COMMENTARY, May 16 — A year after winning Putrajaya together with allies from Pakatan Harapan, Bersatu must now prepare for its first-ever party election in September.
The party has to conduct the election in accordance with the needs of the Registrar of Societies (RoS) as the party has yet to formalise its office bearers since its formation in September 2016.
The election is the first for the party since its formation in September 2016. Back then, it fashioned itself as a symbol for the disenchanted Malay voter, and opposed Umno and Barisan Nasional and eventually won GE14.
The party had, in 2016 following the expulsion of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal from Umno, managed to rally Umno dissidents, and with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as chairman, appointed several leaders as pro-tem office bearers.
Now that GE14 has been won, so some 165 Bersatu divisions will be dissolved on June 30 to make way for the party annual general assembly (AGM) where new office-bearers will be elected.
The remaining 26 divisions where 25 are in Sabah and one in Labuan will not participate as the members there are given three months to set up the divisions with pro-tem committee since the party had just entered the state last month.
The party headquarters are in the process of finalising the membership list and formulating the methods for a one member one vote system which reflect the party’s intention to give equal rights to all members to have a say in electing their leaders.
The method is also expected to strengthen the party particularly with the present situation where frictions are appearing in states such as Johor and Perak and few others.
Bersatu is chaired by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir and its current president Home Minister Muhyiddin and its deputy is Kedah Mentri Besar Mukhriz.
When all the divisions are dissolved by end of July, members of the divisions will begin nominating who should sit in the divisions and the every nomination must be accompanied with a proposer and a supporter.
The positions in the divisions they can contest are division chiefs, deputy division chiefs, vice-chiefs, women head which the party termed as Srikandi, youth head which is termed as Armada and three committee members.
Rumour is rife that restructuring of the 165 divisions will take place the whole month of August where nominations and certifications of candidates for positions in the divisions will be finalised.
Campaigning will take place for a month in September where voting will be conducted by the end of September.
The party headquarters have yet to finalise when nominations for the party supreme council members will take place and when the voting will be conducted.
Supreme council will include party president, deputy president, three vice-presidents and 25 members.
The party rules stipulate that candidates who are qualified to contest are those registered as members from its formation date until the end of 2018 while those who qualified to vote are those who have registered until the end of March 30 this year.
Whether the election will be tame or otherwise is yet to be seen as frictions are already visible but whether the magnitude will get bigger in a few months’ time is uncertain.