Commentary Politics

Pribumi Bersatu enters a storm

Faces that tell the whole story. This was a photo from the 2012 aid. The highest amount to be given this year should be RM1,200.

Written by Aziz Hassan

Recollections & Reflections – A weekly column

Party does a turnaround on announcement of leadership council

THE party is only about four months old and will only be officially launched the middle of this month but already Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia or Pribumi Bersatu has had to recently navigate some stormy weather.

Some may even counter by saying the recent developments were in fact only a storm in a tea cup but these are not the kind of decisions you expect about a party that wants to portray itself as a better alternative than an Umno it wants to consign into history.

The sacking of one of its seven founding members, Srikandi or Wanita head Anina Saadudin was one clouded in confusion and one that suggested the party with a leadership comprising many former very senior Umno leaders most surprisingly hasn’t got its house in order administratively.

Despite including her in the list of supreme council members officially announced last November 2, the knives were immediately out to try and discredit this former Wanita Umno Langkawi member, to the point of even denying that she was ever appointed Srikandi head. There was also a statement saying that the wing had yet to be formed and when Anina was appointed, it was only for her to liaise activities for and on women! What rubbish. There was nothing about any wing being officially formed or not when the leadership line-up was announced.

The reasons for her dismissal remain unclear until today, about a week after it was made public, although there was talk that a “sexting” issue was the reason.

And a few days ago political journeyman Datuk Ezam Mohd. Nor confirmed that he had written to Pribumi Bersatu to inform that he was quitting.

Over the years Ezam has been here and there and while he does have a name many in politics are familiar with, he hasn’t been big in any of the parties he was with and these include Umno (twice) and PKR.

The Pribumi Bersatu Facebook page says that the party will be officially launched this January 14. Maybe we’ll see a clearer picture of what it’s all about apart from just being a platform to try and oust Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. But don’t be surprised either if you learn very little else.

He has done it again

Former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has done it again. But you can’t fault him being consistent, for being himself.

The latest to come under Mahathir’s radar is the 1Malaysia People’s Aid scheme or BR1M that was introduced in 2012 to assist various low income groups tide through tough economic times.

From a mere RM500 for everyone, the amount has been going up and now covers not only households but also individuals. This year the highest amount to be given is RM1,200.

Close to one-third of countries in the world, including developed countries like the United States and Britain, give out similar aids but in different forms and under different names.

Mahathir has described BR1M as no more than political corruption.

It must be noted that even Singapore, a neighbour known to be strongly intolerant of corruption and the corrupt, has adopted a similar scheme.

The irony of Mahathir’s condemnation is that Pribumi Bersatu, the party he founded and now chairs, has pledged to continue with the aid programme but with alterations here and there.

Not surprisingly too those in the opposition here have different views on BR1M, with PKR leader Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail agreeing with it and a few others saying something else.

Again nothing new here because this mix-match of an opposition can’t even agree on who they want as prime minister should they win the next general election.

How to agree on anything when you don’t have clear thinking, a firm political ideology and your ideals for the country?

How to be able to plan for all this when you are so pre-occupied with wanting only to oust one man from power and you tell us that the rest comes later?

Looking at what has been happening thus far, that “the rest” would simply translate into a mad scramble for the best seats.



About the author


Aziz Hassan

A journalist since July 1976 with both the English and Malaya press and was with two newspaper groups before The Mole. Does corporate report-writing and translation in his free time. Currently also a contributing weekly rugby columnist for the New Straits Times.