Kadir Jasin & Bersatu

Fateh Aiman

It’s an open secret that loyalty in BERSATU is in short supply. Just take a look at how it catapulted itself as the third most powerful political party in Pakatan Harapan (in terms of parliamentarians) – which only came about with the help of party hoppers in the post-GE 14 environment.

But for Kadir Jasin to make sweeping statements as if the people of Johor voted for a Bersatu-led state government given their track record as a political force seems disconnected with the realities on the ground. Even more so considering that his recent blogpost is an attempt to shore up support for the incoming Bersatu party election.

Take for example the recent Menteri Besar selection controversy in Johor, where Tun Mahathir and the Johor Royal Family locked horns over who should replace the former Menteri Besar, Osman Sapian. According to the Johor State Constitution, it is clearly the right of the Sultan to approve who should best represent his state – something that one hoped would have been respected given that the Pakatan Harapan manifesto pushed for a return to the spirit of federalism.

While Bersatu may be prominent nationally due to Tun Mahathir’s status as Prime Minister, this does not mean that it gives them full discretionary power over how their state representatives act in governing their states.

Let’s keep in mind that in Johor, Bersatu only won 8 seats in GE14 as opposed to 17 seats retained by UMNO.

The same cannot be said for Bersatu in Perak – where the administration of Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu is a clear example of the three deadly sins that is becoming increasingly apparent in Pakatan Harapan: disunity, lack of focus and incompetency.

Headlines from the Perak PH government range from the tragic to the bizzare – with Faizal Azumu openly trampling upon the ancestral land of local Orang Asli for logging contracts to the case of two Bersatu Division Chiefs selling sacrificial cows to buy laptops.

Clearly, one Bersatu-led government deserves more attention than the other.

The party isn’t any better on the national level either. Despite the fact that the party was given prominent positions in cabinet, it certainly has been a mixed bag.

Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof, the Minister of Entrepreneur Development is known for two things – his obsession with flying cars and his lack of direction in building up the Malaysian entrepreneurial environment.

On the other hand, Datuk Seri Rina binti Mohd Harun, the Minister of Rural Development is barely known by the rakyat nor does it seem that she has any plans on how to perform her portfolio.

Syed Saddiq, the Minister of Youth and Sports, has the unfortunate habit of mixing politics with public service – just take a look at opaque dealings involving his Youth Power Club and the appointment of youth party leaders in ministerial positions. It seems that for him, youth power only comes if you can help him secure his position as head of ARMADA.

I do not envy the position that either Kadir Jasin nor Bersatu finds themselves in. Their performance in the Semenyih by-election is more than enough to show that they have much to work on – where despite bringing their best, BN managed to overturn PH’s gains in the seat entirely despite a shaky alliance with PAS.

Resolving their grassroots issues should take precedence instead of blaming external factors in their lack of success as a political party. After all, it was reported that the cow-for-computers incident only occurred due to a lack of funds for the party machinery there.

If anyone in Bersatu is to be applauded, it should be Bersatu in Johor. It seems that they are aware and respect the political landscape that they are in. They understand that while the Johor Royal Family may have voiced a word of caution in supporting PH in GE14, it is ultimately up to Bersatu and Pakatan Harapan to prove themselves to the stakeholders of Johor that they can perform as an effective state government.

I am sure that Kadir Jasin is aware of the 30 or so marginal Malay seats that will be essential in securing victory in GE15. Perhaps he should work with his party to build it into viable political party that can effectively secure these 30 seats rather than placing blame elsewhere.