PKR moves to collect $3 million in fines from lawmakers who defected

Parti Keadilan Rakyat secretary-general Saifuddin Ismail said every person who contested seats under its banner had signed a letter saying they would pay the fine should they defect as MP or state assemblyman. PHOTO: SAIFUDDIN NASUTION ISMAIL/FACEBOOK

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A former ruling party in Malaysia, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), said on Friday (March 6) that it is in the process of collecting the RM10 million (S$3.3 million) in penalty imposed against anyone abandoning the party.

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Ismail said every person who contested seats under its banner had signed a letter saying they would pay the fine should they defect as an MP or state assemblyman.

He said the matter is being dealt with by the PKR treasurer.

"We are in the process of getting those who defected to pay up," Datuk Seri Saifuddin told reporters after a farewell meeting at the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, where he served as minister for 21 months.

He said all PKR electoral candidates signed the legal document for the 14th General Election in 2018 to prevent them from defecting.

This, he said, has been a regular practice in PKR, which was an opposition party since its founding just over 20 years ago until it became part of the ruling coalition in 2018.

It remains to be seen, however, whether PKR can collect these "fines" because Malaysia's electoral laws allows for defections by federal and state lawmakers.

Among those who defected in the recent political tumult were 10 PKR MPs led by former minister Azmin Ali, who have all joined Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

A PKR assemblymen in Melaka and Johor also defected, which helped switch these two state legislatures to the Perikatan Nasional alliance led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin.

The two states were previously held by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.

Meanwhile, Mr Saifuddin, who is also PH secretary-general, said it was not game over for the coalition which was ousted in a power grab led by Mr Muhyiddin.

"We have a few things in our line-up, which we will announce from time to time," Mr Saifuddin said.

Asked if this included bringing up the motion of no-confidence against PM Muhyiddin in Parliament, Mr Saifuddin replied in the affirmative.

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