KUALA TERENGGANU: Despite losing all seats it contested in the state in the recent GE14, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi) in Terengganu is determined to come back stronger and ready to face the next general election.
State Pribumi chief Datuk Razali Idris said his main focus now is to recruit new members by first setting up 366 new branches in all of the 32 state seats.
"We will do this so that by the time GE15 comes, we will be ready with a larger and stronger machinery," he said at an Iftar event with the media.
In GE14, none of the Pakatan Harapan component parties won any of the seats contested in Terengganu.
He said the party has already received requests from several people who are interested to join the party but everyone will have to go through the same process to be recruited.
He claims that among those that have expressed interest include former state representatives and also "neglected" members from Umno.
"We expect to see about 50% of new members coming from other political parties such as Umno and PAS.
"However, we also stress that no one can bypass the process. They need to follow the rules and fill up forms just like everyone else," he said.
Razali estimated that there are about 1,800 Pribumi members in Terengganu and expects this number to shoot up by 200% by the end of the year.
With a larger base in Terengganu, Pribumi hopes it can do better in the next general election.
When asked about the party's abysmal performance in GE14, Razali said one of the reasons was that the party had not gained proper footing among the grassroots.
"Many of them still hold to the belief that a vote for Pakatan Harapan is a vote for DAP," he said adding that another reason could be the party's novelty among the people.
He said by expanding and strengthening the party's base in the state, he hopes that it will be strong enough to change that perception among the grassroots.
"We have a unit to help us change that perception and furthermore, DAP (through its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng) now holds one of the top posts in the country as Minister of Finance.
"This is the time that the party will prove that it is not anti-Islam nor anti-Malay.
"It will take about two to three years to change that perception but I know the people will be able to judge for themselves," he said.
Separately, Razali reiterated that Pakatan Harapan is open to working with the PAS-led state government for the benefit of the people.
Razali, who is one of the three Pakatan vice chairmen in Terengganu views the cooperation between rival political parties as a smart partnership.
"We are not even the opposition in the state but are part of the Federal Government and we will have tasks set out for us and we are open to working together," he said.