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'Bald man' lingers in Parliament to coax Bersatu MPs to support Anwar

The switch in support by four opposition MPs comes amid growing speculation that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's coalition is facing implosion.

3 minute read
Langkawi MP Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah (centre) with two men during one of the 'discussions' with opposition MPs in Parliament this week.
Langkawi MP Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah (centre) with two men during one of the 'discussions' with opposition MPs in Parliament this week.

Several opposition MPs continue to be approached by a certain individual in a bid to convince them to shift their support for Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, MalaysiaNow can reveal.

The individual, who is described as a bald middle-aged man who identifies himself as a "Dato", has focussed on MPs from Bersatu, four of whom have since announced their support for Anwar while still maintaining that they remain members of the opposition party.

The position is in keeping with the anti-hopping law, which does not affect their constitutional right as MPs to take a stand outside party lines in Parliament, including voting for government bills and showing support for the prime minister.

MalaysiaNow understands that the man has also met MPs within the Parliament vicinity in recent days.

One such meeting which was filmed shows the man and his companion talking to Langkawi MP Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah.

Suhaimi is among a host of MPs contacted by the individuals, who asked for meetings to discuss "investments and development plans" in their constituencies. 

Many MPs said the discussions had nothing to do with the claim of bringing in investments into their areas, but were focussed on getting them to express support for Anwar.

"When they met, it was not about building a hotel. (The man said), 'Please support Anwar, support PMX'," said opposition leader and Bersatu secretary-general Hamzah Zainuddin last week.

Hamzah said some MPs were also offered positions at government-linked companies as well as Cabinet posts, in addition to offers to settle their personal debts.

'Labuan MP meeting colleagues'

Since last month, at least four Bersatu MPs have stated their support for Anwar, and have even applied to the speaker for their seats to be moved to the government's bench.

They are Jeli MP Zahari Kechik, Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar), Mohd Azizi Abu Naim (Gua Musang) and Suhaili Abdul Rahman (Labuan).

It is learnt that Suhaili has been making gestures to his Bersatu colleagues to follow suit.

One of them is Gerik MP Fathul Huzir Ayob.

"His representative came to see me, but I refused," he told MalaysiaNow.

When contacted, Suhaili denied the claim: "That is not true. It's all slander".

Meanwhile, a suggestion that the four MPs declared support for Anwar as a strategy to get allocations for their constituencies was dismissed by a senior source in Bersatu.

"We would like to think so, but it has nothing to do with that. It is them betraying voters while carefully avoiding any by-election," he told MalaysiaNow.

On Wednesday, electoral reforms group Bersih said if an opposition MP had to switch support to get constituency funding, it would show "the unfortunate reality in Malaysian politics".

Anwar has so far sidestepped calls for equal funding to MPs, and instead said the allocation would only be released if they "come to talk to the government" and "stop being arrogant".

Under the anti-hopping law passed last year, any elected representative who switched parties must vacate his seat and a by-election held for their constituency. An MP who is sacked by the party however is exempted from vacating their seat.

A source in Umno meanwhile said the latest development confirms intense talk that the ruling coalition is on the brink of collapse owing to growing dissatisfaction from several partners.

"So it is critical that the government debunks such talks and show, at least in the media, that its support is growing.

"It is taken from Umno's political playbook of the nineties when Anwar did his coup against Ghafar Baba to grab the number two post," he said, referring to the late Umno leader who served as deputy prime minister under Dr Mahathir Mohamad's first term in power.