After Bersatu sackings, more to join Pejuang

Zaim Ibrahim

Dr Mahathir Mohamad founded Bersatu in 2016 to fight the corrupt, especially Najib Razak. His ouster from the party has angered many grassroots members. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Afif Abd Halim, August 18, 2020.

SACKED Bersatu leaders and members said they are keen to join Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s new party, Pejuang, not to follow the former prime minister but to fight corruption.

Even though the Registrar of Societies has yet to register Pejuang officially, several of them said they have begun urging others to quit Bersatu and join the new party.

Bersatu’s hard-line approach and sacking those who support Dr Mahathir, plus its move to join Muafakat Nasional will drive more members away, they added.

Sani Azrin Mohamad Saleh, who was with the Bersatu Permatang Pauh division and among those sacked, said it was a low blow to see his name and that of the 281 others printed in newspapers.

The party took up advertising space in Malay dailies on August 15 to announce the sackings.

“I felt like a criminal when I saw my name published in the news. I didn’t even get a notice or email or letter.

“But I will not appeal and I am ready to join Dr Mahathir. As long as he is fighting for Bersatu’s initial objective, my friends and I will join him,” Sani told The Malaysian Insight.

He estimates that 300 Bersatu members in Permatang Pauh will join Pejuang.

“I have initiated a mass movement here. I am confident many Bersatu members will join Pejuang because they are disappointed with party leaders since Bersatu left Pakatan Harapan.”

Sani was referring to Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin’s decision to take the party out of PH in late February, prompting Dr Mahathir to resign as prime minister and the collapse of the PH federal government.

“Muhyiddin as president did not just betray Dr Mahathir and Bersatu members but also the people,” he added.

Bersatu recently purged nearly 300 members, including assemblymen and supreme council members, who support Dr Mahathir.

The purge came just before party elections over the weekend.

In late May, the party also removed Dr Mahathir, the Langkawi MP, and other MPs aligned with him from the membership roll.

Bersatu took out ads in Malay dailies after sacking 281 members and leaders recently. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, August 18, 2020.

Among the recent sackings is former Kulim Bandar Baharu Armada youth chief, Mohd Salman Mohd Sollehuddin, who said Pejuang will get the support from Bersatu members at the division level.

There are those preparing to leave the party, he said.

“We support Bersatu’s original principles. We in Bandar Baru Kulim will be joining Pejuang.

“We are in the process of doing so. All Kulim committee members resigned two days ago and at least 50 are ready to join Pejuang.”

Salman said the latest development whereby Bersatu will officially join Umno and PAS in Muafakat Nasional will only drive more members out of the party Muhyiddin and Dr Mahathir co-founded.

“Those who support Bersatu in the last elections will move to support Pejuang. Everyday there will be divisions and branches closed.

“That is what will happen when you do not consult the grassroots when making a decision,” he said.

A Bangi Bersatu division member, Arman Putera Asmuni, said all members in his division will be leaving the party.

“All former members in Bangi will join Pejuang. Some are even disappointed that their names were not listed (among those sacked).”

Arman, who had been in the running for a seat on the Bersatu supreme council, said he withdrew from the nomination after witnessing irregularities in election procedures.

“I withdrew the day after Muhyiddin was announced as the president uncontested, Ahmad Faizal Azumu as his deputy. I do not believe that the party elections will be administered fairly.”

Among the assemblymen sacked from Bersatu are Harumaini Omar (Batang Kali), Shaid Rosli (Jeram) and Sallehudin Amiruddin (Kuang).

Supreme council member Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah Sanusi was also sacked, as well as youth wing leader Ulya Aqamah Husamuddin.

Three candidates fighting for the women’s head position, Kepala Batas Bersatu division chief Azlina Mehtab Mohd Ishak, deputy information chief Izza Ismail and Kuala Langat women’s wing head Zuhuraina Makmur were also expelled.

Those who were removed along with Dr Mahathir in late May include former Bersatu deputy president and Jerlun MP Mukhriz Mahathir, former secretary-general Marzuki Yahya, former youth chief and Muar MP Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik and Kubang Pasu MP Amiruddin Hamzah. – August 18, 2020.

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