KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — Parti Bangsa Malaysia's (PBM) newest high-profile recruit Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin is just an ordinary member, deputy president Haniza Mohamed Talha has clarified.
Despite the party's warm welcome for the plantation industries and commodities minister following her announcement yesterday, Haniza indicated to Utusan Malaysia that Zuraida will not be taking leadership of PBM so soon.
'Zuraida is a new member and her position will be discussed with PBM’s political bureau. We’ll wait for the secretary-general to call for the meeting,' the Malay newspaper quoted Haniza saying in a report published today.
Haniza was responding to rumours that Zuraida would be replacing Julau MP Larry Sng as president.
Haniza described Zuraida as a charismatic leader with qualities able to change the political landscape of PBM, adding that her announcement to join PBM came as a surprise.
'For her to choose PBM, which has around 100,000 members, was a positive move. If you ask if we’re able to compete at the next general elections I feel that isn’t a good measuring stick.
'If we look at previous general elections, most of the people who’ve been in politics for decades aren’t the people's choice anymore. It’s a more level playing field,' Lembah Jaya assemblyman Haniza told Utusan Malaysia.
Ampang MP Zuraida was a Bersatu supreme council member prior to announcing her entry into PBM yesterday, though rumours of her connection with the it had been circulating since last year.
Before that, Zuraida had been a long-time member of PKR and was also its vice-president before joining several other Pakatan Harapan lawmakers in the 'Sheraton Move' that saw Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin form the Perikatan Nasional coalition with Islamist party PAS to wrest federal power.
After Muhyiddin stepped down as PM, Zuraida was again made a member of the Cabinet under the current leadership of Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob from Umno.
Zuraida expressed her intent to relinquish her Cabinet post in the same statement declaring that she was joining PBM yesterday, but said she would speak to Ismail Sabri about it first.