Parti Pribuma Bersatu Malaysia–Mahathir’s New Party to take Najib’s UMNO

August 1o, 2016

Parti Pribuma Bersatu Malaysia-Mahathir’s New Party to take Najib’s UMNO

by John Berthelsen

At best, it is going to be an Uphill Battle, says analyst John Berthelsen

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Logo

How much chance the rebel political party being established in Malaysia and backed by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has of besting the deeply corrupt Barisan Nasional is open to question. But it is emblematic of the desperation by  his opponents to break the power of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Muhyiddin Yassin, fired by Najib as Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy President after Muhyiddin questioned the source of hundreds of millions of dollars steered into Najib’s personal bank account, on August 4 announced the formation of the new party, which so far hasn’t been named, and said he would attempt to register it tomorrow with Malaysia’s Registrar of Societies.

While some observers expressed doubts that the government would allow it to come into existence, statements by some officials seemed to indicate that the party would be given permission. It’s uncertain how potent a force it might be. In May, Mahathir announced he had collected 1.07 million signatures on a “Citizens’ Declaration” calling for Najib’s removal. Whether those would translate into an ethnic Malay party to rival UMNO is questionable.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will lead the new party

Adding to the pressure, Maria Chin Abdullah, the head of the electoral reform movement Bersih (clean) said that at some point the organization would hold its fifth mass rally to protest issues produced by the massive 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal, arguably the biggest in Malaysian history, involving the theft of as much as US$4 billion, according to authorities in the United States and Switzerland.  Despite drawing as many as 100,o00 people, the previous rallies have had little effect on the government, if any.

Theoretically the new party couldn’t come into existence at a better time. On July 20, US Justice Attorney-General Loretta Lynch delivered a devastating 136-page report alleging money laundering and the fraudulent purchase of US assets by Najib’s step son Riza Aziz and his associate Jho Taek Low, the Penang-born financier who led Najib into the morass of the scandal-plagued 1Malaysia Development Bhd. The complaint named Malaysian “Public Official 1” 34 times in the report, including having received US$681 million in funds stolen from the flailing state-backed development fund.

As has been widely reported, at least seven countries are investigating allegations of money laundering and criminality, both on the part of 1MDB and Najib and his family. But Najib has proven a tenacious target, in effect telling foreign countries to butt out of his business.

Attending a forum on Islamic finance in Indonesia this week, he said “I have always been a proponent of openness to the world and collaboration, but we must insist on respect for our own sovereignty, our own laws, and our own democratically elected governments.”

Well prior to the current situation, he has threatened opposition members with sedition charges. Amnesty International has criticized the government for threatening hundreds of people, including journalists and public figures. The new anti-terrorism act that went into effect on August,1 adds another dimension to the government’s ability to crack down. Whether it is true or not, there are rumors in Kuala Lumpur that he is preparing an “Erdogan list,” named for the Turkish Prime Minister who, having survived a coup in July, has jailed hundreds of political opponents.

Najib and his UMNO lieutenants have resisted all attempts at forcing them out and in fact threatening to charge three top public officials for allegedly having spoken to the FBI.  The opposition is fragmented and cowed by threats of sedition and anti-terrorism charges.

The new party,Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia said a Kuala Lumpur-based analyst, “will only seek to split Malay votes five ways – UMNO, Parti Islam se-Malaysia, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Amanah (formed when the Islamist PAS split last year) and Tun Mahathir’s party.”

Although he expressed doubts that Najib would allow the party to be registered with the Registrar of Societies, ‘’if I were Najib, I would let it go ahead,” he said, “because it would split the votes of Malays who are fed up with Najib and UMNO but won’t vote for PKR or PAS.” (The party was registered on August 9, 2016.)

Along with that, the idea of Mahathir as a reformer seeking to head a crusading opposition is galling to many, who say the corrupt system, built on rent-seeking and corrupt companies living off government contracts, was put in place by Mahathir during his 22 years as Prime Minister.

As Prime Minister, he also jailed many of those now in the opposition including Lim Kit Siang and his son, Lim Guan Eng of the Democratic Action Party, during the infamous Operation Lalang in 1987, putting them in prison for months under the country’s infamous Internal Security Act.

“The DAP is not willing to accept a new party headed by Dr M,” a source said. They would prefer that Mahathir’s people are absorbed into Amanah or PKR – which won’t happen.” Nor is Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, the wife of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who Mahathir had jailed on trumped-up charges of sexual perversion, likely to countenance coming under Mahathir’s leadership.  Anwar, moldering in prison after Najib engineered his second conviction on sexual perversion charges, in May said he wanted nothing to do with Mahathir’s efforts.

“Still, anything is possible,” he said. Others say they are willing to give the 91-year-old Mahathir the benefit of the doubt. In any case, they say, they have little choice.  The rest of the opposition is fighting among themselves and Mahathir remains a towering if flawed figure.

