PUTRAJAYA: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), a party mooted by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was formally registered today at the Putrajaya headquarters of the Registrar of Societies’ (RoS) by its pro tem president, Muhyiddin Yassin.
Muhyiddin, who was sacked by ruling party Umno recently, said the new party was open to Malaysians of all races.
“Aside from all Bumiputera citizens – including Sabahans and Sarawakians – it is also open to all others, but as associate members.
“We want to be inclusive. We will give them new recognition.
“We want them to play a role in terms of giving ideas and what not,” Muhyiddin told reporters after the registration.
He explained that non-Bumiputera members, registered as associate members, would share the same rights as regular members, except the ability to vote or compete for positions in the party.
“However, they are eligible to be appointed in any position in the party.”
Muhyiddin also said the party’s main agenda included institutional reforms and the pursuit of justice in order to protect the rights of every Malaysian citizen.
“We want to work towards a clean and transparent government with integrity.
“The whole point is to form a fair Malaysia.”
Muhyiddin also did not rule out the possibility of working with Opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH).
“I hope so (to be able to work with PH).
“As far as I’m concerned, we cannot do it alone. Hence, we hope to be able to work together with other parties.”
The party, formed by the nation’s longest-serving former premier, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, will be led by Muhyiddin while Mahathir will be the party’s chairman.
Vice-president is Mukhriz Mahathir while treasurer will be Ainina Saadudin.
Kamarulzaman Habibur Rahman, the chairman of a group of rebel Umno branch chiefs (Gabungan Ketua Cawangan Malaysia, or GKCM), will be the secretary of the new party.
The Bumiputera-only party has received criticism for being a “race-based” party, with several individuals including MCA Religious Harmony Bureau Secretary Chris Daniel Wong condemning the party for “bringing racism back onto the political scene.”
One of the new party’s seven founding committee members, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, however refuted this and slammed MCA instead for being “hypocritical.”
Syed Saddiq said the power structure of the new party was “radically different” from any other party, including Umno.
“This party, despite being a Bumiputera party, will champion all Malaysians when it comes to motions for reforms. This party is a reform-centric Bumiputera party.”
He also said Malaysians could expect some “surprises”. While he could not disclose much, he revealed the new party would not be fully race-based.
The formation of the new party was announced by Mahathir last month. He said the party would work alongside PH in an effort to topple Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Barisan Nasional government in the next general election.
Meanwhile, former Umno minister Zaid Ibrahim, in a series of tweets today, said he would not join the new party, and implied it was similar to Umno.
According to Zaid, Malays were progressive, liberal, intelligent and possessed high morals and confidence. Therefore, there was no need to emulate Umno in reminding the community of the need to protect their rights or to be unified.
“The Malays don’t need Umno. It is Umno which needs the Malays. The same applies for the new party.”
Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said RoS would act professionally and according to existing regulations in looking at Bersatu’s application as a new party.
“I am confident the ROS will carry out its duty without prejudice. The application would be forwarded to a committee for a review for approval by the home minister,” he told Bernama.
He said the application would be reviewed in detail and it would take at least 30 days to be approved.