PETALING JAYA: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) will not help Pakatan Harapan’s ambition’s to wrest Putrajaya from Barisan Nasional and will instead further fracture the Opposition, says political scientist Andrew Aeria.
Speaking to FMT, Aeria, who is an associate professor at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), said the formation of the Bumiputera-centric Bersatu reinforces the inherent racism of Malaysian politics.
He said the party’s Bumiputera-only membership and associate membership for the non-Bumiputera illustrated the short-sightedness of those who cannot “see beyond their racist noses” and will lead to greater fragmentation of the opposition.
“It just doesn’t jive with the promises of reform of the ‘Save Malaysia’ campaign. How can you save Malaysia if it becomes more fractured with another political party?”
When asked to comment on Bersatu’s leadership, Aeria described it as “lightweight”, adding it would not even be able to put up as good a fight as Semangat 46.
On comparisons between Bersatu and Semangat 46, Aeria said the two parties could not be compared to each other, though Bersatu will likely share the same irrelevance which the latter (Semangat 46) suffered later before a majority of its members rejoined Umno together with its leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
Aeria said Bersatu leaders should have joined one of the three Pakatan Harapan (PH) parties and consolidated the opposition, and this would have demonstrated leadership.
Aeria also cast doubt as to how Bersatu could help PH, which itself was lacking direction at the moment.
“DAP cannot see beyond its self interests, while PKR leaders really need to compromise. There is too much infighting.”
In the context of Bersatu teaming up with PH, Aeria said there was bound to be tussles and arguments over seats.
He added that if seat negotiations went bad, voters or supporters of PH may not even bother going out to vote.
He said now, it was important for PH component parties and the coalition itself, to decide on the coalition’s direction.
“Voters are not stupid. They can see the lack of clarity and direction and this could cost them.”
Yesterday, PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli had said that it would be strange for a Bumiputera-only party to be part of PH, while DAP Youth political education director Chiong Yoke Kong said that it would not work with any political party which subscribed to racist policies, such as Bersatu.