Pakatan's argument on Perikatan support for Ismail Sabri is 'ridiculous', says Ali Biju

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. -Bernama filepic

PETALING JAYA: Claims made by Pakatan Harapan lawmakers and lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan that Perikatan Nasional support for Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is conditional are not true, says Datuk Ali Biju.

The Saratok MP said arguments made by Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar, Sepang MP Datuk Hanipa Maidin and Ambiga were baseless, and also a measure of Pakatan's desperation after they failed to garner enough support for their prime minister candidate of choice.

"Firstly, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said support is on condition of a clean government (no person facing criminal charges to be in Cabinet), separation of powers, independence of the judiciary and upholding constitutional monarchy.

"Pakatan's argument that this nullifies their support for Ismail Sabri is nothing short of ridiculous.

"Any coalition that takes power in Malaysia must, in any event, adhere to these conditions," he said in a statement on Friday (Aug 20).

The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia lawmaker said Mahfuz, Hanipa and Ambiga were making an illogical conclusion by questioning the validity of Perikatan MPs' stand.

He said the three were disregarding Article 43(4) of the Federal Constitution, which clearly states that the support for a prime minister is gauged by the stand of MPs individually.

"This stand has been disclosed to the King twice over by the MPs.

"It is astonishing that Mahfuz, Hanipa, and Ambiga, a former Bar Council president, have taken this extreme and illogical position; one would have thought they would have warmly welcomed the support for Perikatan for the clean government as well as the independence of the judiciary.

"Instead, their desperation for Pakatan to take federal power has driven them all to a new low," he said.

On Thursday (Aug 19), Muhyiddin said Perikatan's support for Ismail Sabri as prime minister is conditional upon him appointing Cabinet members who are not facing any criminal charges in court.

Muhyiddin said 50 Perikatan MPs, consisting of 31 from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, 18 from PAS, one from Sabah STAR, as well as four Perikatan-friendly independent MPs, have handed over SDs naming Ismail Sabri as their choice to the Istana Negara on Wednesday (Aug 18).

In response, Mahfuz criticised the condition set by Muhyiddin, claiming that such conditional support was tantamount to blackmail, and Ambiga said MPs support for prime minister must be unconditional.

Hanipa also expressed similar sentiments, saying that MPs' support for a prime minister candidate must be conclusive and does not have any conditions attached.

On Monday (Aug 16), Muhyiddin announced his decision to resign as prime minister, saying it was in accordance with the Federal Constitution as he no longer commanded majority support of the Dewan Rakyat.

At present, the 114 MPs supporting Ismail Sabri as prime minister consists of 41 MPs from Barisan, 31 MPs from Bersatu, PAS (18), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (18), Sabah STAR (one), Parti Bersatu Sabah (one) and four independent MPs.

On Tuesday (Aug 17), all MPs were instructed to submit their vote on their prime minister candidate to the Istana Negara.

On Friday, all eyes will again be on the Istana Negara, as Malay Rulers will meet this afternoon and the outcome of the meeting will be closely monitored.

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