Bersatu leader Dr Afif Bahardin today slammed PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil for urging the police to act against Perikatan Nasional's (PN) candidate for the Padang Serai polls after Azman Nasrudin criticised the new government by calling it "kerajaan zina" while on the campaign trail.
In a statement, Afif said that the threat of police action was against Pakatan Harapan's (PH) pledge to defend the freedom of speech.
"Demanding that the police investigate Azman is a direct contravention of PH’s claim to be a champion of democracy," he said.
"There are no criminal elements in what Azman said. It was political criticism of the new BN-PH coalition and it was fair comment. Any use of police powers to investigate political rivals of PH over political criticism is an abuse of police powers."
Azman was called to give his statement late last night after a police report was lodged against him.
He later admitted to having been "harsh" in his words, but denied insulting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who reportedly proposed a "unity government" in order to end the political impasse arising from the uncertain election results on Nov 19.
Afif, the deputy Shah Alam Bersatu chief, said that in calling for police action against Azman, PH was acting "exactly like how BN used to act when in power by threatening police investigations whenever they were criticised by opposition politicians".
"In stark contrast, PN when in power did not resort to police against PH politicians who repeatedly insulted the government by branding it backdoor government or kerajaan gagal as well as many other insulting terms," he said.
Urging PH and Fahmi to withdraw their call for the police to investigate Azman, he said this was also in breach of election laws as Azman was a candidate in the Padang Serai polls.
"Fahmi has no business interfering in the electoral process by threatening police action against PN’s candidate.
"This amounts to coercion and intimidation against a candidate contesting in an election," he said.