Bersatu membership dispute will have little impact on Anwar's majority, say experts

KUALA LUMPUR: Any decision on the membership of the six Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (BersatBu) members of parliament will not affect the majority enjoyed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's administration, said experts.

They said even if by-elections were called and Anwar's administration lost the six seats held by Bersatu, he would still maintain a comfortable majority.

Universiti Teknologi Mara political analyst Shahnon Mohamed Salleh said the six constituencies were also considered "trivial" from Pakatan Harapan's point of view if it didn't win them.

"It will not (cause) a big damage. It would be negligible, from PH's perspective. However, the impact would be huge if PH and Barisan Nasional lost all six seats.

"PH can also argue that there will be no change in the status quo as those six seats were won by Perikatan Nasional in the 15th General Election.

"So it's a small bump in the road for the prime minister and there'd be little impact."

It was reported that Bersatu would submit a notice to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul regarding the memberships of its six MPs, which are alleged to have been automatically revoked.

Bersatu vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee, however, said no notice had been given yet as the party was giving an opportunity to the six MPs and one assemblyman to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri first.

Bersatu Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal, when contacted today, kept mum about when the party would submit a notice to Johari.

International Islamic University Malaysia Associate Professor of Political Science Dr Syaza Farhana Mohamad Shukri also said the outcome would not affect the government's majority.

Syaza said the only and biggest issue that would arise should Anwar's majority be affected would be the passing of any constitutional amendment.

"However, I believe that Bersatu is giving them (the six MPs) another chance to state their stand, and that will be their final opportunity (to decide on supporting the administration).

"I also doubt if Bersatu can trust the six of them and give them another chance to contest under the party's ticket (should a by-election be triggered).

"The best option is for them to contest under one of the parties of the unity government, maybe Umno.

"Having said that, I think PN can win these constituencies, but it could be a tough fight in Gua Musang and Labuan."

Constitutional and legal expert Professor Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmood said regardless of whether the six seats would be vacated, the parties involved could challenge the matter in court over the constitutionality of the issues involved.

Nik Ahmad Kamal, however, said past cases had established that the Dewan Rakyat speaker's decision could not be challenged in court due to the principle of parliamentary privilege enshrined in the constitution.

"If the courts refuse to interfere with the speaker's decision, then the speaker is the final arbiter on issues regarding the anti-hopping law."

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