PM challenges Hamzah’s accusations, demands evidence of alleged coercion

PRIME Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim rebuked opposition chief Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin today over his recent accusations that the government forced Kuala Kangsar MP Datuk Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid into supporting the unity government.

Speaking to reporters in Putrajaya this morning, he said it was a very serious accusation and Hamzah should bring the matter to authorities with evidence to support his claim.

“If he has any evidence, he should prove his accusation. ‘Jangan pakai bebal saja’ (Don’t act foolish). If he indeed has any proof, this is a very serious allegation and he should lodge a report so an investigation can be carried out by authorities,” said the Tambun MP.

The controversy arose following Iskandar’s announcement of support for Anwar’s premiership within the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition. Hamzah, who serves as the PN secretary-general, alleged that the government resorted to intimidation tactics to coerce Iskandar into making this decision.

Moreover, Anwar vehemently denied any involvement in pressuring the Kuala Kangsar MP or dispatching any representatives to negotiate his allegiance.

“What I know is that I have not met with him, I had not contacted him, nor did I send any representative to see him. And I certainly do not know who had purportedly threatened him.”

However, Anwar welcomed Iskandar’s choice to back his leadership while expressing a desire to remain within the PN coalition.

The PM’s response came after Hamzah’s accusations stirred political tensions, prompting demands from various quarters for concrete proof of the alleged coercion.

Earlier on Oct 12, Iskandar publicly endorsed Anwar’s leadership, citing the high cost of living in his constituency as the reason for his support.

Moreover, he indicated that his decision was also a way to test the sincerity of the PM in providing funding to MPs who endorse the policies of the unity government.

In response, Hamzah released a statement the following day alleging that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had threatened Iskandar with corruption charges if he didn’t support the government.

MACC chief  Tan Sri Azam Baki has since denied the allegation and described it as an attempt to tarnish the reputation of the agency. – Oct 18, 2023

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