Bersatu exodus continues as Dr M gains traction

“Umno has been trying to swell out Bersatu. Dr Mahathir’s move has weakened the party, so this makes Umno much stronger that they are the winner from the announcement”

(The Malaysian Reserve) – MORE leaders and members of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia announced their resignations from the party, following former chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s (picture) announcement to establish a new breakaway political party last week.

Bernama reported yesterday that 16 divisions of Bersatu in Langkawi were automatically dissolved due to the resignation of its deputy head Shukor Bahari, together with 22 out of 26 division committee leaders.

The dissolution, according to Shukor, will result in automatic revocation of 4,900 memberships for the Langkawi division.

Over the weekend, several Bersatu division chiefs in the Klang Valley pledged allegiance to Dr Mahathir’s new party which led to the collapse of Bersatu’s 2,800-member division in Klang. Bersatu has 189 divisions nationwide in total.

Three supreme council members, Datuk Abdul Kadir Jasin, Tariq Ismail Mustafa and Abu Bakar Yahya, also made an exit. Tensions are also brewing in Johor, with Malaysiakini reporting a potential collapse of several Bersatu divisions.

Another supreme council member, Ulya Aqamah Husamudin, also announced his departure from Bersatu yesterday, saying the party should return to its original struggle.

“I hope Bersatu will re-evaluate its mission and return to its objective,” he said in a statement.

On top of it, 15 of the 17 committee members of the Kota Raja Bersatu division announced they were quitting the party with immediate effect.

However, this did not include division head Wan Dzahanurin Ahmad and Taman Sri Andalas deputy branch head 1 Shahril Othman.

Spokesman for the Kota Raja Bersatu division Shahul Hameed Abdul Wahab said 500 of the more than 1,100 members also announced they were quitting the party.

The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) also learned that there will be dissolution of the party’s division in Bangi.

Dr Mahathir said in a press conference last Friday that the new Malay ethnic party aims to redeem the dignity of the Malays tainted by treachery, cheating, lying, corruption and greed due to the doings of other Malay party leaders.

The new party, according to him, would not be aligned with either Pakatan Harapan (PH) or Perikatan Nasional (PN).

While the party’s main focus will be on Malay issues, it will also uphold the interests of minority groups. The unnamed party is expected to be registered in the upcoming days and will run in the Slim by-election scheduled for Aug 29.

In February, amid the political move infamously known as the “Sheraton Move”, a party member who is now aligned with PN claimed that 19 of 26 Johor Bersatu divisions were ready to join Dr Mahathir’s camp.

Dr Mahathir’s new party currently has the support of two Johor MPs namely Sri Gading MP Shahruddin Mohd Salleh and Simpang Renggam MP Dr Maszlee Malik. Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who was also sacked from Bersatu, has yet to declare his backing for the new party.

University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute political analyst Prof James Chin said it was too early to assess whether Dr Mahathir’s new party will be successful as Bersatu’s position in the federal government would mean it would have a lot more patronage.

“However, Dr Mahathir is of course a political icon in the Malay community, so he will have some, support. The question is whether he can take over majority support of those who have been supporting Bersatu,” he told TMR.

Bersatu currently holds 32 seats in Parliament, including 10 MPs from Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali’s bloc. Of the total, 24 MPs have ministerial positions, while seven MP’s have been assigned to head various government-linked agencies including the Federal Land Development Authority and Majlis Amanah Rakyat.

Sabak Bernam MP Datuk Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh was left out after a legal clause prevented the former Umno man from chairing the Social Security Organisation.

Chin said no doubt the biggest winner from Dr Mahathir’s announcement is long-ruling party Umno. “Umno has been trying to swell out Bersatu. Dr Mahathir’s move has weakened the party, so this makes Umno much stronger that they are the winner from the announcement,” he said.