Zuraida sets off fire storm with Bersatu resignation

  • Nation
  • Friday, 27 May 2022

PETALING JAYA: Barely two days after applying to join Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM), Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin's resignation from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) has ignited a fresh war with different parties staking claims to her ministership.

Selangor Barisan Nasional information chief Isham Jalil(pic) said it was nonsensical to appoint a minister and a deputy minister from Bersatu, given Perikatan Nasional’s lacklustre performance in the Melaka polls last November and the Johor polls in March.

"This shows that the people have clearly rejected them and the government positions they are holding are not mandated by the people.

"When Bersatu switched allegiance, they lost legitimacy and political credibility," said Isham in a Facebook post on Friday (May 27) morning.

In the Melaka state election last November, Perikatan only managed to win two seats and in the Johor state election last March, it only won three seats.

Isham subsequently accused Bersatu Cabinet ministers of being incompetent and disloyal.

"If any one among them was appointed to the Cabinet to be a deputy prime minister or minister, it will further weaken the government and the people will have a more negative perception," said Isham.

Isham said as the nation faces various uncertainties in the midst of recovering the economy, Bersatu ministers who are incompetent and disloyal should have been changed, rather than "recycled" in the present government.

Following the 14th general election in May 2018, PKR had 50 MPs in the former Pakatan Harapan government, followed by DAP's 42 MPs, Amanah's 11 and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) 26.

The "Sheraton Move" in Feb 2020 saw the exit of 26 Bersatu and 11 MPs from PKR, triggering the collapse of the Pakatan government after just 22-months in Putrajaya.

Perikatan subsequently formed the next government with Barisan, and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was the prime minister.

Just 17 months in power, Muhyiddin tendered his resignation in August last year after a group of Umno MPs led by Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi withdrew support.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was subsequently appointed as prime minister, but he maintained a similar Cabinet lineup as Muhyiddin’s leadership.

Meanwhile, Isham said it is Ismail Sabri’s prerogative as prime minister to appoint any ministers, including a deputy minister, into his cabinet.

Isham was responding to remarks by Muhyiddin, who said he would nominate a candidate to fill up the Plantation Industries and Commodities minister position left vacant by Zuraida’s resignation on Thursday (May 27).

"I would like to remind Muhyiddin that the powers to appoint a deputy prime minister and cabinet minister lies in the hands of the prime minister, not the Bersatu president.

"He (Muhyiddin) has to accept the prime minister’s decision and discretion, even if the decision was unfavourable," said Isham in a Facebook posting on Friday (May 27).

Isham also stressed that based on the Constitution and the law, a political party does not have any right to demand for a minister position.

"In the Constitution, there isn’t any party quota to appoint a minister candidate.

"Muhyiddin must follow the rule of law, instead of his own (law)," Isham said sarcastically.

Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan also agreed that the choice of Cabinet members was the sole right of the prime minister.

"There are parties that claim certain ministerships for themselves, but this is not right because the composition of the Cabinet is the PM's prerogative," Malay language daily Sinar Harian quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, Azmi Hassan, a senior fellow at Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research (NASR), said the previous Pakatan And Perikatan government had set a precedent where ministerships are given based on party quota.

However, Azmi said Bersatu was in no position to demand the DPM position from Ismail Sabri.

"The PM is not beholden to Bersatu demands. In fact, the PM will have a stronger position not to entertain if such demands did come from Bersatu for the DPM post."

Azmi warned that Zuraida’s departure from Bersatu was a bad sign, as it could possibly lead to an exodus of members and grassroots leaving the party.

"Bersatu is very shaky in the Federal government," added Azmi.

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