More support on the cards

PETALING JAYA: All eyes will be on Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during his visit to Sabah today, with more opposition MPs said to be pledging their support for the Perikatan Nasional government.

However, it remains to be seen whether the MPs will be from Parti Warisan Sabah, according to Sin Chew Daily.

Muhyiddin’s two-day visit to Sabah is notably his first since Gabungan Rakyat Sabah came to power after the coalition’s win in the state election in September last year.

In an exclusive interview with the daily published today, Perikatan information chief and Senior Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali (pic) hinted that more MPs would cross over to support the government.

He, however, refused to divulge the number.

Azmin also said it was unfair to make political accusations against those who decided to switch allegiance.

“Why blame those who cross over? Who was the person that declared the 916 plan? (Change of government on Sept 16.)

“If he could do that, why not the others? They even went to Taiwan at that time.

“I challenge Tian Chua (PKR vice-president) to explain the actual situation back then, ” he told the daily.

Azmin was making reference to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who had allegedly planned to overthrow the Barisan Nasional-led government back in 2008.

In order to prevent crossovers, the ruling coalition sent 49 of its MPs to Taiwan for an agricultural study trip then.

It was learnt that PKR leaders including Tian Chua, who was the party’s information chief then, had flown to Taiwan to convince the Barisan MPs to join the opposition camp.

In recent weeks, PKR lost Julau MP Larry Sng, Tebrau MP Steven Choong and Kuala Langat MP Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar, with all three becoming independents and pledging support for Muhyiddin’s Perikatan coalition.

Azmin, who is also International Trade and Industry Minister, said those who crossed over to support Perikatan were leaders with insight and ability.

Citing Choong as an example, Azmin said the former was well connected in China, adding that his experience would certainly come in handy in maintaining a healthy relationship between Malaysia and China.

“China is one of our country’s important trade partners. The Prime Minister is expected to visit China in the near future.

“It is hoped that the visit will bear fruitful announcements in terms of bilateral ties, especially in trade and investment, ” he said.

On Xavier’s decision to quit PKR, Azmin said he was shocked by the move.

“Although we have known each other for a long time, I never contacted the old comrades of PKR.

“We (with Xavier) had worked together as a team during the party election. But I never asked him (to cross over).

“I also did not call others. I want to give them time to consider, ” he said.

During the interview, Azmin also spoke about Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) as an institution “not only for Chinese students but attended also by students of other races”.

“When the Perikatan government took over, I supported Chinese education (hua jiao) and TAR UC, ” he said, adding that Chinese was also an international language for trade.

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