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LETTER | Bukit Gantang MP Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal has claimed that Bersatu members are “demoralised” over their president Muhyiddin Yassin’s “U-turn” on his decision to not contest in the next party polls and the party’s refusal to negotiate with the government for equal constituency funding.

It is undeniable that the morale of Bersatu members would be affected following the switch of allegiance by a number of MPs and Syed Abu’s recent claim that about 10 more Bersatu MPs will switch allegiance soon.

However, it is incorrect to say Muhyiddin’s U-turn and Bersatu’s refusal to negotiate caused demoralisation.

Muhyiddin’s announcement to not contest in the coming party polls was clearly to test the waters amid various speculations of an internal split in Bersatu.

At the time, observers were saying that there was infighting between Muhyiddin and Bersatu’s secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin, who seemed to have an advantage.

After Muhyiddin’s shocking announcement, many party leaders, including Hamzah, and grassroots members had shown their support towards Muhyiddin.

Sincere or not, this showed Muhyiddin still enjoys the support of the majority of Bersatu members. It also effectively brushed off the speculation that Hamzah’s camp was trying to take out Muhyiddin’s camp.

Knowing this, Muhyiddin made a U-turn the next day. He was attempting to show the public that he still had the support needed to continue his presidential term and to protect the party from being labelled as unstable.

On the other hand, Bersatu’s refusal to negotiate with the government for equal constituency funding would not have a severe impact on the members’ morale.

When the government refuses to distribute equal funds to the opposition’s constituencies, it is trying to hold the development opportunities and plans for those constituencies in its hands, so that the voters there would switch to it in the next election.

Therefore, the grassroots members would not feel that much impact as the government would still develop those constituencies, though it may be lesser compared to the government’s constituencies, just not through the opposition’s funds.

Besides, Syed Abu, along with five other Bersatu MPs who switched allegiance for more constituency funding, are agreeing with the ill practice of needing to negotiate for equal constituency allocation when it is a legitimate right that must be upheld by the government.

By not providing equal allocation, the government is indirectly punishing voters in the constituencies for voting against it. As opposition MPs, Syed Abu and his gang should have firmly opposed the need for negotiation in Parliament instead of giving in.

Moreover, when the government said negotiation, what is there to be negotiated?

When opposition MPs come forward to negotiate, the public would perceive it as the government bribing the opposition MPs for their support to strengthen its majority.

If there is indeed demoralisation happening in Bersatu, it would have been caused by the switch of allegiance of some MPs but not Muhyiddin’s U-turn and the party’s refusal to negotiate with the government.

Bersatu should ramp up efforts in fighting for a Political Financing Act to prevent its MPs from being bought over and for its constituencies to have equal allocation.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.