Former Bersih chief Ambiga Sreenevasan has joined the chorus of those expressing dissatisfaction over the impending by-election in Port Dickson to engineer PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim's return to Parliament.
She is of the opinion that Anwar's wife or daughter should have vacated their seats instead.
“I have no issue with Anwar coming back. He is entitled to do so.
“But my understanding, and I believe the public has the same understanding, is that one of his family members should have given up their seats for him.
“My own view is that it should have been one of the family members to step down,” she told reporters in Petaling Jaya this morning.
Anwar's wife, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, is the MP for Pandan whereas the couple's daughter Nurul Izzah is the MP for Permatang Pauh.
On Wednesday, PKR's Danyal Balagopal Abdullah announced that he would vacate the Port Dickson parliament seat to allow Anwar to contest in the by-election.
Ambiga said from a working democracy viewpoint, the engineering of by-elections was inappropriate.
“The candidate (Danyal) may come out and say 'I was not forced'. But obviously, there were some elements of coercion or whatever you want to call it.
“I feel that the way of engineering by-elections has to stop or slow down. I cannot understand the rush.
“This man (Danyal) has only served the people who came out and voted for him for a few months. I feel sorry for the people and I feel sorry for him,” she added.
Therefore, Ambiga felt it was unfair to ask another lawmaker to surrender his or her seat when Anwar's family members have two seats.
“You have to respect the electoral system...To ask someone to step down just a few months after the election and to ask the people to vote again, I think this is a little unfair, apart from the public cost.
“This is my personal view. And I think Bersih has always taken that view,” she added.
Responding to a question, Ambiga also warned against potential nepotism in the future.
“Parliament is different. What I keep saying is the offices you hold. There is already an office held (by one of Anwar's family members) which is the DPM,” she added.
Therefore, Ambiga agreed that Wan Azizah should relinquish her post when her husband becomes prime minister.
“Absolutely. Without a doubt... This is something they were against when they were in the opposition. They kept saying they opposed nepotism, cronyism and all of that,” she added.