Co-Founder Akhramsyah: Bersatu Faces Identity Crisis as It Has Strayed from Path

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Bersatu has strayed from its struggle and is now facing an “existential crisis”, said party co-founder Akhramsyah Muamar Ubaidah Sanusi.

The Bersatu supreme council member said the party was formed to fight corruption but now has members who are only interested in enriching themselves.

“Bersatu is facing an existential crisis. Part of the problem now is that the leaders in particular have adopted the ‘apa aku dapat’ (what will I get) policy,” Akhramsyah told The Malaysian Insight.

The 47-year-old said some members have succumbed to “unsavoury” practices, including writing letters of support for positions and contracts which the party had opposed.

Akhramsyah said this will dissuade people of quality from joining the party, especially its youth division, whose membership has stagnated since end-2018 compared to when it was established in 2016.

“Now this has become worse because a deputy minister has been accused of sending letters to the prime minister asking for positions.

“If this is the type of youth we want to attract, we will lose to Umno. Umno is long known for such practices as writing this kind of letters and has a track record for attracting this kind of young people,” he said.

He was referring to a viral video of Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal announcing he could write to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to grant getting Bersatu youth members jobs and positions.

Akhramsyah said the party abandoned its fundamental principles when it decided to work with Umno, which Bersatu had denounced as a “kleptocratic party” before the 2018 general election.

“We have sacrificed principles for power. The upshot of that is that we now rely on kleptocrats to remain in government. This trade-off is not sustainable.”

The son of former minister Sanusi Junid, Akhramsyah said the Perikatan Nasional partners have no respect for Bersatu, which has in turn caused the party members to lose faith in the party leadership led by Muhyiddin Yassin.

Duty to truth

Akhramsyah said he is not afraid of being sacked from the party for speaking out as it is his duty to tell the truth to the members.

“As the leader and one of the founders of the party, it is incumbent upon me to explain the truth to the members. The truth about the formation of the party and the truth about where the party is now.

“The party’s ideals have not changed but current practices are not aligned to the ideals. There needs to be a correction,” he said.

Akhramsyah is seeking re-election to the Bersatu supreme council in the ongoing party polls and is touring the country to talk to the party members about the party’s original struggle.

Akhramsyah said he is not worried about being disciplined for his being truthful.

“If the party chooses to sack me for this, then clearly this is not the party I helped to set up.”

Bersatu is deeply divided following a split between founding chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad and president Muhyiddin over the party’s political alignment. Dr Mahathir had wished to remain in Pakatan Harapan but Muhyiddin had succeeded in pulling Bersatu out of the coalition.

Muhyiddin joined forces with Barisan Nasional, PAS and GPS, seizing power from Pakatan Harapan to form the federal government.

Following a bitter struggle over control of Bersatu, Dr Mahathir’s faction found themselves sacked for supporting what had become the opposition.

With his legal challenge to his dismissal failing too, Dr Mahathir has formed a new Malay party called Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang).

Several Bersatu leaders have since defected to join Pejuang.

Akhramsyah himself was spotted at the Pejuang event to announce its Slim by-election candidate earlier this week.

“I was at an event supportive of Dr Mahathir, who is still the chairman (of Bersatu). In fact, I’m appalled that more Bersatu leaders were not there,” he said. – TMI