JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Three newly appointed Barisan assemblymen have agreed to join Pakatan Harapan coalition member Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) with immediate effect.
They are Sedili's Rasman Ithnain, Johor Lama's Rosleli Jahari and Endau's Alwiyah Talib. All three represented Umno in GE14.
Rasman led them in a press conference that was held at a hotel here on Saturday (May 12) morning.
"We decided to join PPBM for the unity of the people. Looking at the outcome of the recently concluded GE14, it is obvious that people want a change and we also want to abide to that demand.
"As elected representatives, we believe we can best serve and bring development to our constituents by joining Pakatan Harapan," he said in the presence of about 20 supporters.
He said they made the decision without any pressure or threats from anyone and was by their own choosing.
This results in Pakatan increasing its number of state seats to 39 and Barisan dropping to 16. PAS has a single seat in the assembly.
Rasman said he expects all their division and branch members to also follow suit in joining PPBM.
"We decided to join PPBM because this party has many former Umno members and we know quite a number of them personally," adding that the trio made decision on Friday after not leaving their houses for two days in processing the outcome of GE14.
Rasman declined to comment when asked if their move was because they had lost confidence in Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak or Johor Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
Shortly afterwards, PPBM secretary Datuk Osman Sapian said they accepted the trio's application to join the party pending a vetting process.
"Switching sides is a normal thing in politics, but we will make sure that their application to join Pakatan will not (negatively) affect us," he said.
He added that he has yet to receive any other interest from other Barisan assemblyman who may be interested in joining Johor PH but welcomed them to join if wish to do so.
"It will further strengthen in Johor's administration," he said.