PONTIAN, May 27 — Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) is in no position to claim it had a right to name a replacement for Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin in the Cabinet, following her departure from the party.
He said the situation demonstrated that Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his party were in a weak position after Zuraida’s announcement yesterday that she will be joining Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM).
“If the anti-hopping law was enforced, Zuraida would not have left Bersatu as the law will only be tabled in the next Parliament sitting in July,” said Ahmad at the Pontian Umno division and Benut state assembly Hari Raya open house at the Dewan Jubli Intan here today.
Present at the event was Johor Umno chief and Benut assemblyman Datuk Seri Hasni Mohammad and senior party officials.
Ahmad was responding to Muhyiddin’s insistence that the ministerial post vacated by Zuraida belonged to Bersatu under a quota.
The Pontian MP added that when Bersatu lost an MP and wanted to reclaim the ministerial post, the party should not pressure Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as it had no right to do so.
“In such circumstances, Bersatu are not getting stronger but weaker instead. The prime minister has the prerogative to determine who he wants to fill the vacant minister’s post,” he said.
Yesterday, Zuraida, who is plantation industries and commodities minister, announced that she will join PBM.
The Ampang MP, who is in Turkey on a working trip, also said she would meet Ismail Sabri soon to discuss her resignation as a minister.
Zuraida will be joining PBM’s two other MPs, its party president Larry Sng of Julau and Steven Choong of Tebrau. Both Sng and Choong quit PKR in support of Muhyiddin’s administration back in February 2021.
Earlier, Selangor Barisan Nasional (BN) information chief Isham Jalil slammed Muhyiddin and Bersatu for insisting that the ministerial post vacated by Zuraida belonged to the party under a quota.
Meanwhile, Ahmad pointed out that the 15th general election (GE15) could be call anytime soon as the country has entered the final stage of the mandated five-year period after the 2018 polls.
“We are in the fourth year, with less than 12 months left and Umno has been making preparations to face the general election that could be called anytime soon,” he said.