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'Local issues behind MPs switching sides'
Published on: Tuesday, November 21, 2023
By: FMT, Amirul Aiman
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'Local issues behind MPs switching sides'
Former assemblyman Aziz Abd Rahman says constituents are more concerned about having local bread-and-butter issues resolved. (Facebook pic)
PETALING JAYA: A need for resources to deal with local constituency issues may be the reason some MPs are ready to switch political allegiances, according to a former assemblyman.

Aziz Abd Rahman said some MPs may find that giving support to the sitting government might be their only option for tackling bread-and-butter issues in their constituencies.

“(These) bread-and-butter issues are paramount” and resolving them is the primary reason an MP was elected in the first place, said Aziz, a former assemblyman for Mentakab and Bera, Pahang.

Aziz is also the president of Mubarak, the council of former elected representatives, comprising former MPs and former state legislators.

He said the political dynamics in Malaysia appeared to be shifting. MPs were now prepared to align themselves with the prime minister’s office due to its position as the dispenser of resources, despite retaining their party membership.

“This new norm is driven by factors like inflation, the rising cost of living and the outdated minimum wage level,” he told FMT, adding that these factors were the source of much disquiet, particularly in urban areas.

Recently, four MPs broke ranks with the opposition to announce their support for Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. They are Suhaili Abdul Rahman (Labuan), Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar), Azizi Abu Naim (Gua Musang) and Zahari Kechik (Jeli).

All four said they did it for the sake of their constituents, with Suhaili saying he had received an allocation of development funds for his constituency following the switch.

Suhaili and Iskandar have since been suspended by Bersatu for six and four years, respectively.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya does not expect voters to be disappointed with opposition MPs who support the prime minister, especially as the opposition is not in a position to deliver the best service for constituents.

Awang Azman gave the example of Hulu Kelang assemblyman Azmin Ali, who was elected despite changing his allegiance from PKR to Bersatu in 2020.

He believes Azmin’s victory in Hulu Kelang highlights the voters’ inclination to elect representatives capable of delivering services to their constituencies.

Azmin, a former PKR deputy president, played an integral role in forming the Perikatan Nasional-led government with Muhyiddin Yassin as its prime minister.

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