Pro-government news media celebrate a picture of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin flanked by leaders of Perikatan Nasional government. The group of 14 leaders basically signalled that the backdoor prime minister has the numbers, screamed the headline. Did the bootlicker newspaper just admit that before the emergence of the photo, Muhyiddin did not have the numbers?
Was that the reason why the prime minister was so afraid to hold the normal proceedings in the Parliament on May 18? Now that Muhyiddin has the numbers, presumably with a backup plan in place where opposition leader – PKR president Anwar Ibrahim – has made it known that he was not interested to overthrow the same man who had stolen his crown, the July Parliament session would proceed.
The meeting at the PM official residence was nothing but a “photo op” (photo opportunity) to show that the lame duck Muhyiddin enjoys the support of his allies, the same photo op drama that former PM Najib Razak paid to have with President Donald Trump in 2017 to show that he enjoyed the support of the U.S. (but scrapped at the last minute due to the toxicity of 1MDB scandal).
Apparently, it was announced that UMNO and PAS have agreed to support Mr. Muhyiddin as PM in the 15th General Election. Well, if everything is so rosy, Muhyiddin would not have a problem calling for a snap election tomorrow, would he? In truth, the meeting and photo-op have triggered more questions than answers. And the biggest question is whether UMNO was sincere with its support.
While PAS President Hadi Awang has acknowledged the Islamist party’s support for the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu or PPBM) president as prime ministerial candidate, the highest ranking UMNO official to do so was Annuar Musa, who lost to former Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) Mohamad Hasan in the 2018 contest for UMNO deputy president post.
So, how could a low ranking UMNO warlord like Annuar Musa announced such an important decision on behalf of the party? At most, he is just the co-secretary general of Muafakat Nasional, an alliance of UMNO and PAS. Surprisingly, despite his attendance at the meeting, UMNO President Zahid Hamidi has been incredibly quiet about the so-called support for Muhyiddin.
Likewise, Najib Razak, arguably the de-facto leader of UMNO, has not endorsed the statement that the party supports Bersatu president Muhyiddin as PM candidate in the next election. To add suspicion, Najib’s loyalist, Lokman Noor Adam, said it’s an insult to UMNO because Zahid was not seated next to the PM, despite the party possesses the most parliamentarian seats.
Similarly, Shahrir Abdul Samad, a former UMNO minister, said it’s premature to say Muhyiddin will remain as the prime minister after the 15th General Election simply because seat negotiations have not even started among the three Malays-only parties (UMNO, Bersatu and PAS) in a loosely glued Perikatan Nasional coalition.
Interestingly, the meeting attended by the 14 leaders did not find it important to discuss the formalisation of Perikatan Nasional coalition, which currently is not legally registered. Exactly how could UMNO-Bersatu-PAS go to the ground and campaign in the next general election if the basic requirement like registering Perikatan Nasional as an official coalition is being ignored?
UMNO is part of at least three alliances namely Barisan Nasional, Muafakat Nasional, and the informal Perikatan Nasional ruling coalition. PAS, meanwhile, is UMNO’s sole partner in the Muafakat Nasional. Bersatu (PPBM), on the other hand, is none of the above alliances. Therefore, it’s amusing that Muhyiddin acted as if he is in control when all the priorities are upside-down.
It’s not hard to understand why all the 14 leaders in the meeting were not ready to rock the boat, but instead stroke Muhyiddin’s ego. Zahid Hamidi, who is slapped with 87 charges related to money laundering and corruption and criminal breach of trust (CBT) by the previous government, can only smile and nod in agreement. The fate of his balls is in the hands of the prime minister.
Najib himself will know whether he is going to end up in jail or walk out a free man when the High Court is scheduled to deliver its verdict on July 28 over 7 charges against him for plundering RM42 million of SRC International Bhd money. The High Court will also decide an application made by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) for a summary judgment in the RM1.69 billion tax suit against Najib.
Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg, arguably the happiest man in the meeting, was seated next to Muhyiddin because the fate of the PM’s balls is in the hands of the Sarawak-GPS Government. If GPS’ 18 MPs pull out, Muhyiddin government collapses. That explains why Petronas, the national oil company, was instructed to pay RM2 billion of State Sales Tax (SST) to Sarawak.
Hadi Awang was more than happy to endorse Muhyiddin as the Islamist party realised UMNO will be too dominant and powerful without a third force to check and balance the equation. A “Triangle of Power” is necessary to ensure the survival of PAS, whose influence and power base is rooted only in the north-eastern state of Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah.
The rest of the leaders in the photograph were nothing but parasites that profit and benefit by deriving 5-figure salaries, cash perks, free cars, official residences and whatnot at the taxpayers’ expense, not to mention multi-billion contracts and projects. For example, MCA president Wee Ka Siong and PDP president Tiong King Sing were partners involved in the infamous RM12 billion PKFZ scandal.
After UMNO warlord Nur Jazlan told his party to give Muhyiddin’s party no more than 15 seats to contest, UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said his party should be in a dominant position after the next general election. After the “photo op” stunt, Razaleigh said – “Bersatu (Muhyiddin’s party) shouldn’t come into the picture.”
Razaleigh argued – “UMNO members feel it should be just Muafakat Nasional (PAS and UMNO) along with traditional partners of Barisan Nasional (MCA and MIC). Then you won’t have a problem in terms of allocation of seats. If you bring in Bersatu, we may face an election result that would create a hung situation again – nobody in a dominant position and nobody with a clear majority.”
More importantly, when the 83-year-old UMNO advisor was asked in an interview with Channel News Asia whether he believed his party would continue to support Muhyiddin as the prime minister after the next general election, Razaleigh disagreed – “I don’t think so. The arrangement in Perikatan Nasional is purely to ensure stability. When we face the general election, it is a different ball game.”
What do Razaleigh’s remarks tell you about Mr Muhyiddin’s small party with little grassroots support? Obviously, it means that while UMNO and PAS can happily ride Muhyiddin like a donkey, whipping the idiot whenever they want power and projects, the useless donkey can be kicked and ditched when the day of the 15th general election arrives.
After the shocking agreement to nominate Muhyiddin as the prime minister again, UMNO vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin said on Facebook that all issues that were agreed in its Perikatan Nasional meetings “must be brought back to the respective parties to get our support and agreement”. Even UMNO’s joker, Sabah chief Bung Moktar Radin, disagreed with the decision.
It seems one UMNO warlord after another consistently rejects the suggestion that Bersatu (PPBM) is needed in the next general election, let alone entertains the idea of giving away the crown jewel – Prime Minister – to Muhyiddin when UMNO can easily grab it for itself. Which part of “No to Bersatu” that the backdoor prime minister doesn’t understand, or pretends not to understand?
In what appears to be a slap in the face of Muhyiddin, PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said a Barisan Nasional victory in the Chini state by-election on Saturday (July 4) can be another great example of the Muafakat Nasional cooperation between UMNO and PAS. That statement alone suggests that Perikatan Nasional is not needed at all.
Without endorsement from Najib Razak, Zahid Hamidi, Mohamad Hasan and three UMNO vice presidents, it’s safe to conclude that PM Muhyiddin foolishly counts his chicken before they hatch. It would be fun to see how the traitor who plotted with enemies – UMNO and PAS – to topple his own Pakatan Harapan government is to be betrayed very soon.
Any way you look at it, Muhyiddin is toast. He is trapped by his own lust for power. Why do you think his lieutenant Azmin Ali is scrambling to form a new party and uses taxpayers’ money to sponsor various types of NGOs throughout the nation to temporarily park his loyalists and to build grassroots? He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.
If Muhyiddin is smart, he should do something out of the box – sends Najib Razak to jail and see the reaction from fellow allies UMNO and PAS. It could split UMNO and send the party into a new crisis, allowing Muhyiddin to control a leaderless party. It might even open an opportunity for the return of Mahathir to Bersatu, bringing Sabah Warisan’s 9 MPs to offset Najib’s faction.