What is Berjasa’s end game in Tanjung Piai?

“Berjasa has always contested Malay dominated seats and it is contested here to stress on its political ideology — Muslim-Malay centric”

(MMO) – Last week, Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia (Berjasa) announced it is contesting the November 16 Tanjung Piai by-election in a move that shocked and infuriated ally PAS.

The two Islamist parties are members of a loosely formed coalition dubbed Gagasan Sejahtera, a self-styled “third force” that PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said was formed as an “option” to the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional schism.

But bar PAS, no serious political observer had deemed Gagasan a real political force.

Berjasa, a PAS splinter party formed in 1977 by disgruntled former leaders close to the then ruling coalition Barisan Nasional, had long lost its influence and was revived only recently as a “space-filler” campaigning platform for sympathisers to help PAS in the 14th general election.

The bloc’s third member, Ikatan, a small band of unknown politicians founded by former Umno leader Datuk Seri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, is seemingly content with a passive supportive role, which only served to obfuscate the party further.

So when Berjasa president Datuk Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz said the party intends to wrest Tanjung Piai, public attention turned toward the little-known party.

At the risk of collapsing the Gagasan bloc, Berjasa said it would stand against the PAS-BN “consensus” because the latter had betrayed the “aspirations” of Tanjung Piai’s Malay-Muslim voters by fielding a non-Muslim, MCA’s Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng.

Badhrulhisham also played down PAS’ claim that it did not seek blessings before contesting the Tanjung Piai by-election.

“It is a small matter and we have a bigger agenda to think about,” he said when met during his campaign rounds at Masjid Parit Selangor in Pontian here on Monday.

Badhrulhisham also expressed his disappointment that PAS and Umno did not discuss with Berjasa that Barisan Nasional (BN) would field an MCA candidate for the Tanjung Piai by-election, even as the two have no formal ties with his party.

The 56-year-old former university professor said it was unfair that there was no consensus on the matter.

“We have also asked PAS to discuss the matter of BN’s candidacy with us but nothing happened. When we contested, they claimed they did not give their blessings and this is unfair.

“It’s this attitude that must be changed as if we have such an ego with another [political] party, we will go nowhere,” said Badhrulhisham.

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