Saifuddin joins PKR – so?

saifuddin abdullah

Zakiah Koya, The Heat Online

Despite being an elegant rebel in Umno, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has time and again vouched for his loyalty to the party and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Yet he continued to give his not-so-Umno-like opinions via media and his social accounts. Now, he has openly jumped ship to the opposition and is being unveiled as the biggest catch by PKR from Umno.

With all the media shouting headlines that Saifuddin has joined PKR, it makes one wonder what does Saifuddin have to offer the party? Does he have anything that can topple Umno?

Has he not been already sidelined by Umno since 2013 and also, has he not been speaking his own mind, with him always being one of the first to approach to lambast the way Umno is “doing things”?

Also, what can he possibly bring to PKR which it doesn’t already have? The age factor is not on his side either – he is 54. Last but not least, why is PKR so excited for Saifuddin to join PKR after getting the disciplinary letter from Umno?

Never mind if he always wanted to join PKR, but in politics, perception is king.

Saifuddin’s political career rose like bread dough does, only to be flattened soon after.

He was once touted as one of the most promising of ministers; when Saifuddin was elected as Temerloh MP, he was immediately made the deputy education minister of higher education by Najib.

However, his outspokenness soon saw him being sidelined in Umno and was relegated to heading the GMM, which was seen as the vehicle of Islamic moderation for Najib in the international arena.

Saifuddin, using the NGO, tried to bring everyone to the same table on issues of the country. Umno loyalists decided that this was just not to be condoned further.

The last straw was when he was seen getting too cosy with the opposition, at a time when the opposition was in disarray.

This was too much for Umno loyalists and Saifuddin was reprimanded – a slap on the wrist nevertheless – with a disciplinary letter.

Joining PKR seemed to be one way of showing the Umno loyalists that if they cannot condone him, then there is always a place for him in the opposition.

But the question is why did Saifuddin keep on with Umno on the table while he footsied with the opposition under it? Was it because he was getting the funds to run GMM, which gave him a voice among the Malays, after losing the MP seat?

Did the funds run out? Or did he suddenly realise that one cannot change Umno from within, just like how Umno founder Datuk Jaafar Onn tried and failed?