Bersatu's amended constitution has little to no impact in resolving party conflicts, say experts

KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's (Bersatu) amended constitution would have little to no impact in resolving the party's internal conflicts.

In particular conflicts involving its members of parliament (MPs) pledging support for the unity government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, said a lawyer.

Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the amended clause did not state that its members are deemed to leave the party if they go against its directive.

There was no specific decision reached (to that effect), based on the party's amended constitution, Haniff said.

"Under Article 49A of the Federal Constitution, there are three ways that MPs can lose their seats, either by leaving the party to become independent, leaving the party to join another, or independent MPs joining any party," he told the New Straits Times.

In the case of the six Bersatu MPs who supported the prime minister, Haniff added, they were right when they maintained that they had never left the party, hence they need not vacate their seats.

He was referring to the amended Clause 10.4 of the Bersatu constitution that enables the cessation of rogue elected representatives, approved at its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Saturday.

"The matter has to be decided by the Dewan Rakyat speaker and the court," Haniff said.

"Upon receiving notice from the party, the speaker will decide whether this amounts to satisfying the requirements under Article 49A; otherwise the six seats cannot be vacated."

He said Bersatu is going by the theory of making the MPs in question to "redecide whether they would continue supporting Anwar after the Registrar of Societies (ROS) approves the amended constitution."

Lawyer Datuk Shamsuddin Nawawi said in pursuant to Article 49A of the Federal Constitution, the six MPs need not vacate their seats if they were sacked from the party.

He said the Bersatu constitution should have a specific clause to have the party membership revoked if they support leaders other than those from the coalition Bersatu is in, and subsequently notify the speaker for the seats to be vacated.

"Clause 10.4 states that any Bersatu members, who are elected representatives, are automatically deemed ceased to be a member if they contravene any directives issued by the supreme council.

"Meanwhile, Clause 10.5 states that the supreme council shall issue specific directives to all its members of parliament or assemblymen in writing, which creates a loophole as it would need to convene first in deliberating the matter," he said, adding that the amendments did not specifically address the issue of party members supporting the prime minister who is not from Perikatan Nasional.

In emergency situations, the supreme council would not have sufficient time to convene and have meeting minutes ready in time, which could cause the legitimacy of the directives to be questioned, he said.

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