Bersatu leader: Umno defections needed for two-thirds majority
Bersatu supreme council leader Muhammad Faiz Na'aman has said that Pakatan Harapan taking in former Umno MPs will help the coalition to achieve a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat to push through its agenda.
"There are those who question the need for Harapan to accept Umno MPs who want to quit their party.
"The answer is that Harapan needs a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat to smoothen the legislative process and amendments to laws in this country.
"If the process is impeded by the objections of opposition MPs, then the agenda of change and improvement, along with the vision of a New Malaysia, will not be realised," he said in a statement today.
Faiz pointed out that several key Harapan leaders have also expressed willingness to take in Umno MPs, on the condition that they are not involved in corruption.
"The English language media continues to publish articles that are paranoid about Umno MPs quitting the party. What is the motive of these writings?
"Even (DAP parliamentary leader) Lim Kit Siang admits that Harapan needs Malay support for the government to survive for more than a term.
"Did he not also say that there was no problem for Umno members to join Harapan if they were free from corruption and crime? Have those who quit Umno even announced that they would be joining Bersatu?" he said.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had previously said some of Harapan's promises, such as the limit on the prime minister's tenure, had to be delayed due to not having a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat to amend the Federal Constitution.
Faiz noted that Bersatu should not repeat what he said Umno had been criticised in the past for doing, namely preventing more qualified individuals from joining the party.
Umno was the largest party after the 14th general election with 54 MPs despite its loss. That number has now been whittled down to 38, making it the third-largest party after PKR and DAP.
This is after another 10 MPs quit Umno since Thursday, accusing Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi of failing to chart a direction for the party.
Harapan and its allies Warisan and Upko won the May 9 general election with 121 of the 222 parliamentary seats in the Dewan Rakyat. Three winning independent candidates later also joined Harapan, bringing the number to 124.
Since then, this number has increased to 129 MPs through defections. 148 MPs are required to control two-thirds of the Dewan Rakyat.
Of the 16 Umno MPs who have quit Umno, 12 are presently independent, but have expressed support for Mahathir.
Larut MP Hamzah Zainuddin, among those who quit, claimed some 36 BN MPs signed a letter pledging support for Mahathir last month. The figure includes those who have not left the party.
If the claim is true, it would mean Mahathir has more than enough numbers for a two-thirds majority in the House.