Opposition Leader Hamzah: We want to be friendly with govt, but will do ‘something’ if limits crossed

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition is willing to compromise with the government on common issues that can benefit Malaysia.

However, he also said that the federal Opposition will do “something” if the Anwar government continues to sideline it.

In an interview with The Sunday Star published today, Hamzah said he doesn’t feel the Anwar administration is deserving of the label “unity government” since it does not respect the Opposition and has not signed an agreement with PN to do things together such as hearing its ideas on matters like the annual government budget.

“I am trying my level best to sit down with everyone — even the government. If it is something that we can compromise on, we will compromise. However, if it is something that we believe we must fight for, I will fight to the end,” the secretary-general of both Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Perikatan Nasional told the newspaper.

The Larut MP said he is waiting for the government to offer to talk with the Opposition on issues, noting for example it was better if parties from both sides hold discussions during the upcoming state elections as the public could see the politicians are understanding.

“If the government is fair and it is the right thing to do, there will not be anything wrong for us to sign an MOA [memorandum of agreement]. We have been independent for 60-plus years now and we as politicians should be mature enough to sit down and discuss issues affecting the people.

“However, as they have two-thirds of the majority and we are barely one-third of the Dewan Rakyat, they seem to think they do not need us at all. However, one day the last straw will fall to break the camel’s back.

“We, too, have a limit. If we feel that the government does not want to talk to us, there are many options for us to take by getting people from the grassroots to be on our side,” he was quoted as saying.

He said foreign investors would also find Malaysia a safe investment destination if there is friendly discussion between the government and the Opposition, while also highlighting the importance of political stability by saying that the public would ask the Opposition to go against the government if they are unhappy with what is happening in the country.

Hamzah was also asked what the “last straw” would be.

“We are fighting for the people. We believe that whatever struggle we take to Parliament must be considered fairly by the government. If we feel that the government is not listening to us, then we would have no other choice, but to do something. We have many options — but I cannot tell you now — but we will do something.

“As a human being, I have my limits [to patience]. When I do not have any other choice, then I will go for it [the chosen option],” he told the newspaper in reply.

Hamzah said the parties in the current ruling government was formerly the Opposition and that their MPs had been given allocations when they were still in the Opposition, but said these parties now feel that they do not need PN as the ruling parties have more than two-thirds support in Parliament and believe they can bulldoze and do anything they like.

But Hamzah reminded the government that they did not come into power with a two-thirds majority.

He said Pakatan Harapan (PH) only had 84 MPs and claimed not everyone in the other political parties were comfortable to support the coalition for government.

“Something will make them break, and when that happens, the Opposition will get an opportunity to take over and the government now will become the Opposition.”

Hamzah said the current government should realise they are actually living in a glass house and must make sure there are no enemies on the outside.

“They should sit and be friendly with us,” he was quoted as saying.

Hamzah said he does not intend to create fear but merely wants to provide checks and balances, arguing that it is only fair for the Opposition to allow the government to do its job and to come in to give directions if they feel the government is not doing a good enough job.

Hamzah, who was formerly a home minister, pointed out he has information he could use on those in the ruling government.

“The government will deny political persecution but why are they targeting our political party funds when they know that there is no law on political funds? Anyone can donate to a party if they believe in the struggle and cause of the party. So if you are harassing us, then we regard it as political persecution.

“Do not just find fault with us — I can find fault with those in the government. I was the home minister and I too have many files on them but I am still thinking if I should use them. But if they continue to harass us and make us frustrated, then we may just get too ‘spirited’ if we get pushed like this,” he was quoted as saying.

Several Bersatu leaders have been charged in court, with the most recent being Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who was charged on Friday with corruption charges involving alleged bribes of RM232.5 million for the party and with alleged laundering of RM195 million of proceeds from illegal funds from a company which were deposited into Bersatu’s bank account.

Muhyiddin has insisted he is innocent and has claimed political persecution while insisting that other political parties also have political funds.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Attorney General have denied the claims of politically-motivated or selective prosecution.