PETALING JAYA: A political analyst foresees trouble in the Dewan Rakyat during its forthcoming session, when the national budget for 2021 is scheduled to be tabled.

Speaking to FMT, Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said Parliament’s lower house had been rendered unstable by Umno’s decision against formally joining Perikatan Nasional (PN).

He said some MPs from Umno might not be present to vote during the tabling of Budget 2021 and this could lead to the dissolution of Parliament.

But Wong Chin Huat of the Penang Institute said the pullout might have an effect opposite to the one Umno was hoping. “It might strengthen Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his party, PPBM.”

He said it might even cause a split in Umno because party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s announcement of the pullout might not have represented the desire of the entire party.

Wong also said Umno would not be able to topple Muhyiddin’s government without the support of the opposition.

He said he did not believe the speaker would fast-track any motion of no confidence or that the opposition would team up with former prime minister Najib Razak and his allies to submit statutory declarations against Muhyiddin to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Furthermore, he added, Muhyiddin could overcome Umno’s absence during the vote on the budget with a “confidence and supply agreement” with the opposition.

“Zahid may have hoped that this move will help overturn Najib’s conviction in the High Court and avoid conviction for the rest of the leaders facing charges for corruption, including himself,” he said. 

“But it’s not just the young Turks like Khairy Jamaluddin who want the party to move on. Also, senior leaders like Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Annuar Musa may not have much to gain from the rehabilitation and return of Najib and Zahid.”

He also said PN’s loss of a majority was not equivalent to a loss of Parliament’s confidence in it.

Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said Zahid’s announcement would subdue the unhappiness of the Umno grassroots over Muhyiddin’s hands-off approach towards Najib.

“The first test of this decision will be the Slim by-election,” he said. “Previously, Umno would field its candidate representing PN, but now things have changed.”

He said PN might maintain its status quo if PPBM was accepted as a member of Muafakat Nasional, the collaboration between Umno and PAS.

He described Muafakat Nasional as a stronger and more influential alliance than PN.

In his announcement yesterday, Zahid said Umno would continue to support the federal government as well as several state governments.

Zahid said the decision against joining PN was made at an Umno Supreme Council meeting on July 24.

When asked if the decision was related to Najib’s corruption conviction, he said it was “up to the media to interpret it”.

Najib was found guilty on Tuesday of seven counts of corruption and abuse of power in relation to RM42 million belonging to former 1MDB subsidiary SRC International. He was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million. FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

Power now back with BN, Umno men claimsharethis sharing button

PETALING JAYA: Two Umno leaders claim that political power has shifted to Barisan Nasional (BN), now that party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has announced an Umno decision against formally joining Perikatan Nasional (PN).

The two, who asked to be anonymous, said the handful of PPBM members in the Dewan Rakyat would now have to depend on BN to survive.

PN, a loose union of mainly PPBM, Umno and PAS, was set up in February to form a new government after the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.

One of the sources said it was clear from Zahid’s announcement that Muafakat Nasional, a collaboration of PAS and Umno, had joined forces with PPBM only to govern the country.

“Muafakat Nasional is not with PPBM politically, but only to govern the country,” he said.

In the Dewan Rakyat, Barisan Nasional has 43 seats, PPBM 31, PH 91, PAS 18, GPS 18, PBS 1, Warisan 9, Upko 1 and PSB 2. There are seven independent MPs.

Yesterday, Zahid confirmed that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his party, PPBM, was interested in joining Muafakat Nasional.

“It shows BN is giving time to PPBM to decide on its next course of action. It also shows PPBM will have to listen to us if it wants to be part of us,” the source added.

The other source said PN would collapse if PPBM refused to join Muafakat Nasional. This would force a snap election, he added.

A Pakatan Harapan insider told FMT that Amanah and DAP were ready to back Muhyiddin if Muafakat Nasional pulled out of PN.

“These two parties are ready to work with Muhyiddin to take back the rakyat’s mandate given to them in GE14,” he said.

He said PKR with its 36 MPs would agree to work with Muhyiddin on the condition that Mohamed Azmin Ali and his followers from PKR were not involved. FMT

He also said eyes were on former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and six other MPs to see whether they would join forces with the opposition.

“It will all depend on PPBM’s public announcement on whether it will join Muafakat Nasional,” he said. FREE MALAYSIA TODAY