Zuraida Kamaruddin, a well-known figure in the collapse of the former Pakatan Harapan government and a current Malaysian minister, will be leaving the government.
Zuraida also resigned from her party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), and will join a new party, Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM).
Zuraida of PKR
Zuraida began her political career on the national stage with the People's Justice Party (PKR), the party led by opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim and his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
However, coalition unity didn't last long.
Zuraida, along with fellow PKR member Azmin Ali, were suspected of leading a breakaway faction that would have brought down the PH government. She and Azmin were sacked from the party in February 2020.
Zuraida of Bersatu
After the PH government collapsed, Zuraida, Azmin Ali and other PKR members switched allegiances to Bersatu. She and Azmin were appointed members of Bersatu Supreme Leadership Council in September 2020.
After Bersatu prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin was ousted in 2021, and Ismail Sabri Yaakob of UMNO succeeded him, Zuraida was appointed Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister.
She was known for her full-fledged support of the domestic palm oil industry, including a bizarre speech in which she seemed to imply that deforestation caused by palm oil plantations was a good thing as it eradicated "killer orangutans".
She later said her comments were made in jest.
Zuraida of PBM
In late 2021, rumours swirled that Zuraida would be leading yet another party.
As reported by the New Straits Times, Zuraida was coy when asked about her intentions, saying that "anybody could form political organisations" in Malaysia.
"What party? The party has not even been named yet, so how should we know who are the leaders? There is no party to lead yet, so how to lead?" she said.
Malaysiakini reported in February 2022 that Bersatu was investigating Zuraida's overtures to PBM and the party was considering sacking her.
PBM, formerly known as the Sarawak Workers' Party, will be on friendly terms with the government led by Ismail Sabri.
It includes two other MPs, Larry Sng of Julau and Steven Choong of Tebrau.
In a press statement, according to The Star, Zuraida said:
"God-willing, I will meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob soonest to discuss my resignation as Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister. I will also discuss with him the role and direction of PBM in strengthening the Keluarga Malaysia government. I have full confidence in the wisdom of the honourable Prime Minister."
Top image from Zuraida Kamaruddin’s Facebook.