SOME 500 people, including former Umno members, turned up at the launch of Bersatu’s Setiawangsa division at the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council hall tonight in a spirited show of support.
Among the crowd were retired government officers and former Umno supporters who have turned away from the ruling Malay party following the recent goings-on in the country.
Abdul Razak Abdullah, 54, and Rosiatimah Abu Hassan, 53, who are husband and wife, left Umno after realising that it had strayed from its purpose.
Earlier tonight, both of them registered as Bersatu members, saying they chose to do so because of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“I was with Umno and shortly with PAS. But even PAS is no longer what it used to be,” said Razak.
“So, I am all for Bersatu now. It is the only party I can see myself supporting. Dr Mahathir’s presence strengthens my belief in the opposition. ”
Rosiatimah expressed the same view, adding that she was in Umno then only because of the former prime minister.
“With Bersatu, it is also because of him. He is the only person I trust.”
It will be a tough task to win Setiawangsa, a known Umno stronghold.
But, said businessman Kamarul Athar, the battle was bigger than Setiawangsa.
“This is Umno’s safe seat. There is an army camp here. So, the votes from the camp can help Umno retain the seat. But, we will not let them have it easy. ”
The 67-year-old, who has lived in the area for as long as he can remember, had been a long-time Umno supporter.
However, he stopped backing the party after the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal came to light, as well as the events that led to the sacking of Muhyiddin Yassin as deputy prime minister and Mohd Shafie Apdal as cabinet minister, and Mukhriz Mahathir’s resignation as Kedah menteri besar.
“Enough is enough. I am confident that we can make changes. I truly believe in Bersatu’s fight.”
Bersatu supporters seen at the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council hall tonight. They have expressed their trust in the party, and hope to wrest the Setiawangsa seat from Barisan Nasional. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, January 14, 2018.
He said Dr Mahathir was not the main reason behind his decision to support Bersatu, but the 92-year-old chairman instilled confidence in the Umno breakaway party.
“I do not support blindly. Dr Mahathir cannot do whatever he please now. At his age, he is only there for a short while. I believe that he wants Anwar Ibrahim to be the next prime minister.”
The Setiawangsa seat was created in 2003, and Barisan Nasional has won and retained it in the last three general elections.
In 2013, BN candidate Ahmad Fauzi Zahari beat PKR’s Ibrahim Yaacob with a 1,390-vote majority.