KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian leader Muhyiddin Yassin received a big boost yesterday when his allies Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) said they will name him the prime minister again should they win the next general election.
The move by his key allies in the informal Perikatan Nasional (PN) alliance that governs Malaysia came after months of uncertainty for Tan Sri Muhyiddin and his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
Both Umno and PAS leaders had previously said they were not keen on giving Bersatu any seat allocations for the next national polls, as the three parties tussled for the same Malay-Muslim wards in the 2018 polls.
Some Umno leaders had also called for Bersatu, whose leaders consist of many former Umno chiefs, to be subsumed into Umno.
But Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa told reporters yesterday that his party and PAS have agreed to name Mr Muhyiddin their prime minister’s candidate for the next general election, The Star online news quoted him as saying.
Tan Sri Annuar said Umno and PAS agreed on this following their meeting two weeks ago.
In Malaysia’s confusing politics of shifting alliances, Umno and PAS have a joint political vehicle called Muafakat Nasional (National Consensus) with the former political enemies successfully working the ground in recent by-elections.
“During the meeting, we agreed to name him as the prime minister if we win the general election,” Mr Annuar said, according to The Star.
“The message of support will also be conveyed to our members through our own party channels,” he said at a news conference after attending an event.
The next polls are due in 2023 but there is some expectation that it could be held later this year as PN has a thin majority in Parliament.
On the flip side, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) opposition coalition and its allies have been in disarray in the past two weeks as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tussle to be the next prime minister candidate.
PH won power in the May 2018 general election, only to disintegrate 21 months later when about 40 MPs left the coalition in late February, forcing then Prime Minister Mahathir to resign.
MESSAGE OF SUPPORT
During the meeting, we agreed to name him as the prime minister if we win the general election. The message of support will also be conveyed to our members through our own party channels.
UMNO SECRETARY-GENERAL ANNUAR MUSA, on his party and PAS agreeing on Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as their premier candidate in the next polls.
Malaysia’s Parliament has unusually sat only once since PN came to power four months ago. That was on May 18, when the Lower House was convened for half a day to hear a speech by the Malaysian King, blunting a demand by PH and its allies for a vote to be taken to determine how many MPs supported Mr Muhyiddin in the 222-seat Parliament. A minimum of 112 seats is needed to form the government.
The meeting’s conveners arranged 114 MPs to sit on the PN side, but one lawmaker said later that he should have been on the opposition bench. The three-party PH and its allies then had 108 MPs on their side.
Claims and whispers of defections to PN or PH have since been flying around. The looming two-week Parliament sitting, from July 13, is set to finally unveil how much support each side actually has.