Monday, June 16, 2008

MCA lawmakers ready to defect to opposition: Anwar

MCA lawmakers ready to defect to opposition: Anwar
17 June, 2008

IPOH - MALAYSIAN opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has, for the first time, pinpointed one party whose MPs he says will defect to the opposition, enabling it to topple the Barisan Nasional government.

The crossovers, he said, will come from the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), Malaysia's biggest Chinese party which is now under the BN umbrella.

He also hinted that he might contest a possible by-election in Perak, which could give him a parliamentary seat that he will need to lead the opposition to power.

While Datuk Seri Anwar has been claiming in recent months of crossovers of BN MPs to the opposition, giving it the majority it needs to topple the ruling coalition, this is the first time he has named a specific party.

'I can safely say that several MCA MPs will join us soon,' online newspaper Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.

The MCA quickly dismissed his claims, describing it as a 'cheap stunt' to generate publicity.

'The claim reflects an intention to drive a wedge between BN component parties and split up the coalition,' said central committee member Fu Ah Kiow yesterday.

'This is his strategy in making his comeback with the whole purpose of chasing after the prime ministership. He is obviously up to no good.

'BN will remain together through thick and thin. We do not believe in abandoning our colleagues in difficult times,' added the MCA publicity bureau chief.

Another BN party, the Sabah Progressive Party, also dismissed talk of defections.

Rumours have been swirling especially over crossovers by parties in the eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak, sparked by increasing demands by MPs there for greater representation after they helped the ruling coalition maintain its lead in the polls.

The Sabah Progressive Party said the talk was 'mere speculation', adding that it could have arisen because of its vocal stand on issues such as fuel price hikes.

'We are unhappy and so is everybody. But being vocal does not make us opposition-minded to the point we want to leave Barisan,' said party deputy president Raymond Tan.

Mr Anwar has also hinted that he could contest the seat of Kuala Kangsar in Perak in a by-election, if a court rules the March 8 election result there as void.

BN MP Rafidah Aziz had won the seat at the March polls, but a voter had filed an election petition citing her failure to sign some of her nomination papers. The case is still pending in court.

Meanwhile, the Federal Court has allowed Mr Anwar to challenge the legality of his sacking as deputy prime minister and finance minister almost 10 years ago by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The court, which has yet to fix the date to hear Mr Anwar's appeal against a High Court's ruling, will determine two questions of law - whether Mr Anwar's sacking was unconstitutional or not, and whether Dr Mahathir could sack his deputy, without first advising the king.


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