MISSION DESPERATION – TO FORM NEW PARTY OR SACK MAHATHIR? AZMIN, WHOSE OWN MEMBERSHIP IN BERSATU UNDER QUESTION, TO PUSH FOR DR M & MUKHRIZ’S SACKING – EVEN AS RUMORS SURROUND MUHYIDDIN’S HEALTH: IF MUKHRIZ WINS THE BERSATU PRESIDENCY OR IF MUHYIDDIN SUCCUMBS TO HIS ILLNESS – WHO WILL BECOME THE NEXT PM?

BERSATU will break up if Muhyiddin Yassin fails to wrest control of the four-year-old party from Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said analysts.

The likely situation is the sacking of Dr Mahathir and his supporters but Muhyiddin might also form a new party with his men, they told The Malaysian Insight.

Muhyiddin’s faction, which includes 32 members of parliament, recently called for a supreme council meeting, reportedly to discuss Dr Mahathir’s sacking from the party.

The meeting, however, was cancelled at the 11th hour after it was discovered that if called, it would be against the party constitution.

Dr Mahathir, who has the support of four MPs, meanwhile, has sought the party’s disciplinary board to expedite hearing against Muhyiddin for allegedly abusing his power.

Muhyiddin also faces a challenge from Mukhriz for the president’s post.

“Bersatu will split. What’s left is whether Muhyiddin will take control of Bersatu or form a new party with Mohamed Azmin Ali,”  said Ilham Centre executive director Mohd Azlan Zainal.

Muhyiddin, however, has an advantage as he is also the prime minister, said Azlan.

“We have already seen Mukhriz’s government in Kedah toppled. As such, it’s not hard to expect them to try and sack Dr Mahathir and Mukhriz before the elections,” said the pollster.

Muhyiddin is already using the Registrar of Societies to question Dr Mahathir’s chairman post.

Mohamed Azmin Ali has many non-Malay assemblymen and supporters who can’t join Bersatu even if Muhyiddin Yassin gains control of the party. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, May 23, 2020.
Mohamed Azmin Ali has many non-Malay assemblymen and supporters who can’t join Bersatu even if Muhyiddin Yassin gains control of the party. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, May 23, 2020.

Azlan, however, said there’s a strong possibility of Muhyiddin starting a new party with PKR defector Azmin and a group led by Hishammuddin Hussein from Umno if he cannot take full control of Bersatu.

“Umno is aware of how unstable Perikatan Nasional is and has decided to be vague about the new coalition’s future.

“Azmin also knows that he is not getting anywhere in Bersatu. Plus, he has a group of non-Malay assemblymen and supporters, for whom he has nowhere to place them.

“This is where the suggestion of forming a new party based on Muhyiddin’s faction of Bersatu, Azmin’s supporters and the Hishammuddin camp is coming from.

“This will also help Muhyiddin rationalise that his government is against corruption and will fight kleptocracy so that he can still find support in the next general election.

“Forming a new party will also pose an important question to Pakatan Harapan and PKR on whether to still partner Dr Mahathir,” said Azlan.

Universiti Utara Malaysia’s Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said either Muhyiddin or Dr Mahathir will have to leave Bersatu.

Kamarul also expects Bersatu to sack Dr Mahathir and Mukhriz before the party elections.

This follows Bersatu disciplinary board chairman Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas’ statement that it is Dr Mahathir who did not want to adhere to the supreme council’s decision to leave PH, a sackable offence according to article 10(2)(3) of the party’s constitution.

“We are only waiting for the official announcement from Bersatu about this sacking,” said Kamarul.

Dr Mahathir is keen to remain in PH and is upset that Muhyiddin and the others in Bersatu have formed an alliance with Umno and PAS to form a new ruling pact, PN. – THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT

Azmin and nine others yet to submit forms to join Bersatu, says Marzuki

Former PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and nine other defectors who supposedly joined Bersatu with him have yet to submit their membership forms, said Marzuki Yahya.

This is despite Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin’s confirmation that the group have officially joined the party.

“All there was is the president’s announcement that they have become members.

“So, we’d like to ask since they are members, they must have their membership number, know which division they are attached to, which branch…

“To this day we did not receive any forms or applications from Azmin and his friends to join Bersatu,” he said during a talk show aired via Bersatu Youth’s Facebook page last night.

Marzuki (below) was the secretary-general appointed by Bersatu chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad but was sacked by Muhyiddin.

Muhyiddin had written to Marzuki on March 18 to inform the latter of his termination. No reasons were cited.

During the “Sheraton Move” in late-February, Malaysiakini had quoted sources close to Muhyiddin saying that Azmin and nine other defectors had joined Bersatu.

Muhyiddin later confirmed this during a press conference on March 11, after chairing his first cabinet meeting.

“Yes. In fact, the application has been agreed upon by the supreme council of Bersatu when we had our meeting.

“… we said that Azmin has come together with the rest […]and the supreme council accepted their applications to join us. That is as far as the party is concerned,” The Star quoted Muhyiddin as saying.

Apart from Azmin, the other PKR parliamentarians who defected are Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin, Indera Mahkota MP Saifuddin Abdullah, Bandar Tun Razak MP Kamaruddin Ja’afar, Nibong Tebal MP Mansor Othman, Batu Pahat MP Rashid Hasnon, Saratok MP Ali Biju, Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin, and Ranau MP Jonathan Yasin.

Segamat MP Santhara Kumar reportedly joined as an associate member.

For the record, Marzuki was Bersatu’s secretary-general until his status came under dispute on March 18, when Muhyiddin – who had earlier appointed himself as acting Bersatu chairperson – appointed Hamzah Zainuddin as the new secretary-general.

Factions led by Mahathir and Muhyiddin had been bickering over the future direction of the party, whether to side with Pakatan Harapan or Perikatan Nasional.

Meanwhile, Marzuki insisted that Bersatu had never left Pakatan Harapan in the first place, despite statements from various Bersatu leaders on the contrary.

He said this is because such statements go against the Bersatu supreme council’s decisions, which had been properly recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

As of the council’s final meeting on the morning Feb 23, the decision was to entrust Mahathir to make to call on whether the party should leave Pakatan Harapan.

Despite that, Bersatu leaders met up with PKR leaders aligned to Azmin at the Sheraton Hotel that night, culminating in political manoeuvres that led to the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan-led government.

During last night’s talk, Marzuki also addressed the “confusion” over his announcement that the supreme council had unanimously decided to leave Harapan.

Marzuki said prior to the announcement on Feb 24, he said he had asked Muhyiddin to postpone the announcement while he consults Mahathir.

“I asked for it to be delayed a little to give me the chance to meet Mahathir to discuss the decision.

“Unfortunately, while still on the way to Mahathir’s residence, I received Whatsapp messages that the president has issued a statement saying that we have left Harapan.

“That was not a meeting decision, but as secretary-general, I abide with any decision made by the president and made a statement based on what was said earlier that evening,” he said.

For the record, Muhyiddin had said the decision to leave Harapan was made during a special meeting a day earlier on Feb 23.

Marzuki had told reporters on Feb 25 that it was a unanimous decision by the Bersatu supreme council. – MKINI

THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT / MKINI

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