Malaysia – Several political experts have dismissed Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin’s defection to PBM on Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, arguing that the Perikatan Nasional component was already in grave conditions before her departure.
Analysts said in reports that the Umno splinter party performed poorly in previous state elections and may be divided owing to fighting factions.
“I don’t believe Zuraida broke apart Bersatu. The party is fragile. The party comprises of former Umno and PKR members, such as Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin and his team, creating an identity gap, conflicting interests, and crises.
Political analyst Kartini Aboo Talib of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said Bersatu wouldn’t endure long since it’s a breakaway party without popular support.
In Melaka and Johor, Bersatu won just two seats in state elections. Bersatu is suffering even without Zuraida, the professor said.
Kartini stated Zuraida defected because she had 50,000 supporters in the NGO Penggerak Komuniti Negara.
Kartini stated, “She understands what her future holds and how to survive in politics.”
Anis Anwar Suhaimi, a senior researcher at the O2 Malaysia think-tank, agreed with Kartini, saying Zuraida’s decision to quit Bersatu was due to two factors: Bersatu’s prospects in the 15th general election and the anti-party-hopping Bill.
Anis added that although Zuraida’s resignation may harm Bersatu, the party remains dependent on its political elites to stay relevant and has been underperforming even with her.
She must adopt a strategic, new platform before the anti-party-hopping bill is passed. Bersatu performed poorly in Melaka and Johor.
“Despite increasing backing, Perikatan Nasional struggled to win enough seats alone, particularly in multi-cornered contests. Zuraida may seek better options, Anis suggested.
Zuraida’s decision to join PBM might boost Barisan Nasional (BN), he claimed.
Zuraida’s engagement in PBM with BN would allow her political career and support base to continue, Anis stated.
According to Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research Senior Fellow Azmi Hassan, Zuraida is still a “outsider” in Bersatu, as is Azmin.
“It doesn’t bode well for Bersatu, particularly its head Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is seeking to rally support from the Opposition.
“Even if Bersatu is intact, its political power is going down very rapidly, and it would be difficult for Bersatu and Muhyiddin to persuade other Opposition parties to collaborate with Bersatu or accept Bersatu as their ally,” the professor added.
Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia supported Azmi and Anis’ views, stating Zuraida couldn’t climb Bersatu’s hierarchy and was forced to build her own platform.
“PBM aims to be BN-friendly. Will Bersatu and BN leaders clash? Where will Azmin stand following Bersatu’s purge?
Zuraida announced her intention to resign from the Cabinet and meet with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on May 26, the same day she joined Parti Bangsa Malaysia, leaving Bersatu.
Ismail Sabri announced on May 28 that Zuraida would continue as minister until he meets with her.
The Registrar of Societies (RoS) authorized PBM’s renaming on October 27, 2017.
Larry Sng, a PKR defector, was elected party president on January 8 in Sibu, Sarawak, along with other key executives.