KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 — The decision to bring Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) out of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition was known and supported by its chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said its information chief Mohd Radzi Md Jidin.
He said it was only at the last moment before the plan was to be carried out that Dr Mahathir revealed a differing stance to that of Bersatu’s.
“As is known, Tun was constantly being pressured by Pakatan leaders especially from PKR and DAP to resign as prime minister. He along with the rest of the Bersatu leadership was uncomfortable with this, and as such, many felt there was no longer any accordance within Pakatan,” Radzi said in a statement today.
He also addressed former Bersatu secretary-general Datuk Marzuki Yahya’s claims made on Thursday (May 7) in which he said the party’s supreme council never made the decision to bring Bersatu out of PH.
“I wish to clarify that the supreme council in its meeting on February 23 made the clear decision to do so and form a new political coalition with other parties outside of Pakatan. Therefore, Datuk Marzuki’s claim is untrue.
“Indeed, the decision was not made hastily, but discussed at all levels of the party leadership several months prior to being finalised in Bersatu’s political bureau meeting on February 21 and subsequent supreme council meeting,” he said.
Radzi added that Bersatu’s leadership and its rank-and-file members were also uncomfortable with what he described as DAP’s machinations, and wanted to review its relationship with DAP within PH.
“This culminated on February 23 when the supreme council was informed that Dr Mahathir had the support of a majority of the Dewan Rakyat’s members, including from Bersatu, but also Umno, PAS, GPS, Parti Warisan, and a portion of PKR MPs led by Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
“Based on the support for Dr Mahathir by non-Pakatan MPs, Bersatu decided to leave the coalition. But the chairman did not agree with this decision, instead wishing to remain within Pakatan as its presidential council decided on February 21 to leave it to him to decide when to resign from the post,” he said.
Out of courtesy to Dr Mahathir, the supreme council agreed to give him some time to announce its decision to leave PH. Subsequently, on February 24, he announced his resignation as prime minister on the grounds that he no longer had the council’s support.
“Per Motion 16.9 of the party constitution, when the chairman resigns, then the president becomes the acting incumbent. In both capacities, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also announced Bersatu’s departure from Pakatan on the same day.
“This fact was acknowledged by Dr Mahathir himself, in his special address on February 26 when he said he asked for time, but that Bersatu had already decided to leave Pakatan,” Radzi said.
He explained that Muhyiddin would serve as acting chairman until the supreme council convenes to elect a new chairman, the date for which has yet to be confirmed.
“It is true that on February 24, the council’s special meeting rejected Dr Mahathir’s resignation as chairman. But after analysing the constitution, there is no provision authorising the council to reinstate an incumbent who formerly resigned from the post, as the matter is out of its jurisdiction.
“All party members, including the chairman, president and rank-and-file, are bound to the rights and responsibilities as stated in the constitution. No one has the power to overstep the constitution, nor is anyone vested with absolute power within Bersatu,” Radzi said.
The information chief called upon Bersatu members to continue preserving its unity, and that any differences in opinion ought to be referred to the constitution for guidance.
Earlier today, in a special address to mark PH’s victory two years ago, Dr Mahathir said Bersatu was established as a successor to Umno since the latter had failed in discharging its responsibilities for the Malay and Bumiputera community.