“It’s true that Mahathir allowed all those things to happen during his watch,” said Din Merican, an indefatigable critic who is now teaching political science at a Cambodian university, on his Facebook page. “However, he has been off the stage for well over a decade. Surely Malaysians could rise above and rectify his mistakes. Besides, he is trying very hard to undo his errors. Help him to succeed, and once that is achieved you could then engage in a post-mortem and assign blame.”

According to local press reports, among the leaders of the new party, besides Mahathir and Muhyiddin are Mukhriz Mahathir, Mahathir’s son, the former Kedah chief minister who was ousted after questioning Najib’s activities, and leaders of several ethnic Malay student groups.  Mahathir said the party would align itself with Pakatan Harapan, the opposition coalition made up of the DAP, Amanah and Anwar’s PKR.

11 thoughts on “Parti Pribuma Bersatu Malaysia–Mahathir’s New Party to take Najib’s UMNO

  1. Quote:- “Mahathir said the party would align itself with Pakatan Harapan, the opposition coalition made up of the DAP, Amanah and Anwar’s PKR”


    To form a government you must win enough seats in parliament. BN is a coalition and so the division of seats can be settled internally with UMNO as the senior partner.

    An “alignment” of political parties such as Pakatan Rakyat worked in GE13 because of the Anwar factor, (inspite of alleged electoral cheating), as the allocation of seats was settled amicably and people could see an effective PM in Anwar.

    Now will the Mahathir factor be just as effective if not more so in the allocation seats? If this crucial issue is handled well by Mahathir with sensible cooperation from the other Harapan partners, and thus peace within Pakatan Harapan, then GE 14 will see the end of a BN government because people already know that with Mahathir around an effective alternative government could be formed and also some sensible ministers coming from PKR, DAP, Amanah & Bersatu.

    This is all the country has at the moment so lets ride with it, if, a big if, they can agree who will be PM, (though we can have more than one DPM as in Singapore), and surely PKR will clamor for a royal pardon for Anwar who, after getting out of jail, will not sit at home and do some gardening.

    Will Mahathir and Anwar shake hands for the country’s sake?

    If they do and the country is once again peaceful and prosperous, then they will truly go down in history as true patriots.

    Let’s put it this way…. Mahathir knows he has not much longer to go, and Anwar has to let go sooner than he want for his time may have unkindly passed him by.

    If Mukhriz becomes PM in a few years time, so be it. He is no worse than Muyhiddin, and certainly better than Zahid.

    Many Singaporeans were unhappy with LKY for pushing his son as PM, but as it turned out is Singapore any worse?

    I would suggest that the Manifesto of Pakatan Harapan include:-

    … do away with the NSC and Sedition Acts,

    … tighten the appointments and dismissals of the IGP, AG and Judges,

    … take MACC away from reporting to the PM only,

    … Petronas to report to Parliament as well,

    … no PM can serve for more than 10 years.

    If these issues are not addressed, then Mahathir’s 22 years premiership and 1MDB has taught us nothing at all.

  2. This is still a Malay race and religion based party championing Malays’ rights and religion, maybe led to more troubles as absolute power corrupted absolutely!

  3. Although Mahathir was ..” off the stage for well over a decade”, he was always at the back of the main stage,where he had directed the show, where Badawi was ousted, now trying to ouster Najib, as trying to pave the way for his son Mukhriz to become PM and preserve his and cronies personal and financial interests.

    That is not the way to save Malaysia.

    Till this day he had never admitted his mistakes. The largest and most damaging is the disenablying of the country system of delivery where the Judiciary was crippled, cutting off quality leaderships and entrenching the culture of MACCP in Umno Baru, now permeating the society and institutions.

    The other big question is ,who is going to be the PM if the Najib got ousted ?
    Who and what can the people really trust ?

  4. Kllau,
    There is nothing wrong with your reasoning. However, likewise, this is what has been said about Anwar Ibrahim by RPK’s sidekick, Mr ktemoc from australia. I do wonder with One Nation having 4 racist senators in Australia Senate, perhaps, it’s time to make him jump by telling Pauline Hanson of his existence in Australia

  5. /// Wayne August 11, 2016 at 12:12 pm
    Many Singaporeans were unhappy with LKY for pushing his son as PM, but as it turned out is Singapore any worse? ///

    The correct question to ask is – are any of Mahathir’s sons (or daughters for that matter) of the same calibre as Lee Hsien Loong? Is Anwar, Moohydin, et al comparable to LHL’s intellect, integrity or competence?

  6. I really don’t understand where all this cussing, yodeling and angst about Octo’s UMNOc ver 3.0 being indigenous-centric from you yokels is coming from.

    Although i am a firm believer in desegregation, inclusiveness and integration, i hold democracy as the ideal expression of political reality, expediency and utility.

    All those effing brainiacs/intellectuals who are peudo-egalitarian and so-called equal opportunity proponents, probably have being sniffing too much glue or palat..

