Zuraida’s exit may spark party exodus, say experts


PETALING JAYA: While Ampang MP Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin’s move to quit Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia was an “open secret” and had been long expected, it still comes as a huge blow to the party ahead of the general election.

Political pundits say it may mark the start of more such desertions from the party, which is now at loggerheads with Umno and trying to shore up support among the Opposition.

Analyst Azmi Hassan, a senior fellow at Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research, said the move by the plantation industries and commodities minister raises the question whether there would be more defections by party members aligned to her.

“The question is: Who will follow Zuraida in exiting Bersatu in the near future?” he said after Zuraida announced her defection to Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) yesterday.

With her entry into PBM, the party launched on Dec 21 will have three MPs, including party president Larry Sng of Julau and Steven Choong of Tebrau, and five assemblymen.

Zuraida, a former PKR vice-president, was among 10 PKR MPs who joined Bersatu along with former deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali in the wake of the “Sheraton Move” in 2020.

The move led to the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.

Azmi said Zuraida’s resignation also showed that there were internal issues in Bersatu that needed to be addressed.

However, he pointed out that PBM was still a relatively new party and was not likely to have much impact in the next general election.

Dr Oh Ei Sun, adjunct senior fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, also agreed that the move would affect Bersatu.

“Of course, it is a blow to Bersatu, as those aligned to Azmin are likely to follow either en bloc or one by one,” he said.

Asked if the move could expedite calls for the 15th General Election (GE15), Oh said that the timing of GE15 was dependent more on Umno’s pressure to do so sooner.

“I believe it will not affect the government much as PBM is still leaning towards the ruling coalition.

“PBM is currently emerging as a substantial political player, especially if it is helmed by Azmin.

“But whether Azmin and those aligned to him will be re-elected (in the next general election) remains uncertain.

“This is mainly because they were originally elected under the Pakatan ticket,” he said.

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