KUALA LUMPUR – Two opposition lawmakers have left Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and pledged support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, raising speculation that more defections will take place as Malaysia’s premier seeks to cement his position before Parliament next convenes.
In a post on his Facebook page, Tan Sri Muhyiddin said he received on Sunday (Feb 28) statutory declarations (SD) from Julau MP Larry Sng Wei Shien and Tebrau MP Steven Choong Shiau Yoon stating their support for his Perikatan Nasional government.
The declarations were handed over after a gathering of the Cabinet in administrative capital Putrajaya to mark the one-year anniversary of the PN administration.
“Today, I received the SDs from two opposition MPs stating their support for the PN government,” Mr Muhyiddin said on Sunday.
“This support will certainly strengthen the PN government in its efforts and planning to manage the Covid-19 pandemic and revive the country’s economy,” he added.
The move comes just days after the King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, said Parliament can convene during a state of emergency, a move that could allow the opposition to launch a fresh no-confidence vote against Mr Muhyiddin.
On Mr Muhyiddin’s advice, the King had in January declared a nationwide state of emergency that could last till Aug 1, as Malaysia struggled to control soaring Covid-19 infections.
After invoking emergency powers, Mr Muhyiddin suspended parliamentary sittings, which also resulted in a confidence vote against him being stalled.
He, however, promised that a general election will be held once the emergency is lifted.
PN became a minority government on Jan 12 after two Umno MPs withdrew their support, leaving it with only 109 seats in the 222-seat Parliament, of which two seats are currently vacant. The addition of Mr Sng and Mr Choong would restore PN’s slim majority of 111 MPs.
Mr Sng stepped down as Sarawak PKR chief on Saturday, while Mr Choong resigned as Tebrau division chief after pledging support for Mr Muhyiddin.
Meanwhile on Thursday, Sebatik assemblyman Hassan A Gani Pg Amir also announced that he was leaving Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan), an ally of the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan.
Although he is now an independent assemblyman, Mr Hassan said he now supports PN’s Sabah state government under the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah coalition.
It is learnt that more defections from the opposition, including from Warisan, are set to take place and a larger batch of non-Malay leaders will join PN before the next general election.
Responding to the defections, Johor Women’s PKR chief, Ms Napsiah Khamis, said they were an act of treachery towards the party and voters, reminding Mr Choong that he was elected on a PKR ticket by voters who wished to see the party lead the constituency.
“The betrayal is a most abhorrent act; it taints the value of loyalty and causes harm that is both tangible and intangible,” she said in a statement on Sunday.
“I urge all voters to use the coming general election to ensure that such false leaders are defeated,” she added.
This article was first published in The Straits Times .
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