Former Malaysia prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin's political party, Bersatu, said it is not affected by some of its members defecting to Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM), Malaysiakini reported on Jan. 10.
Some of the defecting members were then appointed as top leaders of the new party they joined.
What do the defections signal?
The defection, even though not unusual in Malaysian politics, might signal a split in Bersatu.
Some of the defecting members include Paul Yong and A Sivasubramaniam.
Sivasubramaniam has been appointed as PBM's senior vice-president II, whereas Yong, who is currently on trial for rape, was appointed as the party's treasurer-general.
Both of them were from the Democratic Action Party (DAP) before joining Bersatu in 2021.
Bersatu's members "growing"
Despite several members defecting to PBM, Bersatu's information chief, Wan Saiful Wan Jan, claimed that the party's membership has been growing every month, Malaysiakini reported.
Wan Saiful did not disclose the current number of Bersatu members, nor did he give the number of new members.
He added that Bersatu will continue with their agenda of pushing for "integrity, good governance, anti-corruption, and anti-abuse of power".
The agenda is to benefit Malaysian regardless of race, ethnicity or religion, he said.
PBM's "Great Reset 2030"
According to The Star, PBM aims to bring a "new political standard" to Malaysia through the party's agenda, The Great Reset 2030.
PBM was created from the Sarawak Workers Party after its takeover.
Nor Hizwan, a member of the PBM, said the party will focus on six main pillars moving forward. They are:
- Being a multiracial party;
- A party representing the voices of the youth;
- Championing the rights of women;
- Science and technology;
He added that the party has about 53,000 members consisting of members from the non-governmental organisation, Penggerak Komuniti Negara Malaysia (PKN).
PKN is linked to the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Zuraida Kamaruddin.
Members close to Azmin and Zuraidah defecting to PBM
Several PBM's leaders were aligned to Azmin Ali and Zuraida from Bersatu, Malaysiakini reported on Jan. 8.
They include Haniza Mohamed, who is now PBM's deputy president I, and Daroyah Alwi, who is the party's women chief.
Both Azmin and Zuraida were also expected to move from Bersatu to PBM.
Zuraida had not dismissed the possibility of joining the new party.
"I have not received any offer yet. I don't know yet, I will consider," she said.
"If there is an offer from anyone, I will consider it," Zuraida added, as reported by Malaysiakini quoting Berita Harian.
PBM might join BN in GE15
For the upcoming 15th General Election slated to take place before July 2023, PBM's president Larry Sng said the party is exploring joining the Barisan Nasional (BN).
He said that PBM can be a "multiracial party option for BN" to win "important mixed seats", Malaysiakini reported on Jan. 8.
"BN has proven to have stable party management, as well as being considered the most experienced coalition in governing the country," Sng said, according to Malaysiakini, quoting Sinar Harian.
He added that PBM's decision to be part of BN "is the right strategy".
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Top images via Parti Pribumi BERSATU Malaysia/Facebook and Parti Bangsa Malaysia/Facebook