MANILA, Philippines – Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and 4 other federal lawmakers were removed from the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) on Thursday, May 28.
A Channel News Asia report quoted Bersatu’s executive secretary Muhammad Suhaimi Yahya as saying Mahathir was removed from the party according to clauses 10.2.2 and 10.2.3 of the Bersatu party constitution.
Under Clause 10.2.2, membership to Bersatu will be automatically nullified if the person declares his exit from the party. Meanwhile, Clause 10.2.3 nullifies membership if that member joins or becomes a member of another political party.
The sacking was due to Mahathir sitting with the opposition bloc during a May 18 parliamentary sitting. He sat with the opposition rather than with the Perikatan Nasional coalition, which is helmed by Bersatu party president and current Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
According to the Bersatu Constitution, members who join other parties are to be automatically ejected without needing to be removed through a disciplinary process.
Also sacked from Bersatu were the following members of parliament:
- Mukhriz Mahathir
- Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman
- Amiruddin Hamzah
- Dr Maszlee Malik
In a press conference on Friday, May 29, Mahathir disputed the legitimacy of his removal from Bersatu and asserted he was still the party chairman.
“There is no provision in the (party) constitution regarding where I sit. I can sit anywhere, I have done nothing against the constitution,” Mahathir said.
He added, “(Sitting with the opposition bloc) doesn’t mean I have left the party. I can sit anywhere in parliament.”
Mahathir founded Bersatu in 2016.
Earlier this year, Malaysia was plunged into turmoil after Mahathir’s reformist “Pact of Hope” alliance, which stormed to a historic poll victory two years ago, collapsed and the 94-year-old resigned as premier.
Mahathir then sought to come back as prime minister but lost out to low-profile, former interior minister Muhyiddin, who has backing from a coalition dominated by the multi-racial country’s ethnic Malay Muslim majority. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
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