PBM to work with small parties in GE15, says party veep


JOHOR BARU: Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) will work with other small parties in the 15th General Elections, says its senior vice-president Steven Choong Shiau Yoon.

On collaboration with larger coalitions such as Perikatan Nasional, Choong said that PBM would take the “wait and see” approach before deciding on anything.

"There are unofficial discussions (on collaboration) between Perikatan chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and PBM party leaders," he said.

Choong added that there are also ongoing discussions between Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan to work together.

"We will look at the outcome of the discussions first before deciding if we would join them," he said.

"For now, we will focus on discussion with smaller parties such as Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and the Malaysia Advancement Party (MAP) first," he added.

Choong said at a press conference at the Tebrau Parliament office here at Taman Daya on Thursday (April 7) that he had personally been contacted by the parties for discussions on collaboration.

The state PBM chief also noted that the recent Johor polls had indicated that voters are more inclined to vote based on parties rather than the candidates contesting.

"Hence, it is more difficult for new parties to gain the people's support. We need to work together with other parties or coalitions," he said.

On a separate matter, the Tebrau MP said that the anti-hopping Bill is a double-edged sword that also comes with disadvantages.

"In a real democracy, it would be difficult to implement an anti-hopping law as it would give the parties and its presidents too much power," said Choong.

"If an MP is not allowed to jump ship and required to abide blindly to the stand and decision of the leaders of their party, it would be difficult for them to serve the people," he added.

Choong also said that if a MP is required to give up the seat they have won back to the party once they exit the party, it means that the people would not be represented by the leader that they have voted for.

Choong, who left PKR last year, said that he decided to do so as he felt the party had shifted too far away from its initial goals of focusing on the people.

"There was too much of a focus on getting party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be the Prime Minister and less on the people," he said.

Choong then said that the party's stand was no longer in line with his, and this led to him deciding to leave and be an independent MP for about six months.

"The allegations that I was paid millions to give my support to then prime minister Muhyiddin or that I was trying to escape the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) are completely untrue," he said.

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