KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — Datuk Seri Zuraida Kamaruddin said she had suggested the formation of the multi-ethnic Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) as a way to "add value” and increase support for her former party Bersatu, Mingguan Malaysia reported today.
Responding to a show-cause letter issued by her former party, the federal minister suggested she had discussed the idea of a new party before quitting Bersatu with its president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
"In the discussion with the president, I had told him of the idea to form a new party that is multiracial to add value and as a subsidiary to Bersatu so as to raise support from a multiracial segment of the electorate that Bersatu cannot get,” she was quoted as saying.
"This will increase support for Bersatu based on the fact that [Parti Bangsa Malaysia] consists of leaders who once held the highest posts in a multiracial party that had won a majority of the parliamentary seats in the previous general election,” she added.
Zuraida formerly led the PKR’s women’s wing. The Pakatan Harapan anchor won most of the federal seats in the 2018 elections to help the coalition form the first new ruling government since Independence.
Zuraida suggested her defection from PKR had brought over grassroots members to support Bersatu, Mingguan Malaysia reported citing her written response to the show-cause letter issued by Bersatu secretary-general’s office.
The letter was issued on May 11, according to the Malay newspaper.
She accused certain factions in Bersatu of intentionally delaying the enrollment of former PKR members to join Bersatu.
"At the time our group which consisted of highly experienced political activists and held high positions were not fully appreciated to help develop Bersatu,” she was quoted as saying.
"It was as if we were sidelined and their real potential unrealised to the detriment of Bersatu.”
Zuraida also denied she had joined PBM while still a member of Bersatu. She has since said she would meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to tender her resignation as a minister.
Ismail Sabri told reporters in Tokyo that Zuraida has yet to tender her resignation and will remain in the Cabinet "for now”.