Analysts say Zuraida Kamaruddin’s decision to leave Bersatu for Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) will likely affect her own political career more than it will the performance of Perikatan Nasional (PN) as a whole.
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, they said PBM was a new party with far less in terms of grassroots support than either of her former parties, Bersatu or PKR.
They also said that the Ampang MP might have to depend on her own ability if she intended to contest the 15th general election.
Mujibu Abd Muis of Universiti Teknologi Mara said Zuraida’s move carried great personal risk, going as far as to describe it as “political hara-kiri”.
“It’s more of a political suicide for her as she has switched parties twice now, from PKR to Bersatu and from Bersatu to PBM,” he said.
“As an experienced politician, she must understand that this is a dangerous move, what more if she intends to contest in Ampang, which is a PKR stronghold, under a party with no election machinery.”
Mujibu said Zuraida would have had a better chance of competing if she had remained with PN following its performance at the Melaka and Johor state elections.
“PN came in second in terms of total votes, behind BN but ahead of Pakatan Harapan,” he said.
“It would have been better for her to stick with PN. If an election is called, chances are that she will have to contest based on her personality instead of her capacity as a PBM member.”
Zuraida announced her departure from Bersatu on Thursday along with her intention to join PBM instead.
She also said she would discuss her resignation as plantation industries and commodities minister with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob as soon as possible.
PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin is expected to nominate a candidate to replace her in the Cabinet.
Analyst James Chin said Ismail was unlikely to object to whoever is put forth, in the interest of maintaining the status quo in his support.
Chin, of the University of Tasmania in Australia, said Ismail would do his best to avoid conflict.
“He will try to avoid divisions,” he said. “He needs Bersatu’s support to maintain his political position.
“It’s highly unlikely that he will appoint a candidate who is not from Bersatu. He will probably follow whatever Muhyiddin and Bersatu suggest.”