KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today said that the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul has acted in accordance with the constitutional and legal interpretations when deciding that six former Bersatu Members of Parliament (MPs) would retain their seats.

Anwar said that Johari had also thoroughly read and interpreted the relevant laws, and this should be clearly understood by the Bersatu party leadership.

He said this was because Bersatu, during the discussions about the (anti-party hopping) law, had opposed the provision that anyone expelled from their respective party would automatically lose their seats.

“We know because we were in the opposition then, and we wanted to ensure that the provision is included, that whoever expelled would automatically lose their seats. But they opposed it. It is all on record,” he told reporters after attending the Global MADANI Forum 2024 here today.

The two-day forum themed ‘Catalysing The Next Civilisational Revival’ was also attended by Johari, Religious Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and Human Resources Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong.

Anwar said that although he did not participate in the discussions, he was aware that they were attended by government representatives, including the then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Tun Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, while Pakatan Harapan (PH) was represented by Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and Anthony Loke Siew Fook.

When asked if Johari’s decision could backfire on the government if MPs withdraw their support from the government without worrying about losing their seats, Anwar reiterated that “it is all subject to the law”.

“It is not subject to PM, It is subject to constitutional and legal interpretations. So, we shall leave that to the Speaker,” he said.

Yesterday, Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin confirmed that the party has received a notification letter dated July 9 from the Dewan Rakyat Speaker that there are no vacancies of parliamentary seats involving its six former members who pledged support to Anwar.

The six rogue MPs are Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal (Bukit Gantang), Datuk Dr Suhaili Abdul Rahman (Labuan), Zahari Kechik (Jeli), Mohd Azizi Abu Naim (Gua Musang), Datuk Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar) and Datuk Dr Zulkafperi Hanapi (Tanjong Karang).

On June 20, Bersatu chief whip Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee said that the party has submitted notices to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s Office on the status of its six MPs, whose memberships have been revoked by the party, in accordance with Article 49A of the Federal Constitution.

The six MPs were served with the notice of immediate termination of party membership on June 12 after failing to respond to a notice to confirm their loyalty to Bersatu.

In his statement, Muhyiddin also expressed disappointment with the decision as Bersatu Supreme Leadership Council had already terminated the party membership of the six individuals and that they can no longer represent Bersatu in the Dewan Rakyat.

He said Bersatu would engage a legal expert to take an appropriate course of action following the notification.

Meanwhile, Anwar also described Muhyiddin’s press conference on the issue yesterday as just “telling half of the story”.

“I don’t know why he opted to tell half of the story and leave out the other half. Maybe that is Bersatu’s political method. Like the Blackrock issue, they only tell half and leave out the other half. That’s not right. It has to be read in full.