    Therefore, i don’t give a paramecium’s shit whether Bersatu is Malay-Iban-Bidayuh-Kadazan-Dusun-Orand Asal etc centered. What’s the point of a ‘multiethnic’ party that plagiarizes, copies wholesale and therefore competes with those Oppo blockheads instead of taking on MO1’s personal fief that is, UMNOb? Destroy UMNOb is the operative word here..

    I do not have any illusions of Bersatu-MMM’s chances in doing that in the rural heartland where UMNOb is almost invincible, given it’s corrupt machinery and gross gerrymandering. In the Peninsular, it just adds a dimension of interest among the kampung deadbeats – who now have patriarchal racist UMNOb, raghead hokier-than-thou PAS and now, a disgruntled Bersatu-MMM.

    Semangat is not all it has, ya? There’s also Octo and Diam2 Daim’s secreted stash don’t you think? Cash – a lil bit here and there and the village inbreds become ubermensch again..

    Anyway, to be ‘appointed’ as an associate office-bearer is the pits of Carma Chameleon and no decent Non will be caught dead in the Sons’ clutches.

    And that’s, that.

  7. @wayne: well said. May what you have suggested comes true,

    If PPBM were willing to be on the same page with Tunku on this:

    The Reid Commission reported that Tunku Abdul Rahman and the Malay Rulers had asked that “in an independent Malaya all nationals should be accorded equal rights, privileges and opportunities and there must not be discrimination on grounds of race and creed.”

    Else, Layu-layu Bersatu Melayu, no matter what temporary order would come about.

    There is a systemic flaw in the “AliBaba” construct. No right minded non-Malay would want to be a “Baba”, and no “Ali” would want to work hard since there is always an easier way.

    Like what @Shonen says, the real ‘AliBaba’ competition from China is already at the nation’s doorstep. There is no room to ‘main-main’ api now for the real ‘Melayu’ now.

  8. Actually, I know I would be a PKR member if the term limit is there.
    DSAI .. what do you say? Can you match this term limit ruling in PKR?

    Can you explain the term limits?
    Each term consists of three years. All important party positions can only be held for a maximum of two terms. The only exception to this is the position of Chairman and President, which has a maximum of three terms.

  9. I am for a Harapan, but a better one. Just laying out the cards here. :

    Tun M has decided. He would prefer his pick becomes the next PM. Everything would be the same as UMNOb, except for the term limit. Existing ‘AliBaba’ business-as-usual model stays as usual.

    Given existing term limit, we would see at least 5 years of Tun Muhiyiddin as PM, and 10 years of Mukhriz, before we get to see a reform minded Syed Saddiq youth gets a chance. There is a chance Syed Saddiq would not rise up to be the reform minded PM as he seems to suggest with his current youthful charm.

    Parti Keadilan seemingly would not stand a chance, until DSAI is released. DSAI would not be released unless we have Muhiyiddin as PM. Putting our hopes on today’s Parti Keadilan is pointless. Unless, the Lim dynasty would decide to loosen their kungu grip on DAP, waiting for the emergence of the next PM from DAP is pointless.

    So, it seems that we may get a maybe reform minded PM in 15 years, if Bersatu doesn’t get corrupted like UMNOB, by then.

    Or perhaps, some of us, the more reform minded, who wanted genuine reformation could wait 15 years, and bet that Pakatan Harapan is less patient than the average Joe reform minded people like us.

    We can choose to vote UMNO/MCA/MIC/PAS for the next 15 years until Pakatan Harapan gets to choose a genuine reform minded leadership, and learn to practice what they preach about transparency on term limit, and setting up fair internal party voting mechanism.

    What else is there for us to loose, as we have kept our hands off from the cookie jar. We, average Joe pendatang has nothing to gain in any case, since we will have no say in either scenario.

    If there is nothing else that I miss, I think I would bet on the later for the best of Malaysia, and Melayu. There are too many ‘ifs’ in the first Bersatu choice. There are too many impatient reform minded people in today’s Harapan who would prefer to ‘ubah’. Melayu could layu today, but may not be as layu in the next 10 years.

    I would not want to bet Tun M to be around in another 15 years to make sure Syed Saddiq gets his say, even if Saddiq gets to keep his youthful charm in the next 15 years. I see little chance for Bersatu’s internal structure for it not to become as corrupted as today’s UMNOb. Tomorrow’s UMNOb could become today’s Bersatu.

    Forget about the next Bersih, the next GE. Sit it out and let kleptocracy rule till the real responsible Melayu stand up. This is the most loving and pragmatic thing to do for this nation. Let the real Melayu clean up their own house.

    For the nons, why should we care, when none of the pick is @BraveNewWorld. For now, be kiasu, and don’t miss the chance to pick up whatever is left from a sinking boat. Do our hedge with both parties.

    It takes decades for yesterday’s Zimbabwe to become today’s Zimbabwe.
    When things don’t turn out well, do our hedge with Emperor Xi, like our 1PM.
    Singapore and America should still be there, as long as we have the cash.

    All else fails, we should stay optimistic.

    “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” – MLK Jr.

    Just be patient, and pressure for change by rejecting today’s phony change boldly.

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