KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Bersatu did not expel disputed chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and four others from the party, president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin clarified today.
He said the five instead automatically lost their memberships when they chose to sit among the Opposition during the May 18 meeting of Parliament.
Bersatu is part of the ruling Perikatan Nasional alliance and its lawmakers sat among backbenchers during the unusual single-day meeting.
Muhyiddin further insisted that he did not act hastily in the matter despite repeated calls for Dr Mahathir and his faction to be punished.
“We are certainly disappointed with Tun Dr Mahathir’s choice not to be with us on the party’s path and struggle as determined by the Supreme Council.
“Tun and his supporters have chosen to keep cooperating with Pakatan Harapan even though the party has decided otherwise. If that is Tun’s decision, I wish them well,” Muhyiddin said in a statement today.
The Bersatu president insisted that he must be fair in upholding the party’s constitution regardless of the positions of those who violated its articles.
He then sought to rally Bersatu members and urged them to close ranks to reinforce the administration formed with the party’s allies.
Bersatu organising secretary Muhammad Suhaimi Yahya informed Dr Mahathir, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah, Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman and Maszlee Malik on Thursday that their memberships were terminated as they sat on the Opposition bench on May 18.
This prompted disputed Bersatu secretary-general Datuk Marzuki Yahya to issue a termination letter to Muhammad Suhaimi for violating the party’s rules in the sacking.
Bersatu split in two after the February political crisis following Dr Mahathir’s resignation as the prime minister and the party’s chairman.
Despite the Bersatu supreme council’s rejection of his resignation at the time, the party’s leaders insisted that Dr Mahathir held no executive powers until he was officially reinstated in the position.
The party also has two secretaries-general, having installed Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin in the position after removing Marzuki from the role.
However, Marzuki from Dr Mahathir’s camp has refused to acknowledge this and continues to issue statements as the Bersatu secretary-general.
Dr Mahathir visited the Bersatu headquarters yesterday where he reasserted his position as the party’s chairman with full executive powers.