AT THE END OF THE DAY, THEY ALL WANT ‘RETURNS’: CUT FROM THE SAME UMNO CLOTH, BERSATU LEADERS FEAR NEWLY-JOINED UMNO MEMBERS USING THEIR NOTORIOUS WEALTH TO WIN POSTS AT PARTY ELECTIONS

BERSATU leaders and members have begun formulating strategies for the party elections in June to try and rein in the influence of former Umno members who joined the party after the 14th general election.

Their concerns stem from the fear that the former Umno leaders and members will try to control the party and change its struggles.

Gopeng Youth wing chief Megat Muhamad Asri Megat Zambri said several party division chiefs are intent on retaining their positions in the party as they have yet to receive their “returns” from serving the party.

“There are division chiefs who struggled (before GE14) and want their returns. At the division levels, I see strategies formed to retain their positions, but not in my division… others,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

“The original fighters are distressed because they don’t have the funds.

“How can you buy the affections of the members, when the new members are capable of pumping cash out to others? Of course, they will be in power.

“This is what is the division chiefs and members are worried about,” he said, adding that Bersatu’s youth wing, also known as Armada, are more concerned that the entry of these “influences” will corrupt the party.

Pahang Armada chief Muhammad Iqmal Nizam Mohd Taufek said the party is considering enforcing a rule that only those who were members before April 2018 can vote in the coming polls.

“If members who have just joined Bersatu are allowed to vote, we are worried that it will be like PKR.  

“These Umno people have money, they are capable of controlling the members. What will happen to the original members?”

Following the recently concluded annual general assembly, several division chiefs are targeting Armada chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman after he criticised several delegates who brought up the issue of the awarding of contracts and positions.

Bersatu Armada (Youth) chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has hit out at calls to channel government projects to grassroots leaders at the party's recent AGM. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, January 11, 2019.
Bersatu Armada (Youth) chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has hit out at calls to channel government projects to grassroots leaders at the party’s recent AGM. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, January 11, 2019.

Syed Saddiq’s stand stood in contrast to vice-president Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman’s speech which justified the awarding of contracts as a means of keeping grassroots leaders and members happy and thus to secure victory in elections.

A source, who is also a Bersatu division chief, said Rashid’s speech was timely and related to the coming party elections.

Division heads who do not get any funding from the party cannot organise programmes and will lose the interest and passion of members, he said.

Another party source said party leaders have already identified several individuals, including former Umno members, earmarked to lead some divisions.

“If the leaders bring in former Umno people who have the money, we are dead in a fight. In the end, Bersatu will just be a reincarnation of Umno.

“We are not afraid of losing our positions, but let it be a fair competition. Not a list put up by the top leadership,” he said.

Another source said while Bersatu leaders gave their assurance that former Umno leaders and members joining the party cannot hold positions until the next general election, the policy appears to apply only to well-known leaders.

“This involves only the well-known and top people, like the Umno members of parliament and top leadership.

“The normal members are not counted as they are not well known. This policy, I am confident, does not cover all of those grassroots positions,” he said. 

-THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT

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