had crossed over, never questioned Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak about the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal although he was a minister at that time.
Hamzah was Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister in Najib’s cabinet.
He added that even when the 1MDB scandal became a major issue and Najib was taken to court, “there was a deafening silence” from him (Hamzah).
“If he was unable or unwilling to question his former leader how can he contribute to the development and betterment of PH? It’s just like going back to the ‘bad old days’ of Umno,“ the source said.
“There is no need for PPBM to accept people from a party that have been rejected by voters into their fold,“ the source added.
Apart from Hamzah, who is Larut MP, the others in the latest batch of former Umno wakil rakyat to join PPBM were Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (Tanah Merah), Datuk Dr Latiff Ahmad (Mersing), Datuk Rosol Wahid (Hulu Terengganu), Datuk Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh (Sabak Bernam), Datuk Shahbudin Yahya (Tasik Gelugor) and Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin (Masjid Tanah).
Two other former Umno MPs who have also joined PPBM are former Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Bagan Serai MP Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.
While he conceded that PH needed a two-thirds majority in Parliament to make meaningful changes, the source said accepting such leaders would not help to bring about the changes that the people expected.
“We can always hope for the support of Sarawak MPs. If it benefits everyone, I’m sure they will give their support,“ he added.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is also PH deputy chairman, would only say that his party wanted to bring the matter up for discussion at the coalition’s presidential council meeting.
“I have raised the matter with Mahathir and he has agreed to bring forward the next meeting,“ he said.
The last PH presidential council meeting was held on Feb 1. The meeting is typically held once a month.
When asked if he would have any objection to being on the same side as Shahbudin with whom he had a row over the latter’s remarks that it was alright for a girl to marry her rapist, Lim said he still maintained that such statements should not be condoned.