Eight out of 15 Kedah Bersatu division leaders have signed a statement to pledge support for their embattled chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in the hope of trying to resolve the leadership crisis in the party.
Kedah Bersatu deputy chief Anuar Abdul Hamid said the division leaders have also pledged their unwavering support for ousted Kedah menteri besar Mukhriz Mahathir as state Bersatu chairperson.
“The leadership of Mahathir and Mukhriz is valid at the state and federal level based on Bersatu’s party constitution, and this should not be disputed by any quarters,” Anuar told Malaysiakini.
He said the support and loyalty of the eight division leaders are “genuine”.
“It’s difficult, and it looks like we need to go back to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) or the court to settle our dispute,” he added.
In a statement, the eight leaders expressed regret with certain individuals in the party for going against Mahathir and Mukhriz.
“In their hurry to support party president and Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, these individual were willing to propose a motion to sack Mahathir as party chairperson and Mukhriz as head of Kedah,” the statement said.
“It must be reminded that at the height of the leadership crisis, Mahathir’s resignation had been rejected.”
After meeting with party leaders, the former premier had conceded to the appeals by the party to stay on as chairperson, it said.
“Mahathir should continue to lead Bersatu as chairperson, a post he defended without being challenged during the election of party leaders,” the leaders stressed.
The leaders condemned any move to sack Mahathir or Mukhriz from Bersatu as attempts to do so was “unethical and must be opposed”.
They urged their comrades to return to the original struggle of the party, which is sincerity and trustworthiness, and to respect the wishes of the grassroots, while upholding Bersatu’s constitution.
“We hope the crisis in the party can be resolved by going back to the board, by being upright and steadfast, in line with the party’s motto – trustworthiness (beramanah) and having dignity (bermaruah),” the leaders said.
“Only by rejecting betrayal, and returning to a struggle that has integrity and dignity, can Bersatu be respected and honoured by all Malaysians.”
Other than Anuar, those who signed the statement were division leaders from Kubang Pasu (Amiruddin Hamzah), Alor Setar (Mohamad Nuhairi Rahmat), Kulim-Bandar Bahru (Azimi Daim), Pokok Sena (Muhammad Amri Wahab), Jerlun (A Aziz Mohamud) and Langkawi (Shukor Bahari).
Yesterday, Bersatu Youth also rejected the ROS’ letter affirming Mahathir’s resignation as party chairperson.
The party’s Youth wing said Hamzah Zainudin (above), who issued the letter, is both the home minister and one of the people claiming to be Bersatu’s secretary-general, which clearly creates a “conflict of interest”.
The ROS is under the Home Ministry’s purview, and it had said that Muhyiddin is the acting chairperson until a new one is elected.
In February, Mahathir resigned as chairperson when the party insisted that Bersatu quit Pakatan Harapan to form Perikatan Nasional with Umno and PAS.
But Muhyiddin had convinced him to remain and announced Mahathir would continue in that position.
Muhyiddin then became prime minister in March after Harapan failed to form a majority among MPs, leading to a breakdown in the relations between him and Mahathir.
Bersatu was supposed to hold internal party polls in April but this was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.