KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 — Deputy Works Minister Datuk Shahruddin Md Salleh said he is ready to relinquish his government portfolio if it will strengthen Bersatu which is on the brink of splitting as top leaders and grassroots members openly quarrel with each other.
In a statement posted on Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s Facebook page, Shahruddin — who is Bersatu’s protem secretary-general — said his love for the party is greater than his love for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who lead the two factions.
“I want to see Bersatu strong and solid. I love Bersatu far more than I do Tun (Mahathir) and TSMY (Muhyiddin), I do not wish to see Bersatu weakened and sidelined while its pioneer members who are genuine in their struggle are pushed to one side.
“If I have to resign from my position as the deputy works minister, then so be it, for the sake of strengthening Bersatu, so that I can use my time to fully focus on Bersatu.
“As the first SUA (secretary-general, I know KB (division chiefs), Srikandi and Armada.
“(I will) ask and request grassroots members not to continue quarrelling, which only weakens Bersatu. There are some who are sulking, and want to leave Bersatu. To them, I say, ‘Don’t do that!!’ Please Bersatu lah (Stay united),” he said in the statement.
Shahruddin met Dr Mahathir at Bersatu headquarters in Petaling Jaya last Friday.
He was said to have been slated to join a press conference that day together with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof but the event was later cancelled.
In the statement, Shahruddin said he was happy when Perikatan Nasional (PN) supported Muhyiddin as the prime minister, but he said PN, unlike Pakatan Harapan (PH), was not an officially registered party coalition.
Thus, he said, it was hard to agree with the reasoning that Dr Mahathir and four other sacked MPs were “joining Opposition parties” as claimed by his rival faction in the party.
“To me, PN is merely the name for an unofficial alliance between MPs who agree with TSMY being the prime minister.
“PN is not a coalition of parties, what’s more, I have yet to see, research and debate deeply about the PN Constitution being brought to a special general assembly or at least the MPT (supreme council) yet have mutually agreed that Bersatu has agreed to join PN?” he said.
Shahruddin also added that he is willing to return to PH if it means that Bersatu will remain strong.
He ended his statement asking whether PN or PH will allow Bersatu candidates, including him, to stand in their own constituencies in the next general election.
“If I have to leave my friends in PN and return to Pakatan Harapan with a guarantee that Bersatu will be alive and kicking, I am ready to do that too.
“For now, try to give me a very sincere answer. I am now the Sri Gading MP. Will PN or PH provide an unambiguous path for (this) Bersatu candidate to run for the Sri Gading seat in GE15? PN or PH?
“That will also be the answer to one of the most important questions. Will Bersatu be safer in PN or PH?” he said.