KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — The termination of Datuk Marzuki Yahya as Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) secretary-general is invalid, party chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said.
In a letter issued to party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Dr Mahathir said according to the party constitution, it is stipulated that the party chairman must be consulted over the appointment or removal of the secretary-general.
“The party president can only appoint or sack any top leadership position under the terms of ‘selepas berunding dengan pengerusi parti’ or after consulting with the party chairman.
“In this situation of Marzuki’s termination as secretary-general, there was no consultation conducted with me, the chairman of the party and this is against Bersatu’s party constitution,” said Dr Mahathir in the letter.
Earlier today, Marzuki was removed as the party’s secretary-general by Muhyiddin.
Malaysiakini reported that Marzuki received the termination notice signed by Muhyiddin that was dated March 18.
A source said Article 13.9 of the Bersatu constitution was used by Muhyiddin to relieve Marzuki of his post without any explanation. As of time of writing, neither Marzuki nor his aides have responded to media enquiries yet.
However, according to Dr Mahathir, while Articles 13.9 and 16.3.3 of the party’s constitution delegates power or tasks to the party president for posts including secretary-general, treasurer and information chief (officers), this power or task is based on the term “after consulting with the party chairman”.
Dr Mahathir said the application of ‘berunding’ or consultation in this context does not only include the president notifying the chairman but must arrive at a fruitful discussion between the president and chairman in regard to matters of respective officers’ appointments.
“Although the Bersatu constitution does not state clearly the methods used by the president to terminate respective officers, under the Societies Act 1966 and Bersatu constitution’s Article 29, it empowers Bersatu to interpret its own constitution,” Dr Mahathir wrote.
He further explained that the reasonable interpretation which fulfils the spirit and intent of Article 13.9 and 16.3.3, is that the method used to appoint the officers is the same as with matters related to termination of respective officers, and that is, the party president at all times must consult with the party chairman before taking any action or making decisions on any termination.
“As chairman, I would like to notify based on the Articles mentioned in the constitution, I do not agree with the decision of Muhyiddin to appoint Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin as the party’s secretary-general,” he said.
Dr Mahathir has been at odds with Muhyiddin since he led Bersatu out of the Pakatan Harapan coalition, triggering the collapse of the federal government, and the formation of a new coalition Umno, MCA, MIC, PAS, Gabungan Parti Sarawak and others.
With their support, Muhyiddin was subsequently sworn-in as prime minister on March 1. Since then, Dr Mahathir only has the support of a handful of Bersatu MPs and remains opposed to Muhyiddin’s premiership.