KUALA LUMPUR: The six former Bersatu lawmakers whose status as MPs is being contested are confident that by-elections will not be called in their constituencies despite the recent revocation of their party memberships.

Labuan MP Datuk Dr Suhaili Abdul Rahman (pic), speaking on behalf of the six, said they believed after discussions with their lawyers that their parliamentary seats would not be vacated as Bersatu only passed amendments to its constitution on April 1.

According to Suhaili, the changes were only made after the six MPs strayed from party lines and declared support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

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“The party constitution was amended with malice to ensure that the six of us were made scapegoats by the Bersatu and Perikatan Nasional leadership, simply because we chose our (constituents) over a leadership that is continuously criticising the government,” he told a press conference in the Parliament building here on Wednesday (July 3).

He was accompanied by Zahari Kechik (Jeli), Mohd Azizi Abu Naim (Gua Musang), Datuk Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar) and Dr Zulkafperi Hanafi (Tanjong Karang).

Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal (Bukit Gantang) is the sixth MP who pledged support for Anwar.

Suhaili said the six of them are now considered independent MPs backing the government.

He also denied that they had received offers to join other parties.

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“We are familiar with the anti-hopping law and this means that if we want to join a party, it has to be after (the term of this government). After that we can decide where to go,” he said.

Meanwhile, Suhaili said they were dissatisfied that Bersatu decided to be in the Opposition after GE15, when the unity government was being formed, without consulting them first.

He said being Opposition MPs had made it challenging for them to help their constituents, given the lack of allocations.

“We endured this for one year, managing our constituencies without any allocations.

“When people came to us for help, we would tell them we had no allocations. But we can’t keep saying that for five years.

“It was not our choice to be the Opposition. It was the decision of the leadership that made us victims of circumstance,” he added.

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On June 20, Bersatu vice president and chief whip Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said a notice on the vacancies of six parliamentary seats held by the former Bersatu MPs was sent to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s office.

On June 24, Speaker Datuk Seri Johari Abdul said he received the notice from Bersatu and would respond within 21 days.

Aside from the six MPs, Selat Klang assemblyman Datuk Abdul Rashid Asari had on March 6 also declared support for the leadership of Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari.