MALAYSIA’s political scene got a little more crowded today with the provisional approval of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), a new opposition party formed among renegades of the United Malays National Organization or Umno, the ruling party headed by embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Najib’s deputy in the government, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, made the announcement today, Malay Mail Online reported.
The report quoted Ahmad Zahid as explaining, however, that the Registrar of Societies (RoS) granted the approval pending clarifications from PPBM’s leadership.
The leader reportedly said the party can only use the abbreviation PPBM but not “Bersatu” as this was not contained in the application.
“Pursuant to my announcement, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia has been approved today with no amendments and they have registered the acronym as PPBM.
“That’s their application and that’s what was approved by RoS. Not Parti Bersatu, but PPBM. That was their application and they can’t use any other name because that was their own submission. It wasn’t an RoS order, but that’s what they applied (for),” he was quoted as saying.
RoS director-general Mohammad Razin Abdullah explained that the party had initially asked to use “Bersatu” as its acronym but agreed to amend its request after it was pointed out that other parties already use that name.
Asked what clarifications were being sought before a full approval is granted, Ahmad Zahid said the party’s leaders would need to clarify the roles of its president and chairman.
PPBM’s chairman is former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Najib’s fiercest critic, while its president is Muhyiddin Yassin. Mahathir’s son Mukhriz Mahathir, another former Umno strongman, is the party’s vice-president.
Both Muhyiddin and Mukhriz were formally sacked from Umno in June this year after the party found them guilty of breaching party regulations by cosying up to the opposition.
Mahathir, on the other hand, quit Umno in February after claiming that the party had strayed from its original objectives. It was his second time calling it quits with the party; he first quit in May 2008, citing disillusionment with the leadership of Najib’s predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi but rejoined in 2009 when Najib was made prime minister.
Mahathir, Muhyiddin and Mukhriz are now key leaders of an opposition-backed campaign in the country seeking to unseat Najib over his alleged involvement in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.