Former Azmin associates deny being poached for another crossover

·3-min read
Former Azmin associates deny being poached for another crossover
Former Azmin associates deny being poached for another crossover

Editor's note: An earlier copy of this article mistakenly stated Maria Chin Abdullah had contested as part of the Azmin camp in the 2018 PKR elections.

An alleged renewed move to collect statutory declarations (SDs) from MPs has seemed to rock PKR’s boat, with suspicion growing among party members that some of their own would be jumping ship again.

As PKR’s wound from its internal rift has yet to properly heal, those aligned to party president Anwar Ibrahim claimed recently that MPs who were still loyal to ex-deputy president Azmin Ali are chief suspects to be on the “shopping list”.

The MPs rumoured to have been approached to switch sides, however, have denied this.

According to sources within the party, they believe among those approached were Sungai Buloh MP Sivarasa Rasiah and Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, both known to be Azmin’s followers when the latter was PKR deputy president.

“I heard that the two MPs have been approached by their (old) gang,” said a source.

An MP who is known to be an Anwar loyalist also said similar things when asked if there was anything true about Azmin’s former allies in PKR being induced to leave the party.

“I have yet to get confirmation on this, but theoretically, they would be the usual targets,” said the parliamentarian, who is also a party leader.

However, the leader believed that it won’t be easy for those fishing for support to get the SDs from PKR MPs, saying those rumoured to have been approached had also been asked before but they stayed loyal and reported the attempts to the party.

Sivarasa was on Azmin’s caidan (list of preferred candidates list) during the 2018 PKR party elections. Azmin’s camp won handsomely.

All the MPs on Azmin’s list have defected to Perikatan Nasional save for Sivarasa, Maria and Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, who is PKR information chief.

Malaysiakini has spoken to Sivarasa and Maria following the latest rumours. However, both denied that they had any intention to abandon PKR.

Sivarasa said that he has not been approached by anyone in the latest round of political manoeuvring.

“I am very surprised to hear that my name is being mentioned. For the record, nobody has contacted me regarding this 'shopping for MPs'.

“The last time I was approached was in February last year, when I was offered to leave PKR. But I turned it down and since then, no one else has come to me to make such an offer again,” he told Malaysiakini.

Sivarasa stressed that his stand is “very clear” and wants those who are still wondering to understand that he will always stand with PKR and Pakatan Harapan.

“If I had wanted to jump ship, I would have done it before,” he said, adding that he had voted for Anwar when all MPs were called to the Istana Negara in February last year.

Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah
Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah

Maria, meanwhile, was upset that her loyalty to PKR was still subject to being questioned.

“No. I will not entertain such moves as my priority is to get over this pandemic,” she said in a short reply to Malaysiakini’s request for her comments.

Another MP whose name was mentioned as among those who may be targeted for an SD was Batu representative P Prabakaran.

The first-time parliamentarian, who won in the 2018 general election as an independent candidate before joining PKR, also denied that he was approached to shift his support.

“I have not been approached. If anyone does this later, I will inform you,” he said.

On Thursday, PKR issued a strongly-worded statement condemning what they said was an attempt by several MPs to solicit from other parliamentarians SDs to change sides.

PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said that this move was made by the MPs allegedly to acquire positions in the federal government.

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