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Barisan Nasional, PAS call for parliament to be dissolved and elections held

Barisan Nasional, PAS call for parliament to be dissolved and elections held

Putra World Trade Centre, which houses the headquarters of United Malays National Organisation. (File photo: Bernama)

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional (BN) and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) on Tuesday (Feb 25) called for parliament to be dissolved so that political parties can seek fresh mandate from the people, amid political turmoil in Malaysia which saw lawmakers exiting the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.

In a press conference, the party leaders also ruled out their participation in a unity government proposed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was appointed the interim prime minister following his resignation as head of government on Monday.

They insisted that a Cabinet comprising candidates chosen by Dr Mahathir is against partisan democracy practised in Malaysia.

Leaders of Barisan Nasional and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia having a presser on Feb 25, 2020. (Photo: Vincent Tan)

United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) secretary-general Annuar Musa said members of parliament (MPs) from BN and PAS, as well as Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) have asked Malaysian King Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to dissolve the parliament.

“Let the people decide,” he said.

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan added: “We are ready to explain to the people, we give back the mandate to the people, and people can choose which government to lead them.”

READ: What you need to know about Mahathir’s resignation and the political upheaval in Malaysia

BN comprises UMNO, Malaysian Chinese Association and Malaysian Indian Congress. PBRS was part of the coalition until 2018, after BN was defeated by PH in the general election.

UMNO, meanwhile, ​​​​​​​formalised a pact with PAS in September last year under the banner of Islamic unity.

Their Tuesday presser was held after the king called MPs for an interview at Istana Negara to gauge which prime minister candidate commands the majority of the House.

The unprecedented move by the king came after PH lost its parliamentary majority following the departure of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and a Mr Azmin Ali-led faction of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) from the coalition.

According to report by New Straits Times, the MPs were asked to choose between naming a prime minister candidate or dissolving the parliament.  

BLOC REJECTS UNITY GOVERNMENT

On Sunday, leaders from six political parties - Bersatu, Mr Azmin-led splinter group, UMNO, PAS, Gabungan Parti Sarawak and Parti Warisan Sabah - had sought an audience with the king. 

It was confirmed at the Tuesday press conference that they had presented a Statutory Declaration (SD) to the king to support Dr Mahathir to form a new coalition that does not involve Democratic Action Party (DAP).

However, the proposal for a unity government, which comprises rival political parties, has forced them to retract the SD, said Mr Annuar. 

“The SD we presented to the king to support Dr Mahathir was contingent on him building a new coalition without DAP. 

“Anything other than that, our support is invalid,” he said. 

READ: Mahathir in full control, Anwar’s chances to become PM now remote, say analysts

Mr Annuar added that a unity government would allow the prime minister to select individual MPs, instead of party nominees, to join the Cabinet, and this conflicts with the parties’ stance. 

MCA president Wee Ka Siong also questioned the utility of a unity government. 

“When there is no Opposition, is this a mature democracy? There must be checks and balances,” he said. 

Source: CNA/tx

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