Mahathir and four others say their removal from Bersatu is illegal and reflects PM Muhyiddin’s insecurities

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad listening to current Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin during a news conference, 5 April 2018 (Photos: Reuters/Lai Seng Sin). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29, 2020, ST. Former premier Mahathir Mohamad and the four Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia MPs removed from the party on Thursday (May 28) have decried the move as illegal and reflective of party president Muhyiddin Yassin’s insecurities and dictatorial leadership, The Straits Times reported.

In a joint statement late Thursday, they rubbished the interpretation of their decision not to join Prime Minister Muhyiddin’s government bench in Parliament as joining another party, which results in automatic revocation of memberships, according to the Bersatu Constitution.

“This reflects the president’s dictatorial attitude. We also state here that the unilateral move by the Bersatu president in sacking us without cause is due to his difficulties in the face of party elections, as well as his insecurity as the most unstable prime minister in the history of this country’s administration,” they said.

Bersatu executive secretary Suhaimi Yahya had issued letters on Thursday informing party founder Mahathir, his son Mukhriz, youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, former education minister Maszlee Malik and former deputy finance minister Amiruddin Hamzah that sitting in the opposition bench during the May 18 parliamentary sitting had resulted in the termination of their memberships.

But the five lawmakers disputed the outcome, saying that interpreting their decision not to join Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s loose Perikatan Nasional (PN) pact as leaving Bersatu “is very shallow and unreasonable” as their actions were legal and in line with Malaysia’s Federal Constitution as MPs.

“What is evident, the office of the president is playing with politics during the Covid-19 outbreak and the economic downturn that has afflicted the country,” they said.

The five, who also dispute the assertion that Bersatu’s leadership had agreed to leave Pakatan Harapan in February, which eventually resulted in Mr Muhyiddin succeeding Tun Dr Mahathir as premier on March 1, said they reserved the right to legal action.

Their removals from Bersatu come on the back of an unprecedented 45-minute sitting of Parliament on May 18, which saw Mr Muhyiddin’s majority untested after he ordered the Speaker to end proceedings immediately after the King’s annual opening speech.

Dr Mahathir had sought to move a vote of no confidence for the Premier who, based on the seating arrangements in Parliament, has 113 MPs in his PN alliance, just above the 112 needed for a simple majority.

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