KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) bitter relationship, one filled with “dissonance”, with former Pakatan Harapan (PH) allies DAP was among the determining factors that led to the party’s eventual exit from their former coalition, said Senator Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal.
The deputy youth and sports minister said despite there being great levels of mutual respect between the parties, he described their relationship as difficult, saying a large number of his party members stayed true to their Umno roots and remained antagonistic towards DAP throughout their alliance.
A report by Malaysiakini quoted Wan Ahmad Fayhsal as saying Bersatu was forced to remain patient to tolerate their former colleagues, saying the party’s views were kept moderate to remain palatable to their DAP colleagues during their time in government.
Despite complimenting DAP leaders such as former transport minister and National Organising Secretary Anthony Loke and Wan Ahmad Fayhsal’s predecessor Steven Sim, the Bersatu senator suggested the two parties would have never gotten along ideologically in the long run.
“During the two years together, I think Bersatu members were very patient and tried to moderate our views on many things that were controversial in nature.
“So, it was not a happy relationship,” he added.
“These are the people (Loke and Sim) whom I think the Malays could generally support.
“But we don’t buy into DAP’s ideology. That is definitely a no-no,” he was quoted as saying.
Other factors that led to their eventual exit from PH, he said, included PKR’s internal conflict between the top two party heads, namely president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and former deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Additionally, the unrelenting pressure from Anwar’s supporters pushing for disputed Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to relinquish his post as prime minister to the PKR president also contributed to the coalition’s eventual collapse.
“The internal bickering and the pressure on Tun (Mahathir) to relinquish the post (of PM) became a pain throughout Harapan’s time (as government) and the coalition could not be sustained under such circumstances,” he said.
He added how despite the majority of Bersatu standing behind party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when abandoning PH, both members and leaders still retain high levels of respect for former party colleagues Dr Mahathir and former youth minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.
The deputy minister then maintained the decision to leave PH was made all in the name of the party, which Wan Ahmad Fayhsal said stood above and beyond any personality or member.
He stressed the decision was made to ensure Bersatu remained on a course consistent with its ideology, before denouncing those who see his fellow PH defectors as traitors.
“This is incorrect. I think what we are doing is basically toeing the party line.
“I am a party member first. Yes, I worked under Syed Saddiq before, and I really respect him as my former boss and also a best friend.
“But when it comes to the party, when it comes to the direction of the party, the constitution and institution of the party come first above all other personalities, including Tun,” he said.