KUALA LUMPUR: The leaders of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) turned their backs on their electoral promises to fight kleptocracy when they joined forces with parties defeated during the last general election to bring down Pakatan Harapan (PH), said former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.
In a blog post on Monday (Jun 1), Dr Mahathir said some of the Bersatu leaders and members joined the party in the past because they harboured the ambition to bring down a prime minister that stole billions of government funds.
But when the "Bersatu president" plotted with defeated parties to bring down PH and became prime minister with the support of thieving leaders, the other Bersatu leaders accepted it "as long as there are benefits to enjoy", Dr Mahathir claimed, without naming anyone.
“What has happened to the pledge in the past to fight and bring down kleptocratic leaders?
“Oh. That was pledged to obtain the support of voters. Now can forget it,” he wrote.
Dr Mahathir, who formed Bersatu in 2016, and four other party members had their memberships nullified last week, following their decision not to sit with the newly formed Perikatan Nasional (PN) government headed by Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin in the parliament sitting on May 18.
Denying that they were sacked, Mr Muhyiddin explained over the weekend that their actions had gone against the party’s constitution, which resulted in the cessation of their memberships with immediate effect.
Dr Mahathir, however, disputed the legitimacy of the termination and insisted that he is still the party chairman.
Bersatu had in May 2018 worked with Mr Anwar Ibrahim’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Democratic Action Party and Parti Amanah Negara to achieve an electoral victory and replaced Barisan Nasional (BN) as the federal government.
However, Mr Muhyiddin pulled the party out of the PH coalition in February, prompting Dr Mahathir to resign as prime minister and triggering the collapse of the PH government.
With the support of BN members of parliament, Mr Muhyiddin was named the country’s eighth prime minister.
READ: Mahathir won’t go quietly after being sacked, even as Muhyiddin consolidates power in Bersatu, say analysts
An internal conflict within Bersatu has since been brewing, with disagreements between factions led by Dr Mahathir and Mr Muhyiddin playing out in the open ahead of inaugural party polls.
In his Monday blog entry, Dr Mahathir said the Bersatu president has plotted with defeated parties to leave PH so to bring down the PH government.
“With the support of thieving leaders, Bersatu president became prime minister of a coalition formed with defeated parties. It was named Perikatan Nasional.
“What did the other leaders in Bersatu say? Are they willing to accept thieves as leaders?
“It’s okay, as long as there are benefits to enjoy,” he wrote.
Dr Mahathir warned that the party will collapse and lose the confidence of the people when it goes against its promises.
“With this Bersatu will be destroyed!! What has happened to the fight to save Malays from kleptocratic leaders?”
“In the future people will no longer believe us – does that not matter anymore?” he wrote.
SYED SADDIQ HAS NO RIGHT TO SPEAK AS PARTY YOUTH CHIEF: FORMER AIDE
Separately, a former aide of Mr Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said he has no right to speak as Bersatu youth chief after his membership was nullified.
Mr Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal, who is a senator and current Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, said Mr Syed Saddiq is no longer the chief of the youth wing known as Armada.
"Syed Saddiq is free to move on with any other registered organisation he chooses.
"However, he has no right to use the name Armada or Bersatu for any purpose, especially in his continuous attempts to interfere in party matters and spew various allegations," Mr Wan Fayhsal said in a statement, according to the Star.
Mr Wan Fayhsal is contesting for the post of party youth chief in the upcoming polls, which have been put on hold due to COVID-19.