Despite losses and exits, Wan Saiful confident Bersatu has future

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KUALA LUMPUR: Bersatu information chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan remains unfazed and optimistic about his party’s future despite the departure of several big names since May and losses in recent state elections.

In an interview with FMT, Wan Saiful admitted that the exit of Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin and Lahad Datu MP Mohamaddin Ketapi were losses to Bersatu.

In an interview with FMT, Wan Saiful admitted that the exit of Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin and Lahad Datu MP Mohamaddin Ketapi were losses to Bersatu.

However, he claimed that more and more people were signing up to join Bersatu, adding that the Muhyiddin Yassin-led party currently has more than 800,000 members.

“This shows that Bersatu is being well-received. This is a positive development.

“Yes, certain figures have quit the party but, to me, this is a normal process in a democracy. Everyone is free to make their own decisions, whether it’s to leave or join any party,” he said.

Zuraida, who is still the plantation industries and commodities minister, quit Bersatu on May 26 to lead the newly formed Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM).

This was followed by Mohamaddin, who is also the Segama assemblyman, exiting the party on June 28 to become an independent elected representative. The former Warisan man had resigned from Shafie Apdal’s party last October and joined Bersatu a month later.

Zuraida’s exit had sparked rumours that Bersatu supreme council member Azmin Ali and Batu Pahat MP Rashid Hasnon would also leave the party, but both have since denied this.

On June 20, Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin said he had applied to join Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the lynchpin of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition.

Willie had claimed he was not a member of Muhyiddin’s party but was only “parked” under Bersatu to support the current government.

Wan Saiful admitted that the party was in a “self-evaluation process” to uncover why these leaders had left, and were leaving, the party.

State election losses

He maintained that the party had a bright future despite its heavy losses in the Melaka and Johor state elections, which saw Barisan Nasional storming to convincing victories.

He pointed out that Bersatu was only five years old, and Perikatan Nasional two, but had already been able to form part of the government.

“Bersatu helped Pakatan Harapan win in the 14th general election (GE14). What’s surprising is that we remained as the leading party in the government after Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned.

“For a five-year-old party, this is beyond people’s expectations. (Though we lost), the reality is that we received encouraging support in the Melaka and Johor state polls.”

He was not concerned about PN and Bersatu’s losses at the state elections, describing it as “a normal thing”, but said the key factor was that the party was in the process of being strengthened.

“Look at PKR and PAS’ history, they had also taken a long time to (grow their support and) obtain a healthy number of MPs,” he said.

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