KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Leaders of Umno splinter Parti Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia are allegedly trying to propose a merger with fellow splinter, ruling Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), but to no avail.
Citing anonymous sources, Malaysiakini reported that the faction pushing for the merger of Ikatan, currently a member of Islamist party PAS-led bloc Gagasan Sejahtera, is led by party president Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir himself.
Abdul Kadir served as tourism minister under the first tenure of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is now PPBM chairman, and has reportedly met the prime minister and other PPBM leaders three times over the matter.
“It is difficult for PPBM to accept Ikatan’s intentions,” one anonymous source reportedly told the portal.
The report also claimed that PPBM opposes such a merger, although it is more than willing to accept Ikatan members in.
Malay Mail could not verify the report at the time of writing, and is seeking clarification from PPBM and Ikatan leaders.
The report, however, quoted Ikatan Youth chief Shahir Adnan urging the party to stick with its current partner PAS.
“After the 14th general election, [Ikatan, PAS, and Berjasa] have campaigned together for opposition candidates in by-elections, and have shared a stage to represent the opposition’s voice,” he reportedly said, referring to Gagasan Sejahtera’s members.
“Gagasan Sejahtera Youth and Umno Youth have also jointly been involved in important programmes such as the anti-ICERD rally, economic forums... and even attended the PAS muktamar and Umno general assembly.”
Ikatan was reportedly formed in 2012 but was only formally launched in 2015, before joining Gagasan Sejahtera in 2016.
The party purports to champion the “souls” of Malaysia’s founding fathers such as Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, and Tun V.T. Sambanthan.
It only contested one federal seat in the general election last year, which it lost.