Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan criticised PKR today for forcing a by-election for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim through the resignation of one of its MPs, calling it wrong and a betrayal to voters.
The former Malaysian Bar president said the decision was a disservice both Port Dickson voters and the federal lawmaker who resigned.
“I feel sorry for the people, I feel sorry for him,” Ambiga told reporters here.
“I feel it is a disservice to the system of democracy.”
Ambiga was a member of the Institutional Reform Committee that pushed for electoral reforms.
She said she acknowledged Anwar’s right to rejoin politics, but suggested it would have been more acceptable if either his wife of daughter had given up their seats instead.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is Pandan MP while his daughter, Nurul Izzah Anwar, is the elected representative of his former Permatang Pauh seat.
“I have no issue with Anwar coming back he’s entitled to do that but my understanding or the public had the understanding that one of the family members would give up (their seats),”she said.
Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah, 68, resigned as Port Dickson MP Wednesday to force a by-election meant to pave way for Anwar’s re-election to Parliament.
Ambiga, who was among the lead defence lawyers who represented Anwar at his second sodomy trial, suggested that Danyal was forced to resign.
“Of course they would say he did voluntarily but I see it differently,” she said without elaborating further.
Prime Minister and Pakatan Harapam chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 93, had already indicated that Anwar would succeed him in time but talks of an internal struggle have since spread.
Anwar has yet to comment about his party’s decision to force vacate the Port Dickson seat, but critics saw the move as part of the former deputy prime minister’s plan to hasten the succession.
The announcement drew mixed response, but the electoral reform committee said there was nothing illegal about the planned resignation.
Ambiga concurred, but said a decision to pave way for a by-election must be done in respect to the electoral system.
“Legally and technically it is difficult to stop something like that but it must be on the basis of trust and respect for the system,” she said.