Santhara still in Bersatu, only resigning as associate member’s wing head, says deputy

JOHOR BARU: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s top leadership should engage with Datuk Seri Dr Edmund Santhara Kumar as he only indicated his intention to resign as the head of its associate member’s wing and not outright leave the party, says a Bersatu leader.

The Segamat MP’s deputy in the associate wing, Dr Chong Fat Full, said that he had spoken to Dr Santhara on Friday (July 22) who had informed him about his decision to quit as the wing’s head.

“I was surprised as he had sent in the letter on Wednesday (July 20). He also told me he preferred to stay on as an ordinary Bersatu member,” he said when contacted.

Asked if there were other issues discussed, Dr Chong was coy, saying that it was a personal discussion between the two of them.

On whether he would be taking over Dr Santhara’s duties, he said he would leave it to the party leadership to decide on it.

“I hope the party leadership will engage with Dr Santhara to find out why he decided to quit his party position,” said Dr Chong, adding that he hoped that Dr Santhara would reconsider his decision to quit his position as the wing’s head.

Asked if Dr Santhara would eventually quit the party as well, he replied, “that one you have to ask him. At the moment he said he will continue to be an ordinary member.”

Dr Chong declined to elaborate further on this issue.

Talk is rife that Dr Santhara had resigned not just as the head of Bersatu’s associate member’s wing but also from Bersatu.

Dr Santhara was the first non-bumiputra MP to join Bersatu in August 2020.

The former PKR man, who is also the deputy tourism, arts and culture minister, was made the head of Bersatu’s associate wing in September 2021.

Earlier today, Bernama quoted Bersatu secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin as saying that any decision taken by Dr Santhara to quit Bersatu would not weaken the party.

Hamzah said this was because the future of the party is determined by its membership as a whole and not merely a single member of Parliament.

“The struggles brought by a party member are more important. Members of Parliament sometimes are only interested in individual interests while it is the members who determine the party’s struggles and ideology and all that is done is for the future of religion, race and country.

“So it (resignations) is something that will not weaken the party only because of the attitude of individuals who probably only struggle for themselves,” he said after attending a townhall session organised by the Home Ministry in Larut.

Hamzah, who is Larut MP, said Dr Santhara’s status as deputy minister would be announced later, while also declining to comment on whether the party leadership had received the resignation letter as reported.

Hamzah also said Perikatan Nasional would hold a meeting in the near future regarding the selection of a new logo to be used in the 15th General Election (GE15).

“We have engaged several companies to create designs for us to discuss and reach a final decision in the upcoming meeting,” he said.

On July 11, Perikatan chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was reported to have said that a new logo would be introduced for use in GE15 following a proposal for changes to be done to its existing logo.