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Bersatu sacks elected MPs who signal support for PM Anwar; analysts say move won’t trigger by-elections

KUALA LUMPUR: Seven elected representatives from Malaysia’s opposition party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) have been sacked after they failed to retract their support for Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

And while analysts say the move may not trigger by-elections — six federal parliamentary seats and one Selangor state seat — Bersatu may have to exhaust all means possible to wrest the seats from their former representatives, including bringing the matter to court. The long-drawn-out court process, however, may not augur well for Bersatu, analysts have noted.

And beyond that, the observers also said that key trends at a recent by-election in Kuala Kubu Bharu in Selangor state have shown an upswing in Malay votes in favour of the unity government, signalling that there may not be sure-wins for the opposition party even if by-elections were to be held.

Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Azmi Hassan told CNA that while Malaysia’s anti-party hopping law applies to Members of Parliament (MPs) who quit their party, it did not cover those who have been dismissed, and thus the speakers of the federal or state parliaments, may not call by-elections. These speakers are also aligned with the unity government. 

“An MP who is sacked will not automatically lose their seat because the anti-party hopping law is silent on this,” said Dr Azmi, adding that they would be declared as independents were they to be dismissed by Bersatu.

“They will only lose their seats if they quit the party or switch to another party.” 

Six federal MPs — Dr Zulkafperi Hanapi (Tanjong Karang), Mr Zahari Kechik (Jeli), Mr Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar), Mr Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal (Bukit Gantang), Mr