According to Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad, Umno ‘s support of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin remaining the prime minister after the 15th general election was premature as seat talks were not settled. The former Johor Baru MP said Umno would have been debating how his complicated network of political partnerships will be going into the election.
Umno is a member of at least three such groups: Barisan Nasional, Muafakat Nasional and the joint governing alliance of Perikatan Nasional. Muhyiddin announced on Wednesday that he has been granted the blessing of the PN components to head their GE15 campaign and continue as the prime minister in case of victory. Shahrir contrasted the decision to nominate Parti Warisan Sabah member Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as Pakatan Harapan’s PM nominee last week to the former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad ‘s shift.
He went on to say what it cost Umno to give the president of Bersatu the popular endorsement. Muhyiddin announced on Wednesday that he has been granted the blessing of the PN components to head their GE15 campaign and continue as the prime minister in case of victory.
He ended his article with the hashtag “Muafakat Nasional ada lagi” where there is always Muafakat Nasional, referring to the Umno-PAS coalition.
In view of this, co-secretary general of Muafakat Nasional, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, said all parties decided to continue endorsing Muhyiddin as a PM nominee as the matter was debated at a meeting of a steering committee two weeks earlier. Another one is that PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the Islamist party was completely behind Muhyiddin to remain as the PM after the election.
A general election is not expected until 2023, but Muhyiddin is said to consider it early to protect his personal mandate to rule and dissipate perceptions that after Dr Mahathir quit, the PN government assumed power undemocratically.
Lastly, one important yet unresolved problem is the similarity that appeals to the same Malay foundation between Umno, PAS yet Bersatu.