Drug arrests cast shadow over impending Bersatu polls

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 14 Jan 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: A drug raid that led to the arrest of the Dengkil assemblyman and five others said to be aides of three ministers has sparked controversy for Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

On the same day, an internal circular signed by the party’s secretary-general announced the postponement of nomination day for branch and divisional elections. The nomination was supposed to start yesterday.

A circular signed by Datuk Marzuki Yahya pushed nomination day to Jan 26 in order to address complaints by party grassroots.

Meanwhile, in Johor, a Bersatu stronghold, its state party secretary Mohd Solihan Badri confirmed the postponement, saying that irregularities were found in its membership rolls.

“We found that some members who belong to certain branches have been registered in other branches.

“We are working to rectify this and are confident we can settle this issue before Jan 26, which is the new date for nomination for Bersatu’s election,” he said.

When asked if there had been an approach made by a national-level Bersatu leader seeking support for his candidacy, the Tenang assemblyman brushed the idea aside.

“I am Johor Bersatu secretary and no leaders have approached me or any state leaders asking for our support,” he said.

On talk that there will be members running against party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and party youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who are both from Johor, Mohd Solihan said no state leaders would challenge these two.

Bersatu has 377,057 members from 2,946 branches nationwide. Nominations for posts at branch and division levels close on Jan 26.

Universiti Malaya’s political analyst Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the timing of the arrests was not a good sign, as it could affect Bersatu’s upcoming party elections and undermine the reputation of Pakatan Harapan, which is currently perceived to be plagued with uncertainty.

“It isn’t healthy for the party if this (arrest) is the result of sabotage. However, the rule of law will determine whether the accused are guilty or not.

“Being sabotaged and convicted are two separate issues. Sabotage is usually the work of political enemies, but if they are convicted, then it involves the issues of morals and drug abuse,” he said.

Awang said Bersatu’s top leadership must emphasise discipline and ethics in its political culture, as it could not only prevent internal sabotage, but also avoid its members from being involved in negative activities that could undermine the party.

“The top leadership must also encourage its members to stay away from illegal activities such as drug abuse, corruption, gambling and other crimes,” he added.

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